About the latest developments in this matter, told the BelaPAN leader Professor Nowak Andrew Vardamatski.
Vardamatski: July survey confirmed the positive trend: in Belarus, there was a return to public consciousness
traditional bivektarnastsi. It existed prior to May 2004, then focus on Russia and the West, too, was in fact equal.
In May 2004, I recall, was the expansion of the EU, and begun to strengthen the orientation of the Belarusians to Russia. By January 2010, the gap persisted, and now we have documented the steady weakening of the orientation of the eastern neighbor. That's the specificity and uniqueness of the historical moment: on the background of conflicts with its neighbors, the recent gas conflict with Russia Belarusians orientation to the east and west again equal.
The question we are regularly asked of respondents was: "In your opinion, in which the union of states would be preferable for the people of Belarus — in the European Union or in alliance with Russia."
So, in July 2010, 42.5% of respondents said Russia, 38.4% — the EU. Just a month ago, in June, the figure was — 43.1% (Russia), 32.5% (EU).
Kar.: A vague?
VardamatskiYes, there is also interesting: up to June 2010 was on increasing the number of undecided voters. The fall orientation on Russia did not lead to increased focus on Europe to the same extent, a departure from Russia was not in the direction of the EU, but undecided. But after June there was an intensive formation of public opinion is on the issue of geopolitical choice and the number of undecided voters has decreased. And those who went away from Russia, changed to the pro-European orientation.
Kar.: Can we say that the main role was played by the gas crisis?
Vardamatski: This is definitely an important event. On the one hand, it is very widely covered in the media, on the other — people saw the connection between this conflict and their personal well-being. This is not just important visits of officials, this event is directly related to his own wallet.
Interestingly, a similar event — the gas dispute between Russia and Ukraine — did not lead to major shifts in the mass consciousness of Ukrainians. The reason is that he has not received such intense media coverage, both in Belarus.
Kar.: In fact, the Belarusian authorities are through the state media to effectively make the official point of view of public
Vardamatski: You can speak with confidence about the dependence of the mass consciousness of the media, as in the case of Belarus is above all a state-run media. Belarusians in the mass, choose a uniform interpretation of the events and the official view. 88.6% said their source of information about the gas conflict Belarusian TV channels, 16.0% — Belarusian radio, 15.2% — state press, 11.1% — the Internet, 7.8% — colleagues and acquaintances, 4.3% — corporate media, 1.9% — channel "Euronews".
Meanwhile, as our research shows, although the Belarusian public opinion and can be conducted, but it is to some extent independent. Thus, despite the fact that the majority of respondents received information from state television, 34.8% do not agree with the interpretation that only Russia's fault.
Kar.: Those who disagree with the official point of view, looking for an alternative?
Vardamatski: — Already in question is the main issue of the information needs of the Belarusians, yes, people need an alternative point of view, a different interpretation of the events, but the search can not be considered active.
On the example of the gas conflict, we see that the sites and the "Euronews" named for its canals small amount of information the respondents.
However, it is not necessary to estimate the weight of media information channel for direct polls. So, after reading the news online, we share information, pass it to your friends, relatives, co-workers — and thus the news may be retranslyavanaya very widely. One person received the information from nizkareytyngavay source, but extending it among dozens of people can be a source of information waves, apart from his media people.
Kar.: Can you see the dependence of the geopolitical choice of education?
VardamatskiYes, with the growth of education is changing kashtovnastnyh orientations, which entails stronger orientation to the West.
And there are two shifts. First, in the civic sense: the growth of education we observe the growing importance of general civil and democratic values. The second shift — vocational, enhancement of human orientation to high-tech products and technologies that are increasingly in the West.
But this average statistical data, more detailed alignment may be others. Thus, the Belarusian mentality and is characterized by such contradictions, as the combination of low civic engagement and a high professional level, professional fulfillment and lack of need for active citizenship.
By the way, it is widely believed that Minsk — unequivocally pro-European city. But it is not. In the capital, enough businesses that are directly related to Russia, and a large percentage of Minsk residents oriented to the east. In any case, in July 2009, Minsk was clearly pro-Russian.
Kar.: Is it possible to predict who will develop geopolitical choice Nation?
Vardamatski: Difficult to predict, since the vector of public opinion depends very uneasy interaction of a number of political and economic factors. Despite the fact that for a long time, as shown by opinion polls, legal accession to the eastern neighbor supports a very small proportion of Belarusians can not forget a strong mental connection with Russia.
A shift towards a united Europe is possible, but at the appropriate media situation and the strengthening of economic cooperation with the EU.
There are eloquent thought expressed a party to one of our studies: we become Europeans that Europe will buy our "MAZ".