Updated at 15:34,14-12-2017

Poll finds sharp rise in pro-Russian sentiments: effect of raw propaganda?

Belsat / BelaPAN

The share of people who would vote in a referendum for Belarus' unification with Russia rose from 23.9 percent in December last year to 29.3 percent this past March, while the proportion of those who would vote against fell from 51.4 to 47.7 percent, according to the Vilnius-based Independent Institute of Social, Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS).

Referring to the findings of its quarterly survey of 1,502 people in March, the IISEPS said that the percentage of people who would vote in a plebiscite for Belarus joining the European Union went down from 35.9 to 30.2 percent, and the share of those saying that they would vote “No” soared from 34.6 to 44.3 percent.

When facing a choice between membership in the EU and unification with Russia, 32.9 percent chose the former option, down from 44.6 percent in December. The proportion of those choosing unification with Russia jumped from 36.6 percent in December to 51.5 percent in March.

Only 8.6 percent welcomed calls for removing the world hockey championship from Minsk as punishment for Belarus' poor human rights record. 48 percent condemned such calls, while almost 40 percent said that they did not care.

As many as 63.8 percent predicted that in 10 years Belarus would have closer ties with Russia than with the EU, while 19.2 percent expressed the opposite opinion.
The IISEPS put down the sharp rise in pro-Russian sentiments in Belarus to Ukraine's popular uprising that swept President Viktor Yanukovych from power and has been portrayed by the Russian media as a Western-orchestrated coup led by neo-Nazi forces.