Updated at 20:51,24-11-2020

Poll: More than half of Belarusians opposing EU membership

By Tanya Korovenkova, BelaPAN

Almost 52 percent of Belarusians would vote against the country`s accession to the European Union, according to a poll conducted in September by the Vilnius-based Independent Institute for Social, Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS). The share was 51 percent this past June.

As many as 27.5 percent of the respondents would vote for Belarus` accession to the EU compared with 25.1 percent in June.

The proportion of the respondents who would vote for Belarus` merger with Russia rose from 28.3 percent in June to 32.6 percent in September. As many as 49 percent said that they would vote against that compared with nearly 51 percent in June.

Twenty-eight percent of the respondents said that they had respect or sympathy for the West while 21 percent said that they treated the West with alarm. Fifteen percent said that they had contempt for or fear of the West and almost 33 percent said that they had no special feelings.

More than 43 percent said that they liked the United States compared with 42 percent who said that they disliked the country. Only 10 percent described Belarusian-US relations as good and 29.5 percent called them normal. Fifty-five percent characterized the relationship as "cold, tense or hostile."

Thirty-two percent suggested that the United States posed a threat to Belarus while 60 percent denied that. Asked which bloc would prevail if the Union State of Belarus and Russia went to war against NATO, 21 percent named the former and 19.4 percent the latter. Forty-eight percent said that there could be no winner in such a war.

Asked to comment on Vladimir Putin`s reported order that Russia`s nuclear forces be put on alert during the annexation of Crimea, 35 percent said that it was the "only way to talk to the West" but almost 48 percent disapproved of the step and agreed that it was "unacceptable blackmail."

The share of people who agreed with the Kremlin`s "Russian world" concept went down from 39 percent in June to 35.4 percent in September. Forty-one percent said that they did not care and almost 16 percent criticized it, compared with 15.2 percent in June.

A total of 57.4 percent viewed Russia`s annexation of Crimea as the "recovery by Russia of a Russian land and a restoration of historical justice," while 26.5 percent said that it was "imperialistic usurpation and occupation." The proportions were 62.3 and 21.5 percent, respectively, in June.

As many as 47.1 percent supported the independence of so-called Novorossiya while 28.1 percent supported Ukraine`s territorial integrity. As many as 12 percent of the respondents described the Novorossiya project as Russia`s aggression against Ukraine.