Regions’ reactions to events in Ukraine (before the crisis outbreak in the Crimea)
The crisis in Ukraine has split public opinion in Belarusian regions. There are virtually no public discussions however it is the most discussed topic privately. Opinions vary dramatically, but the most important conclusion is that support for Alexander Lukashenko has grown in the regions.
The exacerbated political situation in Ukraine and Russia provoking a civil war are the most discussed topics in society. Most people demonstrate negative attitudes to both the Maidan organizers and the former Ukrainian president who issued the orders to use firearms against demonstrators. The Russian media which started an information war against Ukraine enjoys high trust levels. Because of this, unconditional support for Moscow’s policy with respect to Kiev is between 50% and 80% in the Belarusian regions.
Minsk residents demonstrate the greatest sympathy to the new Ukrainian government among all Belarus’ regions.
It is noteworthy that Belarusian security services have reacted hastily to the events in Ukraine. The Interior Ministry’s Branch Office in the Brest region has monitored the reaction of its employees to the events in Ukraine. They have learned that about 80-90% of the personnel had very vague knowledge about the events taking place in Ukraine. Police officers were more interested in the size of bonuses, which would be paid out on March 4th, 2014 – the Belarusian Police Day. However, the policemen could have evaded truthful answers consciously, fearing to express their opinion about the events in Ukraine.
The deteriorated situation in Ukraine has sharply increased support for Alexander Lukashenko in the Belarusian regions, because he “does not allow for such rampant violence”.