The ‘People’s Referendum’ coalition shows positive growth dynamics of public confidence
Initiators of ‘People’s Referendum’ demonstrate the best growth dynamics of popular support not only among opposition but also pro-governmental structures. This is confirmed by the December poll by IISEPS whereby citizens are ready to most strongly support candidates of the ‘Tell the Truth’ civic campaign (9.9%) and the ‘For Freedom’ (6.7%) movement in elections to local councils.
The discussion of issues put forward by the referendum contributes to the consolidation of supporters of changes around the coalition and strengthening of the position of campaign’s initiators. At the same time one shall not expect a significant growth of citizen activism during local elections in March this year. Still, a candidate supported by the ‘People’s referendum’ coalition has the best chance to improve the electoral rating before the beginning of the presidential campaign.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.