Popularity ratings of all potential opposition presidential candidates combined do not exceed 20 percent, poll finds

The popularity ratings of potential opposition presidential candidates do not exceed 20 percent combined, reported the Vilnius-based Independent Institute of Social, Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS).

According to the Institute, 6.2 percent of the 1,519 people interviewed by the IISEPS last month said that would vote for Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, chairman of the “Tell the Truth!” movement in a presidential election. Mr. Nyaklyayew was followed by Mikalay Statkevich with 3.2 percent, Alyaksandr Milinkevich with two percent, Andrey Sannikaw with 1.6 percent and Anatol Lyabedzka with 1.1 percent.

The IISEPS noted that a large share of the Belarusians is in favor of the nomination of a single contender to represent opposition forces in the 2015 presidential election.

Although as many as 52.1 percent of those interviewed said that they would like the situation in Belarus to change, they do not pin their hopes on opposition forces, the poll suggests. Only 18.3 percent said that they trusted opposition parties, while 64.7 percent said that they had no trust for opposition parties.

The Institute says that not only politically motivated persecution but also the gap between the views of opposition organizations and average people accounted for the public’s attitude to opposition organizations.

For example, while many opposition leaders and activists were critical of holding the 2014 Ice Hockey World Championship in Minsk, 32.1 percent of the respondents said that they were “very proud of their country and team,” 38.9 percent said that they were “probably proud” and only 26.2 percent said that they felt no pride.

Although almost all opposition demonstrations are staged under white-red-white flags and the Pahonya emblem, nearly 55 percent of the interviewees said that the state flag and emblem reflect Belarus’ historical and cultural heritage better than other symbols. Only 31.7 percent said that the white-red-white flag and the Pahonya emblem were more reflective of the country’s history and culture.

Only 7.2 percent of the Belarusians view St. George Ribbon as a symbol of Russia’s “imperialist annexationist policy,” while 68.5 percent see it as a reminder of the Soviet Union’s victory in World War II, the Institute said. //BelaPAN