Belarusians Back Activists But Don’t Trust Organizations They Head, New Survey Shows
October 25 – A new survey conducted over the past summer in Belarus documents a
problem that exists throughout the post-Soviet world: many people there approve
and trust individual activists, including anti-government ones, but they do not
trust the organizations these individuals have created and lead.
personalist approach and distrust of institutions limits the ability of these
leaders to mobilize the population. At the same time, it is a mirror image of
the situation which obtains in the government sector where ordinary people may
identify with and support a leader but aren’t willing to support institutions
created by him.
to the survey, she says, Belarusians were slightly more inclined to approve of
the work of public activists than to disapprove, 46 percent to 40.7 percent;
but they showed little trust in government or non-government instituitons,
disapproving of them overall 50.5 percent to 28.2 percent and disapproving of
NGOs in particular 47.6 percent to 24.6 percent.
Ryabov reports, were the poll’s finding that 36 percent of respondents favored
having the government create favorable conditions for all organizations “without
exception.” At the same time, only 10 percent said that the government should give
such opportunities only to those groups which support the regime and its
perhaps most important of all as far as the future is concerned, only 6.9
percent of those taking part in the poll said that any NGO must show “loyalty
to the powers that be and support its initiatives.”