Monday, June 22, 2020

Belarusian Activists View Balts and West as Close to Them and Russians Distant Like Asians and Arabs, New Poll Finds

Paul Goble

            Staunton, June 19 – The attitudes members of one nation have about their relations to other nations plays an important role in what a state can and cannot do. That makes the findings of a new poll in Belarus especially important now because it shows that Belarusians feel close to Ukrainians, Balts and East Europeans but see Russians as being in a class with Arabs and Asians.

            Conducted by the Belarusian Economic Investigation and Educational Center (BEROC), the survey examined the attitudes of opinion leaders about their attitudes toward other nations and how close Belarusians were to them (

            According to BEROC’s Darya Urban, these people feel “closest of all” to the nations of the Baltic countries. But these representatives of civil society also feel close to Western countries which they view as having the kind of values they would like to see supported at home.  Those they felt least close to included the Russians, Asians and Arabs. 

            “This investigation,” Urban says, “should be considered as a first step toward the detailed study of the identity of Belarusians in all its variety. In this case, we collected a variety of stereotypes which allow for defining the difference between ‘ours’ and ‘their’ and to understand who is a guide for respondents and who elicits negative feelings.”

            By so doing, she continues, “we obtained a real portrait of Belarusians and their desired image for the next decade and also defined which national groups seem to respondents to be the more attractive” and which the least.

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