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Belarusians worried about war since December, sociologists say

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Belarusians have been worried about the possibility of war since December / AP

In December 2021, the Belarusians said war was one of the main concerns. This happened for the first time in the history of Belarus. The conclusion was reached by sociologist Andrei Vardamatski's team based on the results of the study.

"Throughout the entire measurement period, economic issues have always dominated any situation in the country. In December 2021, for the first time, military conflicts and issues came on top. It was clearly in the first place. It was at a time when experts were thinking about whether there would be war," said the sociologist.

There are no surveys conducted after the beginning of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, so the data on the geopolitical choice of the Belarusians refers to November and December.

For example, a question that Vardamatski constantly uses to take measurements is "What do Belarusians think about the annexation of Crimea?". In December 2021, 48.8% considered the event legitimate and justified, and 19.1% considered it illegal. The rest were undecided or refused to answer.

Interestingly, in recent years the percentage of those who support the annexation continues to decrease. For example, at the end of 2014, there were 64.9%.

Dynamics of answers to the question about the annexation of Crimea / presentation slide

Similarly, the number of supporters of the union with Russia is gradually decreasing. For example, in 2018, there were on average about 60% of them, while in 2019 the figure was already 52.5%.

Sociologists also asked the Belarusians about the attitude to different countries, namely whether they pose a threat to Belarus. In the most recent survey, 42.8% responded that Russia poses a threat, while 44.4% said it did not. Those who see other countries as a threat are noticeably fewer: for example, 20.7% see it coming from Lithuania and Poland, and 12.4% from Ukraine.

Answers to the question about whether the neighboring countries pose a threat/slide presentation of the research

True, the cautious attitude towards Russia doesn't change the opinion of the majority that it is necessary to cooperate with it: 72% of Belarusians support the approach of having "independent but friendly states", and about 3% support the return of borders and visa regime. 

Those, who believe that the countries should form an interstate union make up 14%. As for those, advocating Belarus' accession to Russia, they make 4.3%.

The sociological study was conducted on a sample of 1,000 people by telephone poll.

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