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Over 30% of Belarusians support war in Ukraine, recent survey shows

The consequences of the war are more often estimated negatively both for Belarus and for themselves / collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio

Most Belarusians don't think they deserve bad treatment from the West and are afraid that Russia will drag Belarus into war.

Chatham House recently asked 823 respondents online what they thought about the war in Ukraine and how they viewed their own prospects. The poll was conducted from April 8 to April 18, 2022. The sample corresponds to the structure of the urban population of Belarus and is adjusted for gender, age, size of communities, and level of education.

"We also note the influence of respondents' fears during the survey, which
may also have an impact on the results," emphasizes Chatham House.

The statistical error of the results does not exceed 3.6%.

Opponents of the war more often blame themselves

Military actions in Ukraine are not supported by 40% of respondents. At the same time 32% said that they definitely support or rather support the military action. At the same time, 28% found it difficult to answer or support the aggression of Russia in some respects, and in some respects - not.

Belarusians most often see the consequences of the war negatively for Belarus (53%), as well as for themselves (48%).

What do the Belarusians expect from the war in Ukraine / Chatham House

They don't expect anything good in the economy. As many as 66% of respondents spoke about the rise in prices, 63% expect new sanctions. Sixty percent think that the life of common people will become worse. And only 10% have a positive outlook on the prospects of ordinary people.

Despite the strengthening of the Belarusian ruble against the dollar and euro, 44% of respondents expect devaluation. Another 41% say that it will be impossible to buy hard currency in the next three months. Twenty-nine percent spoke about the closure of large enterprises.

Economic Expectations / Chatham House

Only 15% of respondents think that ordinary Belarusians are to blame for the attack on Ukraine from the territory of Belarus. Accordingly, 56% think that the Belarusians do not deserve bad treatment from the Western countries as the Russians do. But 67% are convinced that everyone will have to answer because the sanctions will affect ordinary people.

One third of Belarusians don't know how they should be treated in the West / Chatham House

"Those who do not support Russia's actions more often consider the Belarusians also guilty of the conflict; at the same time, they more often think that they do not deserve the same negative attitude as the Russians," reports Chatham House.

Neutrality has become less popular

Some Belarusians have become more radicalized on issues of military involvement. Six percent of respondents in April were in favor of hostilities on the side of Russia (+3 percentage points compared to March). Another 3% were in favor of joining the war on the side of Ukraine (+2 percentage points).

The majority of all Belarusians still think that it is not worthwhile to get involved in the military conflict, but that it is necessary to support Russia. There are 27% of them (-1 percentage point against March). Neither do they want to participate in the war, but they support Ukraine -- 11% (-4 percentage points to March).

Neutrality and withdrawal of foreign troops from Belarus are approved by 23% (-2 percentage points to March). Another 22% don't know how to feel about the war right across the border.

Preventive strike divided opinions

"Belarusians do not think that the war will spill over into the territory of Belarus and are confident that Belarusian troops will not take part in the conflict. However, the majority fears that Russia will drag the country into war," writes Chatham House. 

Only 11% believe that the war will go to Belarus. Fifty-three percent find it difficult to answer, and 35% do not think this will happen. Despite rather high support of Russia, 57% strongly fear that Russia will drag Belarus into war.

Lukashenka's words about a preventive strike, which became a meme, are not at all a meme for almost a quarter of the respondents. Fourteen percent fully agree with the statement that "if a preventive strike had not been delivered by Belarus, the Ukrainian army would have attacked the Belarusian troops". Ten percent said they rather agree, while 35% believe this statement is incorrect, and 42% find it difficult to assess.

Expectations for participation in the war / Chatham House

In case of war, people would run to an exchange office faster than to the army

People were also asked to tell what they would do if Belarus entered the war on the side of Russia. First of all, they would buy food and medicine. This was said by 29% of respondents. In the second place was the answer "I'll continue my normal life" - 28% responded in this way. This was followed by "begin to save money" -- 24%. Ten percent are going to leave the country quickly, and 21% will get ready to move. 

The number of those, who will buy currency in any unclear situation is not insignificant. There are more of them among the Belarusians than of those who are ready to fight on the side of Russia. If 10% of respondents go to exchange offices, only 9% will join the Belarusian army and 7% will support participation of Belarus in the war.

As in the March opinion poll, there are a lot of undecideds among Belarusians even concerning very important questions. Twenty-two percent do not know what they would do in case of war.

"Even if the country goes to war, only 23% of the Belarusians think that servicemen will take an active part in the war against Ukraine. 

What to expect from the army in case of war? As many as 31% of residents of Belarus do not know. The rest think that the army won't want to fight with Ukraine so much that refusals to fight or poor execution of orders will follow. 

What to Expect from the Army in the Event of War with Ukraine / Chatham House

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