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By E. Korosteleva

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A. W. J. 3 per cent who would have supported Lukashenka: Iu. Andreev and I. Maksimov, Vremia novostei, 28 June 2000, p. 2. See the moving documentary work by the Belarusian writer Sviatlana Aleksievich, Chernobyl’skaia molitva (Moscow: Otlozh’e, 1997). Bykau referred to Lukashenka as a ‘dictator’ and spoke of the ‘unnoticed catastrophe’ of the decline of the Belarusian language and culture at the anniversary meeting of the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe, Tampere, Finland (July 2000).

If the ruling elite’s orientation is towards a wider Europe, a country has to embark on lengthy and unpopular reforms, which are non-profitable and costly in the short term. If it is a pro-Russian choice, it will imply short-term economic sustainability with the inevitable prospect of pending system collapse. The situation is such that the CIS are essentially centred on Russia, both structurally and economically, and may not have much freedom to make their own choice. 11 This will be analysed in Chapters 9–11 below.

Further significant evidence about Belarus’s democratic potential is provided in Chapter 6 by Christian Haerpfer, who analyses the political behaviour and attitudes of the Belarusian electorate in the period 1992–2000 in comparison with those in six other post-Soviet states. He finds that in 2000, 47 per cent of citizens of Belarus expressed support for their government – a pattern of electoral support similar to that in Estonia, Latvia and the Balkans, but different from that in Russia and Ukraine.

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