By Paul Goble
Vladimir Putin may want to absorb Belarus into the Russian Federation and Alyaksandr Lukashenka may have concluded that he has no choice but to go along, but a survey of polls in the two countries show that there aren’t popular majorities in either for such an outcome.
According to a new Superjob.ru poll, 39 percent of Russians say they’d vote for amalgamation if a referendum were held, but 24 percent say they’d vote against and 11 percent say they’d refuse to take part in such a vote (thinktanks.by/publication/2020/09/23/chislo-storonnikov-obedineniya-s-belarusyu-v-rossii-sokraschaetsya.html).
Twenty-six percent said they found it difficult to say how they would vote. Thirty-seven percent said they were following Belarusian events closely, 32 percent said they were doing so more casually, but 31 percent of the Russians polled said they were not paying any attention to what is going on in Russia’s western neighbor.
Earlier this year, Sergey Belanovsky reported that a survey he had conducted found that 52 percent of Russians were positively inclined toward a union of the two countries while 25 percent were opposed. If so, the new results suggest support inside Russia for combining them is declining and opposition to that move increasing.
A Belarusian poll conducted last February found that 74.6 percent of Belarusians were against a union and believed that the two countries should be completely independent but maintain good relations with an open border (thinktanks.by/publication/2020/02/07/opros-746-protsenta-belorusov-vyskazalis-za-polnuyu-nezavisimost.html).
That survey found that 12.8 percent backed the idea of a union state including the two, but only 3.7 percent favored Belarus being absorbed into the Russian Federation.