According to Sputnik daily omnibus survey, despite friendly relations and bilateral partnership, Russians are rather categorical in providing discounted energy to Belarus and preserving the visa-free regime.
MOSCOW, February 16, 2017. Russian Public Opinion Research Center (VCIOM) presents the results of a survey describing the Russian attitudes towards Belarus, selling Russian oil and gas and preserving visa-free regime with this country.
More than half of Russians (56%) do not think it is important to provide gas and oil discount to the CIS states even in return for their support; 38% of Russians oppose this statement. Reduced energy prices are supported by young respondents (aged 18-24) and persons who have high income (52% and 50%, respectively).
As to public sentiment concerning Russian gas supplies to Belarus, most of respondents (57% in 2011; 60% in 2017) disapprove of selling oil and gas at a lower price. One-third of Russians agree to supply energy at a discount price (32% in 2011; 34% in 2017). Given that Minsk’s debt to Gasprom was approximately 340 million dollars at the end of January, the share of those who oppose discounted supplies has increased to 69%.
Since Belarus introduced a visa-free entry for the residents of 80 states, more than three-quarters of Russians (78%) support the idea to restore the visa regime with Belarus. Only 16% of respondents approve of preserving the border between Russia and Belarus as a formality.
Simultaneously, Sputnik omnibus survey suggests that Russians basically perceive Belarus as a friendly state (40%), trade and economic partner (35%). The percentages of negative perceptions are small: competitor (4%), rival (3%).
The Sputnik omnibus survey was conducted on February 8-9, 2017, using stratified dual-frame random sample based on a complete list of landline and mobile phone numbers operating in Russia, and involved 1200 respondents. The data were weighted according to selection probability and social and demographic characteristics. The margin of error at a 95% confidence level does not exceed 3.5%. In addition to sampling error, minor changes in question wording and different circumstances arising during the fieldwork can introduce bias into the survey.
The household surveys were carried out in 2008-2011.
|Russia is one of the world’s largest exporters of oil and gas. Which statement do you most agree with? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)|
|Total respondents||Aged 18-24||25-34||35-44||45-59||60 and over||Those who assess family well-being as good or very good||who assess family well-being as average||who assess family well-being as bad or very bad|
|We need to provide discounted oil and gas to the allied countries in order to make them support our foreign policy||38||52||40||45||30||35||50||38||32|
|We need to sell oil and gas at the same price and not to provide anyone discounts||56||44||58||52||64||53||48||56||61|
|Belarus has long been negotiating a gas discount with Russia. Do you approve or disapprove of supplying discounted gas to Belarus? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)|
|Belarusian payment of the Russian gas is not so regular. At the end of January the Belarusian debt amounted to 340 million dollars. Taking this into consideration, are you “for” or against” gas and oil supply to Belarus at prices below market rates? (closed-ended question, one answer %)|
|Total respondents||Мen||Women||Moscow and St Petersburg||Million cities||More than 500 ths inhabitants||100–500 ths||Less than 100 ths||Rural area|
|I am likely “for”||25||34||18||37||26||19||22||28||22|
|I am likely “against”||69||60||76||55||70||80||73||63||74|
|The Russian-Belarusian border has been existed only on paper for as much as 20 years. The two countries have visa-free regime which does not require passport control. However a month ago, Belarus introduced visa-free entry for the residents of 80 countries; these citizens may enter Russia without getting Russian visa. Which of the following viewpoints do you most agree with? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)|
|Total respondents||Aged 18-24||25-34||35-44||45-59||60 and over||Who visited Belarus||Who did not visit Belarus|
|Visa-free regime with Belarus should be preserved, even if it raises up risk for Russia to have residents of 80 countries entering Russia without Russian visa||16||9||16||18||15||19||18||16|
|Visa-free regime with Belarus should be cancelled. Russia should not allow any unknown person enter its territory without visa||78||89||79||76||80||73||74||79|
|In your opinion, how does Russia view Belarus today? (closed-ended question, one answer, %)|
|Trading and economic partner||24||32||31||35|
|Economic and political rival, competitor||6||4||5||4|
|Possible rival, hostile state||2||2||6||3|