Lithuanians generally support their government’s position on protests in Belarus and approve of sanctioning Alexander Lukashenko’s regime, a study by the Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC) in Vilnius has found.
The EESC surveyed Lithuanians on their attitudes toward protests in Belarus that broke out following a contested presidential election in August.
According to the results presented on Friday, 46 percent of the population agreed with the Lithuanian government’s position to side with the opposition protesters. Around 15 percent disagreed with it, while others had no opinion.
Almost 45 percent of Lithuanians approved of sanctions on the Lukashenko regime, while around one fifth of those surveyed disapproved. A similar proportion of the population was in favour of granting asylum to persecuted Belarusians.
Last month, the Lithuanian government imposed a travel ban on Lukashenko and 29 other Belarusian officials for their role in vote-rigging and violence against protesters.
More than 50 percent also thought that Lukashenko was a pro-Russian leader, while 46 believed that protests in Belarus might lead to Russian military intervention in the country.
Forty percent positively evaluated the EU’s response to the events in Belarus, while one fifth had a negative attitude.
The question of whether Lithuania should take up leadership in shaping Belarus-targeted EU policy divided the population. There were around 30 percent of both those who were in favour and those who had no opinion. Another 25 percent were against Lithuania taking leadership.
The study found that around 40 percent of Lithuanians thought that their country should maintain economic and diplomatic relations with Belarus even if Lukashenko remained in power. Around 40 percent were also in favour of seeking closer relations with the current Belarusian government.
The EESC surveyed the adult population in Lithuania on August 22 – September 4. The estimated margin of error of the results is 3.1 percent.