Preferences in sight

According to a CIS public poll, demand for Belarusian products is ever growing
By Tatiana Velikhova

The Eurasian Development Bank has prepared an annual study of the mood and hopes of 11 CIS member states, along with Georgia. Its Integration Barometer EDB-2013 focuses also on the analysis of their economic life. The poll involved 14,000 people across different social groups, different regions and towns. Researchers studied their wishes on the basis of several fundamental questions: ‘What products are you buying?’, ‘Where would you love to live?’ and ‘Where would you like to work?’

The first question indicated an increasing trust in Belarusian produce, with CIS citizens highlighting their moderate prices and high quality. Russia buys most of our products, and has no plans to change these already established preferences. Its citizens place products under the ‘Made in Belarus’ brand at the top of the list of CIS manufacture (regarding their competitiveness). A major part of Ukraine also prefers Belarusian quality. According to experts, such an attitude towards Belarusian products is the best argument for our domestic manufacturers to more actively work in the neighbouring markets.

In addition, CIS citizens highly appreciate Russian industrial produce; since last year, these are much popular in Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan.

As for the question about the best country to live in, the former USSR states attract citizens of Tajikistan, Kyrgyzstan, Moldova, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Uzbekistan. The EU is more popular among Russians, Ukrainians, Armenians and Georgians, while ‘the remaining world’ is chosen solely by Azerbaijan.

Interestingly, the poll indicates that a great number of respondents are wishing to work outside their country, with Russia being the most attractive post-Soviet territory. Citizens from Central Asia are eager to find jobs here, with Kyrgyzstan and Uzbekistan showing the greatest interest (54 percent and 43 percent respectively). Meanwhile, 45 percent of Ukrainians would love to work domestically, as do 47 percent of Russians and 40 percent of Belarusians.

In general, Russians, Belarusians, Kazakhs, Ukrainians and Azerbaijani consider their states to be relatively economically safe and stable.

The attitude of ordinary people towards their countries’ joining the Customs Union and the Single Economic Space occupied a special place in the poll’s economic section and, according to the results, it’s positive. Specialists note that these results — already achieved by Belarus, Russia and Kazakhstan — add to this positive view of the SES and the Customs Union activity. Over 50 percent of Turkmens, Ukrainians, Moldovans, Georgians, Armenians, Kyrgyz, Tajiks and Uzbeks consider that their states should join the union. Unexpectedly, 59 percent of Georgian respondents advocate joining compared to 37 percent in 2012.

Regarding the CIS and Customs Union member states, 65 percent of Belarusians, 67 percent of Russians and 73 percent of Kazakhs ardently support their participation.
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