Citizens’ complaints to the Presidential Administration: regional overview
Over the past year the number of citizens’ appeals to the Presidential Administration and other governmental institutions has decreased. On the one hand, it reflects the general decrease in social unrest and severity of economic problems, but on the other, it implies confidence loss in public authorities. Increasing number of collective complaints to the local authorities indicates the growth of citizens’ self-organization in the regions.
Before the previous presidential elections the state media focused on responses by the Presidential administration to citizens’ complaints. Media widely reported field meetings of top ranking officials with the local population. Apparently, this process was supervised by Natalia Petkevich (then First Deputy Head of the AP). At the same time, after the resignation of Petkevich, which happened right after the December 19, 2010 elections these practices were abandoned. The central government cannot always be active in the field and encourages the local authorities to have greater autonomy in solving citizen’s problems.
Also, the central authorities do not have the funds for solving local problems and they delegate this responsibility to the local authorities.
Sociologists report about reduced confidence in public authorities in general, both central and local, which creates the preconditions for citizens’ self-organization to solve local problems.
The number of citizens’ appeals to the Presidential Administration has reduced in all regions, except Gomel region.
Primary issues of citizens’ concerns are: problems with public utilities and housing. The lion’s share of appeals relate to loans and complaints about low salaries and belated payments, poor working conditions, arbitrary behaviour by enterprises’ administration.
The past year has been marked by another trend, i.e. an increase in the number of collective appeals by citizens to the public authorities.