The biggest threat to the security of Belarus, its citizens feel, is NATO. That was one of the findings of a nationwide poll conducted in September 2003 in Belarus by the Independent Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Research. As learned by Rosbalt from the Institute, to the question, 'Which countries and international organizations represent, in your opinion, a threat to Belarus?', 30.6% answered NATO. 'The demonization of NATO by Soviet propaganda and today's official propaganda has had its effect,' the Institute commented.
In the view of 26.8% of those polled, the US is a threat. In the opinion of the Institute, 'a high rating of 'the American threat' is not new but, apparently, has been 'fed' by the war in Iraq, or, more precisely, by the views of the war expressed by Belarus and Russian authorities and media.'
After NATO and the US, organizations and countries found to be viewed as threats were, in this order: Organization for European Security and Cooperation (4.5%), Russia (3.5%), China (3.2%), Britain (2.8%), Germany (1.8%), Latvia (1.7%), Poland (1.3%), European Union (1.2%), Ukraine (1.2%), Lithuania (1%), European Parliament (0.7%), Council of Europe (0.6%), France (0.5%). Some 50.9% of those polled saw no external threat to Belarus.
The poll surveyed 1,519 citizens of Belarus, all at least 18 years of age.
The Ilyushin 20 (Il-20) military electronic reconnaissance aircraft of the Russian Air Force with 14 servicemen on board that went off radar screens off the coast of Syria was shot down by Syrian air defense systems over the Mediterranean Sea