September 14 – September 20, 2020
The ruling elite

The Belarusian authorities continue to bolster the edifice of power, including through propping up employment in the public sector

The situation has not changed
The Belarusian authorities continue to bolster the edifice of power, including through propping up employment in the public sector

By Zmicier Kuchlej

The Belarusian leadership has silenced discontent within the edifice of power and security forces. The latter continue to mount pressure on private business, while the government ensures state support for the public sector of the economy.

Despite the end of the presidential campaign, the current Belarusian leader continued campaigning last week: he gathered a “Women’s Forum” in his support and delivered a passionate speech to its participants.

The Belarusian strongman is deliberately avoiding any dialogue not only with his opponents but also with the loyal political parties who criticized the actions of security forces. Last week, at a meeting with “Belarusian political activists”, he threatened to revise the registration of 10 political parties which signed the resolution calling on ending the violence and holding new elections.

Security forces continued to persecute private business in one way or the other either supporting opponents of the current authorities or criticizing the Belarusian leadership. The State Control Committee has launched a criminal investigation against employees of Beltyazhmash LLC, who leased space to Babaryka’s electoral HQs.

Regardless of major coronavirus-related injections from the state, the financial health of large public enterprises is deteriorating. Albeit the authorities have contained the growth in strike movement using repression against strike leaders and threats of mass layoffs, some public enterprises appear to be on an Italian strike, which has harmed their performance plans. For example, in August, MAZ failed to fulfil the projected plan.

The budget deficit has reached BYN 1.6 billion, nevertheless, the government’s primary task is to ensure high employment rates at public enterprises to avoid layoffs and people taking to the streets, strengthening the protest movement.

In the future, the current leadership is likely to increase spending on security services and public sector employees at the expense of other social groups. Should protests subside, the Belarusian leadership is likely to either delay the debate on constitutional reform or abandon it altogether.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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