December 9 – December 15, 2019
The ruling elite

Law enforcers maintain a stronghold in the economy; the government counts on digital technologies to boost public sector’s performance

The situation got worse
Law enforcers maintain a stronghold in the economy; the government counts on digital technologies to boost public sector’s performance

The power block further plays a significant role in redistributing public funds, enforcing the staffing policy and lowering the appetites for public funds in the public sector. With the view of the presidential campaign, law enforcers hand out heavy fines and make arrests to undermine the spirit of opposition activists and independent observers. The economic authorities resort to digital mechanisms to attract private investment in the public sector.

Amid dwindling public funds, law enforcers further implement the anti-corruption purge in most resource-intensive public sector enterprises. Last week, the Minsk City Court started a preliminary hearing on the ‘case of doctors’. The authorities appear to be willing to further strengthen the role of security forces in the redistribution of public funds and overseeing public enterprises to boost the public sector’s performance.

Security officials continue to play a significant role in the country’s economy. According to Prosecutor General Kaniuk, further to the president’s order law enforcers held numerous inspections and filed lawsuits, which resulted in returning some USD 138 million to public enterprises.

Meanwhile, rivalry among different nomenclature groups has stepped up, including with security forces involvement (denunciations, which translate in criminal persecution for abuse of power and bribery). The Belarusian leadership uses the anti-corruption campaign to reshuffle public managers and security officials and retain political power.

Public enterprises appear to be willing to use IT to gain benefits. MAZ aspires to attract private investment for modernizing production lines through digital technologies, which should offset reduced public subsidies in industry.

In addition, law enforcers continue the post-election persecution of opposition activists who participated in the parliamentary campaign. After president’s harsh statements about independent observers, activist Piotr Markelau was sentenced to 14 days in jail for an incident at a polling station on election day, although in recent months law enforcers resorted primarily to fines.

Law enforcers are likely to maintain a stronghold in the economy due to their anti-corruption powers and the need to tighten control over the protest movement amid the looming presidential campaign. That said, the authorities do not intend to address the reasons for corruption.

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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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