Lukashenka is forced to agree a degree of power-sharing as the security forces shore up state funds
A gradual transformation from a personalist regime to collective rule is underway. Driven by pressure from the nomenklatura, Lukashenka is forced to accede to creating a “party of power”. Meanwhile, the authorities bolster the state budget with fines and expropriations.
Lukashenka has agreed to transform the “Belaya Rus” association into a political party. “Belaya Rus” has attempted to transform itself in this way before but was always stymied by presidential resistance. Party members are trying to distance themselves from the state apparatus and grow support with the electorate while remaining loyal to Lukashenka’s strategy.
The Social Protection Fund is offering to defer pension payments for Belarusians who remain in employment past retirement age, offering the prospect of larger payments in future, and also addressing the accumulated problems in the pension system. Enthusiasm for the government’s reform measures is low due to a lack of trust in the state and an absence of consensus in society regarding pension reform.
In 2022, State Audit Office inspections contributed BYN 574.8 million to the state budget.
A Minsk resident has incurred a large fine for internet cryptocurrency trading, while the owners of two large companies were fined over BYN 5 million in relation to a criminal case.
The National Bank has lowered interest rates in an attempt to stimulate economic growth, though the government claims that the rate of decline in GDP is stabilising. The Lukashenka regime seeks to preserve or increase the state share of the economy at the expense of investment and the private sector.
IT companies continue to relocate as Gurtam and Akveo cease operations in Belarus.
Purges of dissidents in state-owned companies continue with mass dismissals of those who signed for the presidential candidacy of Viktar Babaryka in Viciebsk.
Regime security forces continue to intimidate the population as security forces in Hrodna detain an entrepreneur in a shopping centre for comments on Telegram channels, intensify persecution of dissidents and conduct training exercises related to the suppression of protests on the eve of Freedom Day.
Regime opponents continue to be deprived of legal assistance. Lawyers representing political prisoners are being deprived of their licenses, and some are detained.
The ruling class is increasing repression and purging the public sector of dissidents to avert the risk of social mobilisation during the 2024 election campaign.
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Situation in Belarus