Lukashenka’s populism destabilises trade as the regime targets exiled democratic leaders
The regime maintains a confrontational approach towards democratic opponents and repression of dissidents. The quality of public administration continues to deteriorate as critical errors in economic regulation increase societal tension and discontent.
The security forces continue to purge the state apparatus of officials with suspect loyalties and expand mechanisms for repressing dissidents. The KGB and the Operational and Analytical Center will have direct access to the databases of any internet sites operating in Belarus, and Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Pavel Latushko and Volha Kavalkova will be tried in absentia.
Meanwhile, the authorities changed price control rules for the second time in a month. Regime policy acts to unbalance trade and undermine the work of economic departments. Tightened price regulation of retail chains drives reduced goods availability and reduction of promotional programs.
Lukashenka attempts to consolidate support and boost his popularity by blaming economic failures and rising prices on businesses and officials.
Populist policy decisions with negative economic impact proliferate. Civil servants and state employees secure salary increases at the expense of local reserve funds as the leadership attempts to shore up loyalty.
The ruling class is considering options for isolating the population, tightening the rules governing election observers, and depoliticising voters to reduce societal tension. Proposals have been submitted to abolish the turnout threshold for elections of parliamentary deputies.
Lukashenka pays lip service to political reform and collegial government in the form of the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly, aiming to consolidate the nomenklatura in the face of growing tensions due to the war in Ukraine and economic decline.
Lukashenka aims to relieve tension and discontent in society and deflect the aspirations of the nomenklatura towards collegial management with a combination of populist economics and internal reorganisations of the state apparatus.
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Situation in Belarus