November 29 – December 5, 2021
The ruling elite

Purges in anticipation of the referendum and questionable solutions to address the budget deficit

The situation has not changed
Purges in anticipation of the referendum and questionable solutions to address the budget deficit

The state (security forces) is concentrating resources on persecuting dissidents and disseminating alternative information. The authorities are forced to offer some solutions due to reduced budget revenues.

The regime is preparing for a constitutional referendum in February 2022, albeit it remains concerned and alert about a potential protest it may entail. Lukashenka’s statement about possible early presidential elections after the adoption of the new Constitution also aimed to reduce mobilisation potential in society.

Lukashenka further relies on security officials and envisages additional resources to retain their loyalty. The KGB officer who died during the shootout at Jakuboŭskaha Street was awarded the Order For Personal Courage.

Security officials continue to ensure a high cost of participation in protest activity and public displays of dissent, sometimes with a peculiar cruelty. A mother of five, Volha Zalatar, was sentenced to 4 years in prison. Two residents of the Minsk region a facing a trial for protest samizdat.

As a result of harsh state policies, crime rates are likely to go up, society’s expectations of state guarantees in maintaining public safety would decrease and ratings of state institutions would drop further. Meanwhile, people’s incomes are falling and debts to banks, including those for consumer lending, are increasing.

Due to the lack of resources, the authorities will make state aid available to specific social and vulnerable groups and reduce social guarantees for the rest of the population. Officials have already announced bonus cards for pensioners, low-income people and large families.

The government is irradiating economic optimism to consolidate the state apparatus before the referendum, among other things. According to the latest economic data, GDP grew by 2.4%, exports by 32%, and stocks, on the contrary, decreased.

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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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