February 20 – February 26, 2023
The ruling elite

Regime-allied independentists are under pressure from proponents of a “Russian World”

The situation has not changed
Regime-allied independentists are under pressure from proponents of a “Russian World”
Ігар Марзалюк у эфіры СТВ 20 лютага 2023 года. Скрыншот відэа

The regime leadership believes that direct economic regulation has been a successful mitigation strategy against sanctions, which means that strict price controls, fines, and seizures of business assets will continue. Intra-regime tension intensifies due to pressure from pro-Russian activists attempting to change state linguistic and cultural policies and re-write history.

The transformation of the political system follows a “managed democracy” model with the establishment of three or four political parties.

Support for radical ideas of a “Russian world” is widespread among security forces and state ideologists. A pro-Russian activist from Hrodna filed a complaint with the Prosecutor General’s Office against MP Ihar Marzaluk, alleging that his defence of the Belarusian language was “vile”.

Meanwhile, the leadership is trying to rally its supporters under the banner of national security.

Living standards deteriorate as average salaries decrease following the traditional increase in December 2022. The government is forced to increase housing and utility tariffs.

There is a dispute between the House of Representatives and the government regarding changes to the state pension scheme, which negatively impacts a significant number (30-35%) of pensioners. The House, however, fails to act as a buffer for controversial decisions that cause the severe public dissatisfaction.

Additional state funds are being allocated to areas with personnel shortfalls, such as doctors, but significantly less than during the covid period. Consequently, the outflow of healthcare professionals continues.

Due to repression and complicity in Russian aggression leading to sanctions, GDP is predicted to fall. The IT industry decline is accelerating as the personal intervention of Lukashenka and the security forces drives relocation. Dissatisfaction with salaries among specialists increases.

The National Bank endeavours to stimulate the economy with cheaper loans and a lower refinancing rate, which risks stoking inflation.

Strict price controls remain in force, and seizures of funds and property from private businesses continue. The Department of Financial Investigations filed a criminal case against the managers of a Homiel vegetable wholesaler. Brest tax officials imposed fines and surcharges on a chain of barbershops.

Within the nomenklatura and regime allied close businesses, there is a power struggle evident in anti-corruption investigations by the security forces. Corruption charges have been filed against the director of UKB “Zahad” concerning the construction of homes for families with many children. The management of “Belenergosvyaz” have received jail sentences in connection with a bribe from a supplier of video surveillance systems.

As a result of re-registration, all opposition and some loyalist political parties will lose official status and will be liquidated.

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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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