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March 13 – March 19, 2023
The ruling elite

The Lukashenka regime intensifies repression as the leadership urges officials to economise

The situation got worse
The Lukashenka regime intensifies repression as the leadership urges officials to economise
Фота: кіраўніца групы экспертаў маніторынгу "Беларусь у фокусе" Валерыя Касцюгова. Фота Віялеты Саўчыц

The regime enforces allegiance and political inaction by systematically repressing opponents and dissidents. The leadership aims to reduce the budget deficit by scaling back some social spending and mounting an anti-corruption campaign, but economic problems continue to grow.

The regime is mounting an intimidation campaign against opponents and persecuting social groups they see as potentially disloyal. GUBAZiK has been conducting upwards of 20 searches per day directed at relatives and acquaintances of volunteers in Ukraine, in addition to raids by local policemen. Independent analysts Valerya Kostyugova and Tatsiana Kuzina were sentenced to 10 years imprisonment, and Maryna Zolatava and Lyudmila Chekina, from the independent website TUT.BY, were sentenced to 12 years.

In the regions, growing numbers of dissidents are dismissed by state-owned companies. Approximately 30 people were fired from one company in Hłybokaje for political reasons.

The Lukashenka regime continues to insulate itself from society leading to a deterioration of transparency and accountability of state bodies. Population income statistics have been classified by the authorities.

To maintain his personal approval ratings, Lukashenka has directed that savings be found in the state budget as price regulation ceases to have sufficient impact.

Expropriations from businesses continue. Senior managers of a private enterprise in Homiel have been detained on suspicion of tax evasion “on a particularly large scale”.

Record stocks of finished products stagnate in warehouses as the regime supports public sector employment with minimum guarantees and wages to prevent the growth of worker discontent and protests.

Living standards are declining, causing a negative knock-on impact on retail trade. Official data indicates that GDP declined by 3.6% over the past two months. IT companies continue to relocate and close businesses in Belarus.

Under pressure from public sector industrialists and regime directives to support import substitution and stimulate the economy, the National Bank is easing monetary policy at the expense of public sector investment.

The attention of the regime leadership will be redirected to state administration and the public sector with a strengthening anti-corruption campaign.

 

 

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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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