19 July 2011
The development of the crisis in Belarus has slowed down and the macroeconomic situation has been temporarily balanced. The state program of privatization struggles to achieve its goals because of the lack of buyers but the foreign trade balance is improving because Belarusian goods are relatively cheap. The government failed to adopt market rate for foreign currency exchange despite calls...
12 July 2011
Last week Russian Minister of Finance Kudrin warned that Russia would reconsider any further loans if Belarus government continues to preserve multiplicity of exchange rates, restrict import and delay privatization. Over the last months all efforts of Belarus government focused on...
01 July 2011
Two months of spiraling inflation have achieved what years of the KGB heavy-handedness could not. Few Belarusians stood up to protest the imprisonment of the opposition, the repression of the media, or the violation of gay rights, but now they are coming into the streets to protest the soaring prices and the absence of foreign currency.
In June, a series of silent Internet-organized...
30 June 2011
The Eurasian Economic Community (EurAsEC), a post-Soviet economic bloc led by Russia, agreed in May to extend a loan of USD 3 billion. According to the agreement, Belarus will receive the following funds: USD 1.24 billion in 2011, USD 800 million in 2012, and USD 1 billion in 2013. The first installment was received by Minsk last week.
The provision of the loan does very...
28 June 2011
At the beginning of the current financial crisis in Greece, the European authorities found that Greek official statistics were inaccurate and falsified. The Greeks been reluctant to show the real figures to fog their non-fulfillment of the ”Maastricht Criteria”, which imposes a limit on the level of public debt. It turned out that the real ratio of the Greece debt to its...
27 June 2011
Reading Belarusian news these days feels like opening a German newspaper on April fool’s Day. Some of the news just cannot be true - they must be jokes. But, up to now, not a single of that news has proved to be a hoax.
An observer from the West is used to economic decisions being taken with a cold, sweat and tears. In any case, decisions are made after consultations with...
21 June 2011
The reaction of Belarus' President resembles the Soviet Union’s approach to the Chernobyl accident. At his press conference last Friday he repeated the old mantra: “No crash happened, we have everything under control, do not listen to foreign propaganda, no reason to worry…”
In fact, there is a lot to worry about: an economic meltdown is in full...
15 June 2011
Two months ago Alyaksandr Lukashenka ordered to find more oil deposits in Belarus. He was visibly upset that his country did not have enough of its own oil and had to depend on Russia. After all, oil revenues help many authoritarian regimes to stay afloat for decades. So far Belarusian geologists failed to discover new oil deposits in...
10 June 2011
Belarus' economy needs external financing more then ever before. The government resists privatization but it will have to surrender soon, even if the International Monetary Fund decides to extend another loan.
Recently the Belarusian weekly Belorusski Rynok discussed the chances of getting an IMF loan. At least three factors play against it. First, Belarus failed to fulfill a...
08 June 2011
Yesterday, several hundred car drivers participated in a mass protest action called “Stop Gasoline” against the rising fuel prices in the Belarusian cities of Minsk, Homel, Brest and Mogilev. Following the call of the automobilist organization “Za-Avto”, drivers blocked...
07 June 2011
Russia, through the Eurasian Economic Community, has agreed to grant Belarus a USD 3bn loan, of which Belarus will only see USD 800m this month. The Belarusian government will only get the remaining amount, in two portions over the following two years, if it goes ahead with the privatisation of state...
05 June 2011
The weekend brought a pleasant surprise for the Belarusian leadership. It managed to get a big loan from the Eurasian Economic Community – a post-Soviet integration bloc dominated by Russia. This week, Lukashenka will be given 800 million USD, and another 2.2 billion will follow over the next 3 years at a 4.1% interest rate....