27 April 2015
On 3 April the Belarusian police detained Viktar Prakapenia, a major IT businessman and owner of the EXP(Capital) investment fund. The authorities accused him of running a business in the shadows in 2005-2008 and allegedly earning $650,000 in profits.
The IT outsourcing sector has been growing fast in Belarus since 2005, when the first government established the High Technology Park...
08 April 2015
On 2 April, Alexander Lukashenka signed a decree against “social parasites”. From now on, individuals who do not pay taxes will lose be forced to submit around $240 annually into the the state’s coffers.
This law is designed to help stimulate employment and fill any number of budget gaps, but it should be viewed in terms of how it reflects the natin's rising...
20 March 2015
On 17 March, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka paid a personal visit to a popular bazaar in Minsk, the capital, to resolve a conflict between the authorities and local street vendors.
Earlier this month, a new government request was issued requiring all street vendors to obtain quality certificates. That prompted the vendors to go on strike.
Although Belarusian officials...
26 February 2015
Belarus is reeling from the effects of the wobbling oil price and Western-imposed sanctions on Russia.
The economy is now paying for the absence of liberal reforms through a decrease in manufacturing, the depreciation of the national currency and the need for budget cuts. The lack of good economic and political news suggests that the recovery will take a long time.
17 February 2015
Whilst 2014 was a bad year for the Belarusian economy on the whole, it brought in plenty of profit for Belavia, Belarusian Airlines and Minsk National Airport.
Without any competition from low-cost airlines, Belavia has been able to safely modernise its fleet of planes and not lose its grip on the market. Whereas in the past the National Airport looked like a trip back to the USSR...
30 January 2015
For 2015, any positive growth would be considered a great success for the Belarusian authorities. Apart from external shocks, several structural challenges have emerged.
A spike in inflation, deeper depreciation of the national currency, the distress of the banking industry, and growing unemployment have all become urgent issues that must be addressed.
The government is trying to...
27 January 2015
In Soviet times, machine building was a driver of economic growth in Belarus. It is not so today.
According to the Ministry of Finance, the Belarusian Automobile Plant, the Minsk Automobile Plant and the Minsk Tractor Plant lost $76m over a nine month period in 2014.
The decline in the industry has influenced the whole country. The state's economy suffers losses not only in...
14 January 2015
Belarus remains a blank spot on the map for many foreigners. A mere 137,000 tourists visited the country in 2013—twenty-one times fewer than the number who visited tiny Estonia.
Onerous visa requirements, combined with an underdeveloped service industry, undermine the country’s efforts to attract foreign visitors.
The world’s largest travel guide company, Lonely...
07 January 2015
Belarus's GDP growth managed to strengthen in November. But despite this, many signals about an upcoming downturn have appeared. The Russian economic contagion began to spread to Belarus through trade and informational channels.
The government reacted by introducing a de-facto 30% devaluation that was accomplished in a rather ‘creative’ manner. But this decision seems to...
24 December 2014
On 11 December, the Belarusian parliament took only 50 minutes to adopt its 2015 budget.
The rapid adoption of the budget highlights the parliament's puppet status - it could not even be troubled to hold even demonstrative discussions over the important document.
Although more than 80% of Belarusians believe that budget information should be easily accessible, even experts...
17 December 2014
Since 2014 the pattern of illegal exports from Belarus to EU has moved towards larger consignments. Large quantities of detained tobacco found on cargo trains. On 6 November Jury Siańko became the Head of the State Customs Committee. Will he change the current situation with smuggling from Belarus to...
09 December 2014
With the economy dominated by the state and its illiberal trade laws, many Belarusians are increasingly taking to shopping abroad.
In the the middle of November, Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba Group reported that customers from Belarus ranked fifth in the number of purchases, leaving behind the US and Canada in the online sales on Chinese anti-Valentine's Day holiday known as...