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Belarus-Russia conflict, prospect for 2019 elections, end of recession – digest of Belarus analytics

BISS: relations with Russia have deteriorated to a minimum from early 2011. Arciom Šrajbman in his article notes that even if Minsk and Moscow are able to resolve their current dispute, the standoff will go down in history.

Reformation project...

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Photo: 3mv.ru

BISS: relations with Russia have deteriorated to a minimum from early 2011. Arciom Šrajbman in his article notes that even if Minsk and Moscow are able to resolve their current dispute, the standoff will go down in history.

Reformation project presents a “dream government of reforms” for Belarus. Zautra.by explains why Belarusian public officials are unable to implement reforms. Poll: only 15% of Belarusian students feel positive effects of the Bologna process.

EBRD: Belarus will come out of recession in 2017. Belarus in Focus forecasts that economic recovery may be postponed till 2018. Belarus government reportedly adopts a series of progressive steps by 2020.

This and more in the new edition of digest of Belarus analytics.

Belarus-Russia

The Far-Reaching Consequences of Belarus’s Conflict with RussiaArciom Šrajbman in his article for Carnegie Moscow Centre, notes that even if Minsk and Moscow are able to resolve their current dispute, the standoff will go down in history, at least in Belarus. After Belarus’s declaration of independence and the creation of its state infrastructure this conflict will be one of the most important stages in the country’s movement away from Russia.

Russia Introduces a Border Zone With BelarusJaŭhien Prejherman in his article for Jamestown Foundation, analyses the media reaction to the establishment of the border between Russia and Belarus. The expert recommends that particularly important for observers to prevent their analysis from being driven by hot media headlines and unprofessional and poorly sourced blogging, which tries to sell such headlines as serious research.

Are Moscow and the West Swapping Positions on Belarus? – Paul Goble, The Jamestown Foundation, notes that now there are intriguing indications that Russia and the West are progressively swapping their positions on Belarus, with Moscow viewing its Western neighbour as a threat and the West increasingly considering Belarus a possible ally against Russia.

Stanislav Belkovsky: In Free Elections in Russia, Lukashenka Would Win Putin – In his interview with TUT.by, Stanislav Belkovsky, Russian political scientist, discusses the Russian president's attitude to Lukashenka and Belarus, why Russia needs conflict in Ukraine and the operation in Syria. Belkovsky visits Belarus at the invitation of Nobel laureate, Svetlana Aleksievich for the 2nd meeting of her Intellectual Club.

Belarus Foreign Policy Index #35. November-December 2016 – BISS presents its regular monitoring, in which Belarus’s foreign policy is explored in five dimensions. Namely, at the end of 2016 relations with Russia have deteriorated to an absolute minimum since the entire period of analysis (from early 2011). At the same time, a long-term trend to expand the agenda in relations with the EU has continued.

Domestic politics

Belarus-2019: Return to Repression Or Partnership of Government and Opposition? – Thinktanks.by analyses the recent debate organised by Belarus Security Blog, where experts tried to predict the development of domestic and foreign policy situation for Belarus. One of the findings is that Russia will not return to the same level of support for the Belarusian authorities, so they will come weakened to the next presidential election.

Reformation website presents “dream government” for reforms in Belarus. Among the criteria are professionalism, representation of the current government and the opposition and, gender balance. So, the Prime Minister is Kyril Rudy, former Assistant to the president; Minister of Economy is Aliaksandr Čubryk, IPM Research Institute, Minister of Labour is Tacciana Karatkievič, Havary Praŭdu campaign, Ombudsman is human rights activist Aliena Tankačova.

Why officials cannot conduct reforms. Zautra.by website believes that one of the Belarusian problems’ reasons is the inefficiency of the leading elite. In particular, almost all political Belarusian elite got higher education and academic degrees in Belarus or Russia, which leads to a shortage of fresh ideas, misunderstanding of modern trends, and preservation in a narrow professional world.

Economy

Investments fell below the threshold of economic security. Reducing the share of investment in relation to GDP for three consecutive years is observed in Belarus. Their volume dropped to its lowest level since 2003. The Government is preparing a special meeting on this topic and the related report to the president.


The anatomy of Belarusian joint stock companies. This work is an attempt to find answers to a number of undiscovered issues of joint stock companies activity in Belarus.  Read more

How To Treat The Arrests of Businessmen – Vitali Volyanyuk, Probusiness.by, given the recent arrests of 11 Belarusian businessmen and the criminal case of investor Aliaksandr Muraŭjoŭ, analyses, how to treat this situation. The author believes that in the current paradigm, a normal psychological climate for the business in the country can be created only from scratch.

In 2017, Belarus will come out of recession. According to the EBRD Chief Economist Sergei Guriev, Belarus will come out of recession with GDP growth by 1% in 2017. The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) considers that Belarus should conduct structural reforms to accelerate economic growth, in particular, reforms in the public sector, pension system, etc.

Belarus in Focus: Economic growth in Belarus may be delayed until 2018. The Belarusian economy has been in recession for two consecutive years. Amid anticipated decline in retail trade, construction and unresolved dispute over energy supplies from Russia, economic recession is likely to persist in 2017 and the economic recovery may be postponed until 2018, forecast Belarus in Focus experts.

Government announces a series of progressive innovations until 2020. The Government of Belarus has approved a package of measures to implement the Program of socio-economic development of Belarus for 2016-2020. Among 380 events there are quite revolutionary, in particular, the improvement of the monetary and foreign exchange policy, the decriminalisation of economic risks, etc.

Education and civil society

Poll: Only 15% of Belarusian Students "Feel" the Bologna Process – Only 11% of the students are familiar with the contents of the Roadmap of the Belarusian higher education reform by 2018; 48% say that their students' rights were violated. These data were obtained in a survey on the assessment of the Education Ministry from the viewpoint of the students held in December 2016 – January 2017 by Baltic Internet Policy Initiative and commissioned by the Public Bologna Committee.

Belarus Grows Up. Civil Rise Above ItselfVadzim Mažejka, Belarusian Journal, examines the latest trends in the Belarusian civil society. Thus, Belarusians start realising that no one but themselves can finance social benefit initiatives, comprehend the Belarusian society and discuss upcoming reforms. It's called growing up. 2017 for the Belarusian society is the year to rise above itself.

Belaruspolicy


Challenges to Belarus joining the European Higher Education Area. The paper analyses the main challenges to implementation of the Roadmap in Belarus and provides recommendation which could help to do it on time. Read more

Challenges to Belarus joining the European Higher Education Area. In 2015 Belarus joined the European Higher Education Area (EHEA) and committed to putting a Roadmap for higher education reform into effect by 2018. The implementation of the Roadmap is running behind schedule, which poses a threat to fulfilment of Belarus' obligations by the due date. The paper ‘Challenges To Belarus Joining The European Higher Education Area’ released by the Ostrogorski Centre analyses the main challenges to implementation of the Roadmap in Belarus; it also provides recommendation which could help to do it on time and benefit a wider range of stakeholders.

The anatomy of Belarusian joint stock companies. We do not know how effective the Belarusian enterprises are, what share of the economy belongs to the state, how state-owned enterprises differ from private ones, how labour, capital and materials are distributed between the companies, and how emergence, evolution and exit of enterprises from the market impacts the economy. This work is an attempt to find answers to these questions by analysing the activities of Belarusian joint stock companies.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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