Hybrid War, Belarusians Want Change, Crisis Provokes Crime - Digest Of Belarusian Analytics

New banknotes after denomination. Photo: onliner.by

Paul Goble: Minsk fears that Moscow may organise hybrid war and color revolution in Belarus. 65.5% of Belarusians want changes, according to fresh IISEPS poll. BISS`s Meĺjancoŭ: Belarus-EU relations have good potential for slow sustainable development.

Disappointment: economists Siarhiej Čaly Aliaksandr Čubryk​ analyse the results of the 5th Belarusian People's Congress. REFORUM study: economic crises have a negative impact on the criminal situation in Belarus. IMF mission in Minsk: Belarusian economy needs large-scale reforms. This and more in the new Digest of Belarusian Analytics.

Domestic politics

Belarusians Debate Their Development PathGrigory Ioffe considers debatable a need in All-Belarusian People’s Assemblies as an extra-constitutional body to glorify the government’s achievements, legitimise its shortcomings and set plans for the future. The analyst compares the Assemblies with the medieval Slavic Veche – a ritual of direct democracy and a gathering at which communal leaders were expected to give their approval to the actions of the monarch.

IISEPS National Poll in June – Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies (IISEPS) released fresh results of its national poll. Namely, 65.5% of Belarusians want changes, while 25.5% prefer to keep the status quo; protest moods have grown from 8% two years ago to 14.7%; 81% believe Belarusian economy is in crisis; 57% think things in Belarus are going in a wrong direction. Geopolitically, there is a slight movement towards the West.

Foreign policy and security

Minsk Fears Moscow May Organise Hybrid War and Color Revolution in Belarus – Paul Goble analyses different reflections on Belarus' new military doctrine, which was approved by the parliament on 16 June. The author makes a conclusion from all arguments that Moscow is likely to try to promote its own version of a colour revolution in Belarus rather than to invade, if it decides that it has to change Minsk’s direction in a radical way.

Belarus-EU relations have good potentialBISS’s Dzianis Meĺjancoŭ analyses the progress in normalisation of relations between Belarus and European countries. The analyst concludes that Belarus-EU relations have good potential for sustainable development, but such development will not be fast.

Economy

Economy 101. Complete Disappointment – According to economist Siarhiej Čaly and Director of the IPM Research Centre Aliaksandr Čubryk, the 5th Belarusian People's Congress has brought nothing new. And it's a bad sign for the economy. The Congress took place on June 22-23 in Minsk and approved the country's development program for 2016-2020. The experts analyse the report by Aliaksandr Lukashenka in the studio TUT.BY-TV.

REFORUM. Economic Crisis and Crime: What Belarus should be afraid ofAliaksandr Aŭtuška-Sikorski, the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS), discovers that an economic crisis has a negative impact on the criminal situation in Belarus - thus, in times of economic crises of 1991-1994 and 1997-2000, the rates of all types of crimes (except robbery) grew up.

Innovation Brings Great Opportunities To The Belarusian Economy – Rumen Dobrinsky, country expert for Bulgaria and Belarus, considers that the Belarusian economy has still to be discovered by many potential investors, but it is worth the effort. Investors will find both innovative firms with their roots in the past and new technology firms born out of the innovative drive of talented young entrepreneurs.

Civil society

The Citizen of Minsk, Who Started the Fashion on Embroidery – Citydog.by magazine in its section Admetnyja/Special talks to Paviel Belavus, a founder of the online store of Belarusian goods Symbal, which introduced the fashion for things decorated with Belarusian ornaments. For two years Pavel and the team successfully promote their business, which not only increases the interest for the national culture but also brings a real profit.

Civil Participation in Decision Making in the Eastern Partnership Countries– The study examines the existing laws, agencies and procedures governing civil participation in political decision-making at national and local level in six Eastern Partnership countries. The study contains a chapter on Belarus to analyse the related components - from access to information to opportunities for citizens to participate in direct democracy.

Reforms review

IMF expects reforms in Belarus. International Monetary Fund experts predict a recession of the Belarusian economy in 2016 and 2017, with a slight resumption of growth only in 2018. This is stated on June 30 in the final statement of the IMF mission that worked in Minsk. Belarus plans to borrow $1 billion from IMF in 2017, according to a draft macroeconomic forecast drawn up by the government.

Belarus holds the ruble denomination. From July 1, Belarus moves to new money without four zeros in a third currency redenomination since August 1994. Now the exchange rate is the following: $1 costs 2 Belarusian rubles, 1 euro - 2 rubles 22 kopecks, 1 Russian ruble - 3 kopecks.

Lukashenka seeks compromise between supporters of market reforms and conservatives. Belarus in Focus believes that Lukashenka is attempting to find a compromise solution to economic problems between reforms and conservation. Apparently, the government is increasingly split over future economic development policy - either liberal, or conservative. Meanwhile, assistant to the president Kirill Rudy, known as an advocate of economic reform, is leaving the country to serve Ambassador of Belarus to China.

Belarus to establish regional centres for economic growth. Centres for economic growth will be set up in the regions of Belarus. The decision is envisaged in Belarus' draft social and development program for 2016-2020. Centres for economic growth will be established through the concentration of resources on the key areas, able to ensure efficient use of the local resource potential and competitive advantages.

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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