Ideological Restrictions on Employment in Belarus - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Tatiana Vodolazhskaya

Belarusian experts analyse discrimination in the workplace based on political convictions, social networks preferences of Belarusians, the effect of income increase on political loyalty and media coverage of parliamentary elections among other topics. 

Idiological Emloyment Restrictionsin Belarus -Tatiana Vodolazhskaya  Andrei Shutov (Centre for European Transformation) present an analysis of politically motivated employment restrictions in Belarus. The experts consider employment ban as any barriers to employment based on ideological and political reasons. One of the main ways to implement employment discrimination is a fixed term contract system which is a cornerstone of employment relations in Belarus.

Using "the profession ban" the regime punishes for unauthorized social and political activities, gets rids of ideologically disloyal citizens of areas in which we are working with education, formulation of policies and ideas, fights emergence and activities of influential public figures who manifest disloyalty.

What social networks like Belarusians? - Andrei Dubanevich based on the research of the Ignite Social Media concludes that the Belarusians, as before, are conservative in their choice of social networking and related online resources. In particular, the Belarusians love free content, including music, for example, portal Last.fm. Belarus occupies 3rd place in the list of Livejournal; Belarus takes a prize-winning 3rd place in the top of the region's most educated Web users - 36.5% of them have higher education.

Belarusian Security Brief – Belarusian Security Blog has released its monthly review of national security of Belarus. The experts note a new conflict between Belarus and the West in August increased by a new "front", this time with Sweden. Political crisis is complicated by the doubtful ability of a regime to ensure the development of the country as well as growing lack of people to work in government positions

Are “Bobruisk Anarchists” victims of “the patriot games”?  Anatoliy Sanotenko writes for Mediakritika.by recalling the two-year-old case of three youngsters sentenced to 7 years in prison for an alleged attempt to set the KGB building on fire. Given the different backgrounds of the three young men, and leaked to the internet examples of KGB-assigned straw-men attempting to recruit young activists to commit unlawful actions, the author makes an assumption that the whole story might have been set up and staged by the KGB.

Draft bill on the political parties and NGOs. On July 31, 2012, the Council of Ministers introduced it in the Parliament, but the development of the bill was not discussed in public, it had been published only in the end of August on the National Legal Portal. The analysis showed that the bill provides some positive changes compared with the existing legislation, but generally not focused on the improvement of the situation with freedom of association and the introduction of regulations to promote their development.

Elections

The Coverage of the 2012 Parliamentary Elections in the Belarusian Media. The Belarusian Association of Journalists concludes that electoral campaign and its coverage demonstrate political stagnation, which the authorities try to depict as political stability. Candidates’ presentations are announced in printed TV programs as “Elections-2012” – without naming the candidates or the parties. There is a noticeable depersonalisation of the main participants of the electoral process is taking place. Communication as exchange of opinions is absent – it is rather an exchange of pre-defined messages, but not a free exchange of thoughts.

Weekly Report of Electiom Observation Results, September 3-9. Human rights defenders for free elections campaign in its weekly report notes that election campaigning takes place in the climate of pressure on democratic candidates and civic activists from the state bodies. TV-presentations of the opposition candidates and their platforms continue to undergo censorship in the state press. Observers note massive use of administrative resources in support of pro-government candidates. 

Foreign Policy 

Why Belarus Ignores "Eastern European Davos"? – Yuri Zisser (TUT.BY) visited XXII Economic Forum in Poland, and shares his impressions. In particular, the author wonders at the lack of Belarusian officials on such a large and prestigious event: "Our state finds millions on ice palaces and control teenagers in social networks, but did not want to find a penny to forward experts to participate in the Belarusian section on "Eastern European Davos".

Belarus Aims to Rebuild Its Ties with the West – Grigory Ioffe analyses two top personnel changes - the Belarusian foreign minister, Sergei Martynov was replaced by Vladimir Makei, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s now ex-chief of staff, whose position was assigned to Andrei Kobiakov, until recently Belarus’s ambassador to Russia. The analyst concludes that despite the years of Western sanctions leveled on Belarus following the December 2010 post-election crackdown, efforts continue by both sides to maintain and resurrect withering ties between Minsk and the West.

Economy

Political Business Cycle in Belarus, or the Political Economy of Confidence to the President – Alexander Avtushko-Sikorski (BISS) investigated why many Belarusians' support the political status quo. The expert notes that the growth rate of real wages directly affect the level of confidence in the president: an increase in the rate of growth increases the level of trust, and their reduction - to reduce the number of citizens supporting Lukashenka.  

The growth rate of real wages affect the "market" orientation of the Belarusians with slowing growth increases the number of supporters of the economy with little government regulation. With the acceleration of the growth rate of real wages opposite trend: people want to see in the economy there is a "strong hand" of the state. Income growth does not affect the dynamics of the geopolitical orientations Belarusians.

Belarusian Monthly Economic Review, #9, September 2012 – IPM Research Centre has released the September review of Belarusian economy. In particular, the experts note that GDP growth on the demand side still relies on external factors - the increase in exports and a reduction in non-energy imports - but the trend of recovery in domestic demand and a proportional restore of imports is traced quite clearly. The report highlights the decreasing share of high-tech production and vulnerability of Belarusian economy caused by its dependence on Russian oil imports. 

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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