Russia Would Rather Cut Pensions than Subsidies to Belarus - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Belarusian experts discussed Russian subsidies, economic reforms, which the government will have to implement and the challenges of their implementation. Other topics include human rights violations in July-September, coverage of the 2015 presidential elections in state media and the state of the third sector in Belarus. 

Foreign policy analysis covers relations with Eurasia and the European Union as well as decisions of the European Court of Justice on targeted sanctions also covered. All this and more in this issue of Digest of Belarusian Analytics. 

Economy

Andrei Molchan: Russia Would Rather Reduce Pensions to Pensioners than Subsidies to Belarus – Online magazine Ideaby under the Kastryčnicky Economic Forum KEF-2015 presents a video version of a public lecture of Andrei Molchan, the head of the economic program at the Carnegie Moscow Center. KEF-2015 was held on November 3-4, in Minsk and brought together more than 300 participants and about 30,000 online viewers. KEF 2015 related publications received over 2.5 million views via media.

Six Reform Steps in Belarus Proposed by Economy Ministry – The "road map" of structural reforms was presented by First Deputy Economy Minister Aliaksandr Zabarouski at Kastryčnicky Economic Forum in Minsk. The points include ensuring the macroeconomic balance; increasing efficiency in the allocation of financial resources; reducing the role of government in the economy; the increase in jobs in the private sector; the development of the labor market and strengthening social protection systems, and formation of efficient commodity markets and financial services markets.

Macroeconomic Problems of Belarus: It will be Different This Time – Economist Dmitry Kruk discusses stereotypes that have emerged in the past 7-8 years during discussing economic policy and argues that the situation has changed greatly. Now Belarus is in a unique situation when structural reforms are beneficial not only for the long term, but short-term prospects. The material is prepared in the framework of the KEF-2015 conference. See also an infographics piece for the IPM research What Reforms Business Expects, created by IdeaBy journal.​

Unemployment insurance will not save. Alexander Chubrik, Research Centre IPM, analyzes the unemployment insurance system discussed by Belarusian authorities. Chubrik argues why this system is problematic and its introduction in Belarus is inexpedient.

Civil Society and the State

Monitoring: The Coverage of the 2015 Presidential Election in the Belarusian Media (Final Report) – The Belarusian Association of Journalists releases the final report on the coverage of the 2015 presidential election in the Belarusian media. One of the key findings is that contrary to the 2010 presidential campaign, this time the state-owned media gave more attention to the election related topics. However, the incumbent still enjoyed a dominant position.

The "Third Sector" is Ready to Become a Reliable Partner for the Government in Reforms, "Just do Not Stifle (video) – For 10 years the Belarusian civil society has become highly professional, its expert opinion is valued around the world, and today in the midst of crisis, the "third sector" can be partner for the state. These points are articulated by guests of a regular Amplituda TUT.by – ecologist Irina Sukhi, Chairperson of the National Platform Svetlana Koroleva, and Chairperson of the Belarusian Helsinki Committee Aleh Hulak.

Analytical Report on Human Rights in Belarus in July-September – The main purpose of the report is to reflect the situation with basic human rights in Belarus and indicate socio-political and economic factors that influence its development. The human rights situation in Belarus during July through October 2015 was influenced directly and indirectly by the presidential election campaign. The report is the result of cooperation between Belarusian human rights organizations.

Third Sector: Progress, Regress, or Stability? – The topic of a new program Black and White, TV channel Belsat, is dedicated to discussion what active citizens can do in a passive society; how citizenship starts and how to develop it, etc. The guests in the studio are Max Hedin, a specialist in the promotion of the Grazhdanstvennost.by project, and Ivan Vedenin, creative director of Talaka.by platform.

Foreign Policy

Belarus' Balancing Act. Lukashenko Looks West - And East – Andrew Wilson, a Professor at University College London and the author of Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship, suggests an answer, what the difference between presidential elections of 2010 and 2015. In the first case thousands protested in the capital city of Minsk, and the EU and the United States imposed harsh sanctions on Belarus. This year only 100 protesters turned out for a brief demonstration. The EU promptly announced that it would suspend most sanctions for four months. So what changed? In a word: Ukraine.

Eurasian Review №6 – BISS presents the sixth issue of the Eurasian Review, which analyzes the processes of Eurasian integration. Over the past few months, Eurasian integration was marked by a series of significant developments. In August, Kyrgyzstan became a full member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU). The main feature of the issue is the lobbying capabilities of Belarus in the EEU.​

The Court of Justice of the EU: Chyzh Plays Hockey with Lukashenko, So What? – Andrei Yeliseyeu, BISS, describes a case when the Court of Justice of the EU has made it clear to the Council of the EU’ lawyers that they need to provide more cogent arguments why sanctions must be imposed on Belarusian citizens and companies. The EU’s legislative branch requires incontrovertible evidence of mutually beneficial connections between Belarusian tycoons and the country’s political regime; implicit arguments are insufficient.

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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