Enhancement of the administrative control
Decree No 114 of February 27, 2012, empowered the local authorities and the Pricing Policy Department of the Ministry of Economy of Belarus to organize ad hoc inspections of enterprises “in order to timely detect and suppress violations of anti-monopoly legislation”.
Moreover, such inspections could be organized regardless of the grounds stipulated in the legislation. The decree envisages severe penalties for violations of antitrust legislation and unfair competition.
The authorities believe such ad hoc inspections will allow them to detect and deter cases of violation of the legislation, including facts of price collusion, violations of prohibitions, and (or) restrictions on the sale of goods (works, services) introduced by the government in some administrative regions of Belarus. The Decree also envisages strengthening of the penalties for violation of the anti-monopoly legislation.
Therefore, any manufacturer could be accused of a monopoly (if share of sales is more than 30%) therefore tightening of the legislation could be interpreted as an attempt to treat high prices and inflation with increased repression.
This is a new/old logic of the authorities: instead of liberalization, privatization and the simplification of the business environment, opening markets to foreign competition, they introduce new restrictions and new (ad hoc) inspections. It contradicts the generally declared intention to liberalize the economy and casts the country two years behind in its attempt to liberalize the pricing policy.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.