Rental housing construction project: an attempt to revise society’s views on property
Rental housing construction will become a part of the projected 6.5 million square meters’ construction in 2013. If successful, this project will substantially re-format the country’s lease market and might change the population’s attitude to property ownership as a mandatory attribute of success.
On September 11th, 2012 during the presentation of the economic performance in 2012 report, the lack of accessibility of rented accommodation for needy citizens was raised.
At the end of 2011, private housing made up 86.7% of the overall country’s housing. Many new apartments built as social housing are rented out and used as a source of additional income. There are numerous manipulations with the housing construction using soft and concessional loans. At the same time, a civilized long-term lease market is virtually nonexistent. The housing shortage is not disappearing.
One of the solutions for this housing problem is‘rental housing’ construction. By 2015 3000 rental apartments are projected to be built in Minsk. The project will be funded from the budget, via issuing Minsk City Executive Committee bonds (approximately BYR 1 trillion) and from other sources.
Benefits from the project are clear and it could have been implemented a long time ago. As a result the lease market will get a major new player who could reduce the rental costs and will make the relations between the tenant and the landlord civilized, instead of the chaos that exists at the moment. Long-term lease contracts will become a pledge of confidence for tenants and will be a good example to other landlords. The state, even using the financial resources at preferential rates, will eventually get back indexed rent, which, unlike soft loans, will not be ‘lost’ during the devaluation.
Property ownership, with the introduction of long-term lease, will cease to be a goal in itself and the population will redistribute its savings accumulated for property acquisition to invest in other assets and on current consumption. The long-term lease will help to resolve the internal labour migration issue, and labour mobility will be greatly enhanced.
Therefore, despite some shortcomings, i.e. additional emission credits, the rental housing construction project will have long-term positive effects and will start changing people’s attitude from needing to purchase property to using the benefits of the long-term lease.
Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.
Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.
For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.
Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.
The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.