Authorities put off unpopular measures until after the elections; law enforcers put pressure on anarchists
The Belarusian authorities put off unpopular decisions until after the elections. Authorities hold back on privatization and hope for greater support from international financial institutions. Law enforcers enhance pressure on anarchists and put two activists in jail.
The Belarusian leadership aspires to put off social and economic reforms after the elections. The economic authorities have prepared a draft concept for structural reforms yet have not discussed it with the IMF to request funds for their implementation. The authorities aim to stop subsidizing housing and utilities costs by 2026 and until then gradually reduce the share of such subsidies.
The Belarusian leadership is attempting to skip privatization and retain the state’s share in the economy to retain high employment. Simultaneously, it is also interested in cooperation and investment from the West, which, however, insists on launching the privatization.
During the ongoing election campaign, the authorities have become more vulnerable to people’s response to reduced social protection. Hence, they have abandoned plans to reduce maternity leave from three to two years due to their extreme unpopularity in society. Nevertheless, a public debate on this measure is ongoing, along with the debate on structural economic reforms.
Law enforcers aim to de-motivate supporters of the ultimatum opposition and prevent the unauthorized public activity outside the ongoing election campaign. They have detained two activists of the anarchist movement on suspicion of the involvement in several acts of public property damage in Minsk. That said, anarchists earlier took advantage of the ongoing election campaign and relaxed repressions and organized several unauthorized public actions during the signature collection.
Law enforcers have not detained participants in the unauthorized opposition rally entitled the “Memory Chain” just outside the KGB building and, so far, have not used repressive measures against the participants ((fines or arrests). However, when the election campaign is over, the authorities are likely to resume targeted repressions against participants in the unauthorized public activity.