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BULLETINS INFOFOCUS № 10

E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 10, 2013 – ISSN 1822-5578 (only Russian)

Content:

Introduction
1. Basic trends of October
2. Chronicle of key events
3. Politics
3.1. “Let’s remove requisitioning – and everything’s gonna be fine”
3.2. Political consequences of the “new economic policy”
4. Economics
4.1. Everyone cannot live at the expense of exports
4.2. Change of the economic policy agenda is needed
4.3. Doing Business? Doing, doing, but very faintly
5. Finances
5.1. “As for the rest – God grant it always be so”
6. Our forecast for November
7. From the IISEPS desktop

Introduction:

Dear readers!
As we have expected, the summing up of the working group, chaired by the head of the Presidential Administration Alexander Kobiakov, scheduled for September, did not take place in October as well. Belarusian authorities enter the era which their Soviet predecessors were accustomed to – the era of stagnation, when an avalanche growth of external and internal challenges produced some clearly impracticable programs. After an initial phase of loud discussions, they were gradually losing their relevance and were replaced by new programs – new loud discussions to be more exact. It seems that public authority which is not controllable by society can operate in this mode endlessly, but we should not forget about the law of transition from quantity to a new quality. Under the new quality in this case we mean the situation when the “upper classes” cannot carry on in the old way and the “lower classes” do not want to live in the old way.
A good example of pseudo-activity of the power is the initiative of the head of state to charge “$ 100 per head” for crossing the state border. The very initiator of the initiative commented on it in October in his “offspring of the common people” style: “Well, I’ve blurted it out, to my own detriment, I guess. People have slightly shuddered, ruffled their “feathers”, sworn at Lukashenko a little – that’s not bad, I have to keep myself up”. Our negative outlook for the initiative’s fate was based on the fact that “when the bins are empty it is necessary to give up the former policy willy-nilly”. The fact that the bins are really empty was confirmed in October by the National Statistical Committee, having for the first time recorded a decrease in real wages during the critical year of the five-year plan: -4.7% in September in comparison with August.
The potash conflict in October has also been developing according to the scheme described above. After the emotional descriptions of villainous oligarchs’ fault given to the Russian journalists during a press conference on October, 11, the head of state made a number of statements about his readiness to resume collaboration with JSC Uralkali. Potash fertilizers’ production in Belarus decreased by 44.5% in September, 2013 in comparison with September, 2012. Against the background of the general decline in exports, the resources of A. Lukashenko for the talks with villains were almost exhausted. He didn’t throw out a white flag yet, but it’s only a matter of time.
IISEPS executive board

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