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BULLETINS INFOFOCUS № 7

E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 7, 2008 – ISSN 1822-5578 (only Russian)

Content:

Introduction
1. Basic trends of July
2. Chronicle of key events
3. Politics

3.1. Who blew up the holiday?
3.2. Does the “youth group” have youth policy?
3.3. Ratings to any taste
4. Economics
4.1. The creativity plan
4.2. Cutting off the “milk river”
4.3. Just another confession
4.4. Domestically produced meat from an imported fridge
5. Finances
5.1. About the shortage of cockroaches
5.2. Regularly scheduled stability
6. Good news
7. Our forecast for August

Introduction:

Dear readers!

As we have presumed, the authorities did not use the explosion which had happened during the celebration of the Independence Day “to the maximum” (the expression of A. Lebedko, the UCPB leader). An editorial in the newspaper “Sovetskaya Belorussiya” (for more details see the “Policy” part) and arrest of ten mostly former opposition activists who were later released without preferring any charges against them – this, in fact, was the whole “program”. Certainly, pressure on opposition party structures continued to be exerted “in normal operation” and in the first place it was directed at the participants of the electoral process. However, we are repeating it once again: all this occurred “in normal operation”. It would be surprising if the authorities entirely gave up repressions. It is not so easy to get out of the rut, which has been cautiously deepened in the course of 14 years, even in the presence of a desire to do so, all the more when such a desire is absent. That is why putting an end to the pyrotechnic subject let us cite our July forecast: “Politicization of the situation is not paying for the authorities under the present circumstances and if it happens at regular intervals, it happens “in forced operation”.
What we were not able to foresee was management reshuffling which had been caused by the explosion on the night of July, 4. In this, however, we were not alone. Readers of the “Infofocus” can acquaint themselves with our short comment post facto in the article “Does the “youth group” have youth policy?”
Forming of the district election committees was completed in July the way it had been forecast. 118 candidates representing joint democratic forces were nominated. Only 38 out of them managed to pass through the administrative sieve. The increase, if we compare it with the results of the previous elections, is impressive – almost one third. We do not presume to judge what impression it created upon representatives of the OSCE, and it is not so important. The intrigue is yet to come. Divisional election committees are to be formed in August.
However, the Ministry of statistics did not let us down. As we have supposed, to hold the annual inflation at the new border line (10%) turned out to be an impracticable task. Under the pressure of reality (and this equals to 7.3% for the first six months) the government had to reconsider the target one more time: 14% is the upper limit which the Belarusian economy will have to confine itself to in 2008.
The matters with the achievement of the planned unprofitable balance of the foreign commerce do not stand much better either. Although the task for the year amounted to $ 1.45 bln, the export of goods exceeded the import $ 2.21 bln during the period from January to June. So far there are no data concerning service trade for the first six months. They are supposed to make the overall picture better, however one should remember that the negative balance in commodity trade was considerably lower ($ 1.84 bln) for the first half year of 2007. The situation is not critical yet, but the total balance value is most likely to find itself around $ 2 bln.
In conclusion we would like to say a couple of words about the Belarusian-Russian gas confrontation. As it has been assumed, it was not reasonable either for the Belarusians or for the Russians “to aggravate the Union relations” for $ 45 mln. Everything came to an amicable end: the Belarusians agreed to the rise in price, and the Russians consented to reconsideration of the gas transit rate.

IISEPS executive board

 
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