E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 11, 2008 – ISSN 1822-5578 (only Russian)


1. Basic trends of November
2. Chronicle of key events
3. Politics

3.1. “I don’t understand you!”
3.2. A protracted beginning
4. Economics
4.1. A not bad result against the background of the world-wide recession
4.2. The first pancake is always lumpy
4.3. In search of the required showing
4.4. Straw for an “airbag”
4.5. Anti-national property
4.6. Economy should be economical
5. Finances
5.1. Opening of a “financial” front
5.2. A ban against up-front money
6. Good news
7. Our forecast for December
8. From the IISEPS Desktop


Dear readers!


In accordance with our very presentiment, the crisis entered the Belarusian ordinariness in November, entered with its financial as well as economic constituents. It is clear that a lot of attempts were made on the official level in order to postpone recognition of the accomplished fact. The authorities were looking for the necessary words-substitutes with the help of which they would be able to describe what was going on. In our opinion, A. Drozdov, the head of administration of the National Bank of the Republic of Belarus, succeeded in this search best of all. According to him, there is no financial crisis in Belarus, “there are difficulties connected with the world’s financial crisis”. The cheerful and the ready-witted have not become extinct yet on the top levels of the administrative vertical line! Congratulations!
The beginning of the crisis was also registered by “Belstat” (see details in the economic part). However, “difficulties” mentioned by A. Drozdov have not so far told on the GDP (the main property of the “Belarusian economic model”) for 10 months, which cannot be said about its constituents. All this did not prevent the Ministry of industry from obliging enterprises to create antirecessionary committees, though. Their functions are not clear to the creators themselves that is why everything came to collecting information about the situation in the markets and handing it over to the ministry.
In November the Belarusian ruble in contrast to its Russian “colleague” managed to hold out in the planned bounds. The authorities managed not to allow a raid of depositors on bank “grain-bins”; however they had to drive to non-ordinary shifts in the form of passing Decree № 22 “About safety insurance arrangements of natural persons’ monetary funds, placed on accounts and (or) bank deposits”. They also succeeded in providing for the demand of the population for currency (which cannot be said about enterprises). At the beginning of the month the already forgotten word “valutchik” (a profiteer who is occupied with illegal currency transactions) began to appear in mass media again. It was followed by formidable comments on the part of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, and the phenomenon, which had not managed to reappear properly, dispersed.
Abkhazia and South Ossetia, just as we had supposed, remained unrecognized. The newly elected parliament did not even put the mentioned question on the agenda, and in that way did not justify hopes pinned on it by the head of state. The architect of the Belarusian foreign policy himself continued to sustain a pause which obviously became protracted. Under the conditions when very little time remains till the end of the year and there is complete vagueness as far as the gas price is concerned such behavior of the politician who has mastered the art of “acting according to the daily principles” to perfection begins to astonish.
On the other hand, our forecast concerning concessions to the European Union and an anti-corruption show did not prove to be correct. In November the authorities made another step toward Europe having allowed the newspapers “Narodnaya volya” (“People’s will”) and “Nasha niva” (“Our field”) into the state system of circulation. A show whipping of corrupt officials also took place. The country learned the names of its heroes. However, neither representatives of the Presidential administration nor members of the parliament turned out to be among the mentioned persons, although those very structures had been referred to in the April message as corruption-breeders in Belarus. Thus, we obviously did not estimate “the degree of the Belarusian stability break-up” and therefore were mistaken in our forecast.
As for the main choice (“either liberalization or tightening the screws”) which the Belarusian authorities face, then the November balance has more likely shaped in favor of liberalization than tightening.

IISEPS executive board

Download full version (in Russian only)