«

»

BULLETINS INFOFOCUS № 12

E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 12, 2008 – ISSN 1822-5578 (only Russian)

Content:

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

3.1. About “broken” legs and “twisted” arms
3.2. We do not argue, we blackmail
3.3. Towards the western “Eastern partnership”
3.4. There is a plan!
4. Economics
4.1. Somebody else’s statistics
4.2. The November collapse
4.3. There is plan-2!
4.4. Straw for an “airbag”
4.5. The prevalent balance
5. Finances
5.1. “It is difficult for us now”
6. Good news
7. Our forecast for January
8. From the IISEPS Desktop

Introduction:

Dear readers!

 

On December, 30 an article by A. Klaskovsky was published on the site www.naviny.by. The article began with the following statement: “A year ago even the most daring experts could not foresee that the word “liberalization” would become the most important one on the lips of the home authorities. And if such Nostradamus were found, he would be made a laughing-stock of However, this is so indeed: never say “never”!” Such resoluteness will most likely arouse a sympathetic smile, rather than laughter, by the permanent readers of the “Infofocus”, as this very “word” made itself at home on the pages of our informational bulletin since the end of 2007. Let us quote the last paragraph of the forecast made precisely a year ago: “Dotty” liberalization is going to continue, but it will not bring the result anticipated by the government. The western capital will never go to Belarus, which does not leave out investments from the direction of China. No victory will be won in the course of the announced “last and final” war against bureaucratization, either. Belarusian bureaucracy will only strengthen its positions, and as it has already happened more than once in history, it will prove to be the only social group which will be able to turn the middle-of-the-road reforms to material advantage”. If we exclude China from the quotation given above, then the rest of our assumptions have not lost their topicality during the last year.
Liberalization and everything else which is connected with the attempts of the authorities to reform Belarusian economy was constantly in the center of our attention in 2008. It was neither the result of accidental guessing nor of intuitive discernment. It happened owing to understanding of the distributing nature of the “Belarusian economic model of development”. The model under consideration exhausted the opportunity to concentrate resources due to objective reasons and therefore entered the natural for it stage of liberalization. All this has already happened in history time and again. The last time it occurred at the end of the 80s in the previous century (Gorbachev’s Perestroika). If the historical analogy goes on, and no reasons for a deviation can be seen so far, then consequences of Lukashenko’s Perestroika will turn out to be as destructive for the economy and the society as of Gorbachev’s.
As regards the forecast for December, it proved to be true as a whole; and although the final price for the Russian gas has not been announced, we have every reason to believe that it is going to suit the Belarusian part. At least, A. Lukashenko was satisfied with the results of the negotiations with “Gazprom”, and it is a weighty argument in favor of our forecast in the given case.
The opinion poll, conducted by independent sociologists at the beginning of December, has registered the social constituent of the crisis (see the rubric “From the IISEPS desktop”). At that, a considerable drop of the head’s of state rating did not occur. In December the economic crisis touched upon the Belarusians principally by its informational constituent; however, January with its collapse of the ruble will undoubtedly introduce considerable corrections into the main rating of the country.
Uncoordinated crisis-proof decisions-streamlets flew together in December into a very liberal stream-program. It was not published, though, but deputy head of the Presidential Administration N. Petkevich reported working on it.
Rapprochement with the West continued. The Belarusian part announced its readiness to support the European Commission project “Eastern partnership”. Another concession to the demands of the West was also made – A. Milinkevich’s movement “For freedom” was registered, which did not confirm our pessimistic view on the pliability of the Belarusian authorities.

IISEPS executive board

Download full version (in Russian only)