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«INFOFOCUS» bulletin N 12 (177), 2016

E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 12, 2016 – ISSN 1822-5578
(only Russian)

Content

Introduction
1. Basic trends of December
2. Chronicle of key events
3. Politics
3.1. At court everyone is for himself
3.2. Happy New Year, Dear Friends!
4. Economics
4.1. From globalization to protectionism
4.2. Prospects of the Russian market for the Belarusian potato
4.3. The year was tough, but there are some reserves
5. Finances
5.1. Belarusian ruble remains a “zaychik” (“bunny”)
6. Our forecast for January
7. From the IISEPS desktop

Introduction:

Dear readers

Just as we expected, the New Year congratulation of the head of state was centered around the treasure of peace: “Violent conflicts break out, terrorist attacks are committed, interethnic and interreligious wars escalate in various corners of the planet. It was not easy to keep Belarus as an island of stability. But we did our best to ensure peace and security of the nation! Our neighbors, friends, brotherly nations should know that Belarus will never be the source of aggression and threats.”

We’ve correctly determined the source of the Belarusian stability too: it is in the unity of the nation, “civil maturity and culture of our people”, and it was demonstrated by “the political campaigns of the outgoing year”.

However, the words regarding the “decent salaries” and doing “our utmost to significantly raise the incomes of citizens next year” were unexpected for us. Alexander Lukashenko said that year 2017 should be “a momentous year”. Judging by the New Year address the word “momentous” means an attempt to reanimate the social contract of the “fat” years stipulating the exchange of loyalty against the growth of incomes. This word is ambiguous, particularly because it can have both positive and negative connotations. Which of them will be more topical in 2017 will become clear in the first half of the year. 

Our forecast regarding the Belarusian-Russian oil and gas conflict came true only in half. As we’ve supposed it, it hasn’t come to an end in December. Positions of the sides haven’t changed over the month, so the conflict was passed as a relay baton from the past year to the new year.

As for the threats of the Belarusian side to raise the tariffs for Russian oil transit, despite our expectations, on the 30th of December the Ministry of Antimonopoly Regulation and Trade of Belarus published a decree on raising these tariffs. However, the actual increase amounted to 7% only instead of announced 20.5%

IISEPS board