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«INFOFOCUS» bulletin No. 2 (179), 2017

E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, No. 2, 2017 – ISSN 1822-5578
(only Russian)

Content

Introduction
1. Basic trends of February
2. Chronicle of key events
3. Politics
3.1. Another attempt to converse
3.2. Belarus as a strained social system
4. Economics
4.1. Trumponomics and technical progress
4.2. Minister and leading indicators
4.3. Pillar of stability and stagnation
5. Finances
5.1. Waiting for the ruble weakening
6. Our forecast for March
7. From the IISEPS desktop

Introduction:

Dear readers

Judging by Alexander Lukashenko’s statement in January, he was told that “by the last December average salary in the country averaged to $ 417; we are really close to reaching $ 500.” Those, who regularly follow the official statistics, undoubtedly smiled at this optimism of the head of state. The thing is that every last month of any year the average salary of Belarusians “jumps” by approximately 10% (11.1% in December 2016 compared to November 2016) only to “drop” by the same amount in January. These “antics” of the average salary have nothing to do with productivity of labor. The root cause are the bonus payments of the end of year. This is why we didn’t suppose but expressed assurance that the salary was going to decrease.

Belstat justified our assurance officially. Nominal average wages in January dropped by 10.1% and amounted to 720.7 rubles (approximately $ 375). Real average salary (taking into account consumer inflation) dropped by 10.9%.

Our forecast regarding the long-playing Belarusian-Russian oil-and-gas conflict came true as well. No, it did not finish, but we didn’t forecast that. But the balance distinctly tilts to the Belarusian side. On February 28, President of Russia Vladimir Putin set the record straight during the press-conference in Bishkek: “If you look at the data provided by the IMF, you will see impressive figures of direct and indirect support to the Belarusian economy. But we do not regret it, because Russian economy will profit from that in long term.”

Profit in intergovernmental relations is not necessarily measured in dollars, especially between two Slavic states. Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin can permit himself to publish a Facebook post saying that Russia has three allies: The Army, The Navy, and the military-industrial establishment. Deputy Prime Minister, however, is not a political post, but rather a technical one (just like Prime Minister). The only real politician in the country is Putin. In his list of allies Belarus apparently takes the first place, and by the look of it he is not going to cross the country out of this list.

IISEPS board