E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 7, 2007 – ISSN 1822-5578 (only Russian)


1. Basic trends of July
2. Chronicle of key events
3. Staff initiatives
4. Economics

4.1. Paradoxes of statistics
4.2. Belarusian model
5. Finances
5.1. Taxes as an indicator of the democracy level
5.2. A battle for credit
6. Politics
6.1. Unpublished interviews
6.2. To Russia through Europe
6.3. Latin-American breakthrough
6.4. A shadow of a non-government organization over Belarus
6.5. Good news
7. Our forecast for August


Dear readers!


In the May issue of Infofocus we have predicted some changes in the western vector of Belarusian foreign policy. Let us quote: “The decision of the International Labor Organization about depriving Belarus of preferences most likely is going to be realized. This in its turn will entail changes in the official rhetoric of president A. Lukashenko concerning the West”. On June, 21 sanctions became reality, but no mirror-like answer even in oral form was given. Perhaps, there appeared no proper occasion for it till the end of the month. The president did not dare to create such an occasion “out of the blue”, particularly because there was not so much time left before the celebration of the Independence Day in the course of which head of state delivered a traditional speech.
All the necessary words were pronounced on July, 3 in the Palace of the Republic: “They (the EU and the USA) have shown their face. Today they sit down with us at the negotiating table and make demands, and we negotiate these questions with them. On the other hand they are trying to suppress us. They are trying to knock down the Belarusian people and our state, not simply Lukashenko, “the last dictator of Europe”. The reason for their doing so is not our lack of democracy. The reason for this pressure is everything I have just mentioned: none of them wants to see today on the map of the world a peaceful, civilized, rapidly growing, economically developing state, kneeling before no one”.
Yet, this blunt statement was not followed by any specific actions, and no new anti-West declarations were made in July either. Certain rituals have been elaborated in the public politics of Belarus for 13 years of A. Lukashenko’s presidency, and arguments about “black” envy of the West towards the progress of the Belarusian people rank high among them.
In our prognoses virtually every month we pointed out the importance for the Belarusian president of a personal meeting with his Russian colleague. At the same time we underlined the absence of any “agenda” for such an arrangement. Apparently, they finally realized futility of the attempts to obtain an “audience” in the Kremlin in 38, K. Marx Street. July turned out to be the first month when A. Lukashenko did not express his opinion on the topic.
Our impatience about rise in pensions has let us down again. This year’s first increase of pensions did not occur in July. Instead of it the press-cutting service of the Ministry of Economy reported that during the first six months of the current year the average monthly retirement pension rate had increased 18.3%. Do not be surprised: the rules of arithmetic have not been cancelled in Belarus, and the mentioned figure is not the result of propaganda. What is really going on in the sphere of provision of pensions we will tell you in the economic section of Infofocus.
On the whole the authorities manage to maintain the feeling of stability in the society. Though, alarm signals are heard more often now. E.g. in the first half year petrol consumption has decreased 7%, while the rate of car purchasing has been record (+ 39%). Today in Belarus such a paradox is evident only to some excessively inquisitive economists. Car owners themselves do not notice it. Vodka has possibly contributed its share to the matter: consumption of it has increased 16.6% during the same period of time.

IISEPS executive board


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