Monthly E-bulletin “INFOFOCUS” N 12, 2015

E-bulletin of IISEPS Center for Documentation, N 12, 2015 – ISSN 1822-5578
(only Russian)


1. Basic trends of December
2. Chronicle of key events
3. Politics
3.1. Economy recovery recipes from ex-presidential adviser
3.2. Venezuela lessons for Belarus
4. Economics
4.1. World economy growth rates will be “disappointing” in 2016
4.2. Four echelons of modernization defense
4.3. A growth albeit a small one
5. Finances
5.1. Life in rigid economy mode, but not for everyone
6. Our forecast for January
7. From the IISEPS desktop


Dear readers!

A. Lukashenko’s forecast for 2015 was absolutely clear: “We don’t have any extraordinary objectives. The objectives are the same as always: to maintain peace and order in the country, secure economy growth and decent life standard for people”. Sharing the head of state’s optimisms (but not completely) in our forecast, we agreed that peace and order in the country will be kept, but economic part of the forecast leaves a lot of doubts.
Our pessimism was justified: gross domestic product over January-October 2015 dropped by 3.9% comparatively to the same period of 2014; real disposable incomes of population dropped by 5.4%.
We were too quick to declare that the resource of Anomaly-2014 was exhausted. However, there was a proviso in our yearly forecast: “If Russian TV will not continue to pump hysteria (which we cannot exclude), Belarusians’ perception of economic and political reality will start to go back to the usual level of adequacy”.
TV show “Novorossiya” was replaced by TV show “Novo-Syria” with its efficient precision bombings, and this provided conditions for Anomaly-2014 transforming into Anomaly-2015.
As for Belarusian society’s readiness to accept the changing of the social contract “loyalty in exchange for income growth” to a new contract “loyalty in exchange for survival” without any public objections, our forecast was right. Just like our suggestion about the “regular” mode of the so called presidential elections.
According to the forecast of President of Russia V. Putin, Eurasian Economic Union in 2015 should have become “a powerful source of development for all its participants” (Message-2014). Our forecast didn’t share his optimism. You can judge yourself whose forecast was closer to reality.
And bringing the analysis of forecast for 2015 to an end, let us remind our readers that we didn’t agree with the Russian political analyst G. Pavlovskiy who predicted that Russian mass media would transform the image of Lukashenko the Ally into the image of Lukashenko the Enemy.
There is no doubt that G. Pavlovskiy is a great specialist and that he has connections in Kremlin. Nevertheless, we rarely make mistakes when we forecast the development of Belarusian-Russian relations, because we proceed from the assumption that Kremlin has no other allies besides Belarus (A. Lukashenko). Opening a real front against the only ally would have been worse than a crime: it would have been a mistake.
We used the same logic when we were preparing the forecast on the distribution of oil and gas revenue between the founders of the Union State. As we’ve supposed it, the allies entered 2016 peacefully, despite the fact that not all of the questions were settled.
December IISEPS survey confirmed our expectations regarding a significant drop of A. Lukashenko’s electoral rating: it lost 12.4 points over the fourth quarter (September – 45.7%, December – 33.3%).
As for our forecast regarding the balance of buying/selling of foreign currency by the population, we cannot either confirm or disprove it, because there is no official statistics available at the moment of preparing the December issue of “Infofocus”.

IISEPS executive board