Bankruptcy cases to increase by 30%-50% in 2016 in Belarus
According to the Supreme Court of Belarus, as of March 1st, 2016 the court had 2564 lawsuits on economic insolvency (bankruptcy), which was a 38% increase from last year. In late January 2016, every third Belarusian company was unprofitable. As the state reduces its support, even more enterprises are expected to file for bankruptcy, both state and private. In addition, that would lead to higher unemployment. Arrears on taxes and fees to the Social Security Fund will increase, as well as the volume of collateral and real estate sold by banks. Overall, in 2016, the number of industrial enterprises, trade and construction companies that will file for rehabilitation or bankruptcy procedure may increase by 30-50%.
The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.
In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.
The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.
There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.
That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.