Basic foodstuffs prices rise
In Belarus, marginal cost prices for bread, dairy products and meat increased by 5%. The consumer price index for goods and services in July this year compared with December 2010 increased by 41%.
Alignment of the Belarusian prices for basic foodstuffs with the Russian is a must, believes the Chairman of the State Control Committee of Belarus Alexander Jacobson. In the neighboring Russia and Ukraine the prices for dairy and meat products are several times higher than in Belarus.
Growing food prices are inevitable to ensure the break-even of meat, dairy and bakery industries and to avoid shortage of these goods in the shops of Belarus. Enterprises work at a loss with restricted prices for end products and become unprofitable. As a result, the variety in the shops of Belarus is gradually becoming smaller. There is a shortage of some goods inter alia in Minsk (in the regions empty shelves in the shops are quite common). At the same time, the price disparity with the neighboring countries, stimulates grey exports, which is difficult to deal with (it is impossible to inspect virtually very suitcase), as well, mass export of goods to Russia, which is difficult to fight against given the non-existent borders. In the current economic circumstances the government should raise prices and tariffs while focusing on addressed assistance to the population. However there is neither political will nor administrative (labour) resources to implement such economic policy. Therefore, it is likely that the existing practice of gradual increases of prices will continue for the disadvantage of both, producers and consumers, (the latter affected by rising prices almost weekly).
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.