Belarus risks devaluation due to IMF forecast of dwindling gold reserves by year-end

April 22, 2016 19:13

According to the IMF forecast, Belarus’ international reserve assets may drop to USD 2.5 billion or 0.8 months worth of imports by late 2015. It is noteworthy that devaluation in 2009 and 2011 occurred when the level of gold reserves fell below one-month worth of imports. In order to prevent devaluation the government may undertake the following measures: carry out wage freeze policy in order to preserve net sales of foreign currency on the domestic foreign exchange market; step-up its talks with international creditors in order to place new bond issues on international markets; maintain high interest rates (6%) on foreign currency deposits in Belarusian banks for the population; increase pressure on importers in order to curtail imports; and adjust government programmes so that to reduce imports of equipment and raw materials in 2015. 

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
September 18, 2017 10:43
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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.