Belarus will keep circa USD 1.5 billion from export duties on oil products until 2025

April 22, 2016 19:03

On November 28th, the Council of the Republic approved amendments to the intergovernmental agreement on payments and transfer of export duties on oil products. Belarus will be able to keep roughly USD 125 million in her budget each month, but not more than USD 1.5 billion a year. If oil prices drop below USD 70/barrel, Belarus’ proceeds will drop and she will need additional funds to repay her public debt. The government is anticipated to continue negotiations with Russia in order to receive better compensation for Russia’s grand tax manoeuvre in the petrochemical industry. When the intergovernmental agreement is ratified, Belarus will still have the possibility to resume her export schemes with antioxidants and bituminous mixtures and increase their export volumes in order to compensate for the lower oil price and lower profitability of the industry.

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
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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.