Belarusian authorities are changing economic model through strengthening large business patronised by security forces
The Belarusian leadership has enhanced the influence of the power block on the political and economic agenda to demonstrate that it is in control, especially before the Russo-Belarusian military exercise "West-2017". Apparently, the president anticipates economic growth to retain in the coming months due to administrative means and the anti-corruption pressure from the power block, as well as due to an increase in the share of loyal large business in the economy. The authorities continue probing some economic transformations envisaging a smooth transition from the existing large public sector in the economy to enabling loyal private investors.
The power block has retained its positions in the economy, acting as a kind of a referee when interests of competing business groups clash. Businessmen with connections in the power block have the advantage so as the support from the security forces allows them to remove their competitors from the market due to criminal prosecution on economic charges. Such connections are of a particular value in Belarus because of the confusing legislation and justified claims about the independence of the judiciary. For instance, power officials have detained top managers of businessman Averyanov, who had left Belarus, most likely due to the "war" with creditors for his assets. Simultaneously, the president has demonstrated readiness to increase the share of loyal large business in the economy.
In addition, the state is using the anti-corruption pressure on the beneficiaries of the state aid in the most resource-intensive economic sectors. Since the spring, power officials have been focusing on agriculture, which resulted in about a dozen of criminal cases against managers of the agro-industrial complex. The Belarusian leadership aims to keep agricultural managers alert and reduce their expectations of state support for the industry.
In all likelihood, in the near future the power block is likely to shift the focus onto the work of Belarusian exporters and their foreign partners.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.