Belarusian economy to see two-year GDP decline
According to the IMF forecast, if current economic reforms continue and the situation on external markets improves, Belarusian economy may resume growth only by 2018 and in 2016 it will shrink by 3% and in 2017 - by 0.5%. The key risk factors for the Belarusian economy include the low level of reserves, increased levels of public debt and deteriorated financial health of enterprises. The Belarusian government is likely to fulfil the IMF recommendations partially - further cut the share of state subsidies for household utility costs and attempt to sell some state assets, which will require the transition to international accounting standards. The state will not give up on performance plans for enterprises, but may narrow tasks substantially. If the state introduces additional measures to ensure Belarus’ financial stability, the IMF is likely to start negotiations for a new loan in late 2016 - early 2017.
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.