Debt load of Belarusian enterprises deteriorates their financial performance
According to the National Statistics Committee, the profit from selling goods and services in January - October 2016, totalled BYN 10.5 billion, i.e. 0.2% more than in 2015. Profits grew slowly due to the high debt load on enterprises, which spent about one-third of their profits on servicing loans and borrowings. In the future, the state is likely to cut financial aid to troubled enterprises; bankruptcies among the state enterprises are likely to increase in number; layoffs will persist and bad debts in the banking system are likely to accumulate. Due to further reduction in interest rates in the economy, the debt burden on enterprises may somewhat reduce, which will reduce loan servicing costs for businesses.
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.