Economic recession unlikely to prompt Belarusian authorities to privatisation in 2016
The State Property Committee has published a list of 56 companies and 4 proprietary complexes to be put for privatisation in 2016. There are no economy’s cornerstone enterprises on the list and most companies require financial recovery. Due to special requirements, such as preservation of working places and other financial burdens, only few enterprises may be privatised. It is easier for a potential investor to open a new enterprise than privatise state ones, due to the fact that the state would like to interfere in management at the privatised enterprises even after their sale. According to the authorities, the IMF has softened its position with respect to privatization during the economic recession, therefore the state is unlikely to reduce control over the Belarusian economy in 2016.
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.