Fewer profitable enterprises in Belarus by late 2016
According to the National Statistics Committee, in H1 2016, loss-making enterprises increased in number by one-fourth to 1738, making 23% of their total number. Unprofitable enterprises increased in number due to the reduced state support funding and the overall deterioration of the financial situation amid currency devaluation. Some key enterprises may adjust their performance indicators by using administrative methods (resource allocation, debt fixation in the national currency and deferred payments). Administrative pressure on successful enterprise is likely to increase in order to boost fiscal charges. In addition, administrative and criminal prosecution against managers at large profitable non-state enterprises is likely to increase. If current economic trends persist, the number of profitable enterprises may reduce by 10% by the year-end and net profits in the economy may shrink by 20-25% as compared with 2015.
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.