The fight against unemployment will only continue until the end of 2015

April 22, 2016 19:17

More than 18 thousand jobs will be created in all the regions of Belarus in order to guarantee employment to the population. This will allow to lower negative consequences of mass layoffs in industry and construction sectors in the first half of 2015. Most jobs created will be based on previously discontinued vacancies. After the elections the state will not have funds to support them.

In order to ease social tensions 18063 additional jobs will be created in the second half of 2015. In case the project will be fulfilled there will be an equal number of unemployed registered in social security bodies and a number of vacancies available through such bodies. As to June 1st, 2015 there were 18.8 thousand more unemployed than vacancies.

Negative tendencies on the labor market and the electoral campaign are two main reasons behind the creation of new jobs. According to Belstat, in five months of 2015 the number of hired employees is 254.9 thousand people, and the number of fired staff is 313.1 thousand people. 58.2 thousand employees were fired on net basis. Mainly there were mass layoffs in construction and industry branches. Pensioners were specifically targeted in the process of staff optimization. The level of registered unemployment reached 1%. Problems on the labor market may negatively influence the preferences of the electorate during the election campaign and lower the number of supporters of the incumbent president.

The economy of Belarus is unable to generate the appropriate number of jobs. New investment projects are inexistent. Economic recession makes enterprises shrink their activities. In such conditions the most likely option of fulfilling new requirement is employing the workers on earlier retrenched positions. Big state-owned enterprises will receive financial support from the state which will allow them to expand their capacities. A bigger volume of production will require additional labor resources. Housing and utility sector will employ additional staff for the heating season. The funding for industrial enterprises is limited. This funding will be enough for increasing production until the end of 2015. After the elections there will be no more need to demonstrate the stability of the current socio-economical model, the staff will be fired, and staff optimization will continue.

In such a manner the authorities have retreated to the old tactics of the artificial improvement of the situation in the economy by increasing the wages, pensions and employment before the presidential elections. The financial resources are, nevertheless, limited; a new emission of ruble will be needed, after the electoral campaign newly hired workers will be laid off, and a new correction of the currency exchange rate will be needed in order to overcome the consequences of the artificial stimulation of the economy.

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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.