Fuel prices in Belarus to beat those in Russia
Belneftekhim concern has calculated that the optimal fuel price on the domestic market should be the price in the Russian Smolensk region plus 5-10%. In March 2017 alone, fuel prices in Belarus increased five times by BYN 0.01 due to the need to modernise refinery and reduce the oil-refining margin amid a decrease in oil supplies in Q1 2017. Fuel prices are likely to continue to increase until they beat those at petrol stations in the Russian regions bordering Belarus. Belarusian refineries are likely to improve financial health. Belarus is unlikely to sell less fuel on the domestic market due to higher fuel prices, however transport costs at enterprises would increase, leading to a possible hike in the tariffs for road transport in Belarus. Fuel prices in Belarus do not depend on the world prices, if need, the government would agree to a further increase in fuel prices to fill the country's budget.
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.