Gap between high and low-wage Belarusian regions will increase
According to the National Statistics Committee, in October 2015, while nominal wages reduced by BYR 25,400 on average throughout the country, in 10 lowest paid regions – by BYR 155,700. In regions with higher wages, wages fall slower due to the presence of highly profitable companies with a sustainable market niche. The overall decline in wages in Belarus will continue. The Vitebsk and Mogilev regions may face a rapid decline in retail turnover, a rise in unemployment, and a higher number of bankruptcies among state-owned enterprises. Amid fewer employment opportunities on foreign markets, domestic labour competition will increase, leading to costs reduction by enterprises thanks to wage cuts and, hence, better competitiveness of some domestic products on foreign markets.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.