In H1 2014 Belarus’ industry lags behind H1 2013

April 22, 2016 18:54

According to the National Statistics Committee, industrial production growth in H1 2014 amounted to BYR 326,0 trillion, which is 1% less, compared with H1 2013. The negative trend was due to a drop in mechanical engineering and rubber industries’ production.

Only chemical and petrochemical industries have demonstrated some growth, which could also affect the overall industrial production in 2014. Engineering industry is still heavily subsidised by the government and food industry is highly dependent on a stable supply of raw materials. Most industrial enterprises stock their products in warehouses in order to fulfil the projected production indicators. In addition, reorganisation at the largest enterprises might result in qualified staff outflow and reduced number of employed workers. 

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
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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.