In H1 2015 oil supplies to Belarus will not reduce
In January – February 2015, Belarus supplied 140 thousand tons of petrol to the Russian market with annual supply volume agreed at 1.8 million tons. In March, Belarus stopped petrol supplies.
According to the agreements with Russia, if Belarus fails to supply petrol according to the plan, Russia may reduce oil supplies in the amount of 5 tons per ton of undersupplied oil products. However, due to changes in the refinery economy, Russia will not apply restrictive measures to Belarus. In 2015, Belarus, therefore, might maintain petroleum products production volumes at the level of 2014. Nevertheless, financial health of the Belarusian refineries might deteriorate. Firstly, due to falling oil prices, and secondly, due to the increased demand of the government to transfer refineries’ funds to the budget. On the domestic market, the cost of fuel is no longer tied to the US dollar, but fuel prices will not be reduced due to the need to supplement the budget in 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.