Individuals will be allowed to trade foreign currency directly on stock exchange
The BCSE Chairman of the Board announced, that by late H1 2017, legal entities and private persons would have the opportunity to trade on the BCSE directly, without the mediation of the banks. Currently, only legal entities are allowed to buy currency at the stock exchange and are obliged to pay bank commission for placing orders and purchasing currency. Meanwhile, individuals are responsible for about 30% of daily turnover on the currency market. The new rule would allow legal persons and individuals to save costs when buying foreign currency, profitability of the banking system is likely to reduce due to the reduced currency turnover, the legal cash flow of foreign currency is likely to reduce, and exchange offices of banks in major cities are likely to reduce in number. Shadow currency market in Belarus is likely to continue its existence due to the reluctance of individuals to disclose the size of their savings to the authorities.
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.