National Bank suggest that companies seek cheap loans outside banking system

September 19, 2016 10:27

As of September 1st, 2016 Belarus established an Encumbered Assets Registry, and started the transition to International Financial Reporting Standards, which should increase the transparency at enterprises vis-à-vis foreign creditors, and should bring other financial resources outside the banking sector. The expected discount rate in 2017 is projected at 15%-17% (against current 18%), which would not make loans substantially cheaper for enterprises. Enterprises may boost activity on the domestic market by selling assets and bonds to private persons. The Belarusian authorities are likely to lift the ban on asset sales for some loss-making enterprises and some assets may be put up on the international market. Enterprises, which will be unable to raise additional funds or to restructure current debt, will be subjected to compulsory rehabilitation procedure by Belarusian banks.

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
September 18, 2017 10:43
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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.