National Bank will increase Belarusian rouble dependence on situation in Russia

October 31, 2016 11:26

As of November 1st, 2016, the National Bank changes the share of currencies in the currency basked in Belarus by increasing the share of the Russian rouble from 40% to 50% and reducing the share of the Euro from 30% to 20%. The share of the US Dollar will remain at 30%. The change is due to the results of trading on the Belarusian Stock Exchange in 2016, so as Russia's share in foreign trade turnover in Belarus exceeded 50%. The Belarusian rouble is likely to increase dependence on the Russian rouble fluctuations. If oil prices change significantly, the National Bank will accelerate the pace of the Belarusian rouble exchange rate fluctuations. In the short-term, Belarus’ dependence on the Russian market is unlikely to reduce and Belarus may further adjust share of currencies in the currency basket.

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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.