Negative trends on retail market will be reinforced through saving behaviour of Belarusians

February 20, 2017 10:57

According to the National Bank, in January 2017 the population increased currency deposits in the banking system by USD 16.1 million up to USD 7.4467 billion. Growth in currency deposits was marked for the first time since October 2015; the population reduced net sales of foreign currency to a six-month minimum. Part of currency sales was due to people withdrawing their currency savings from the banking system. Households are likely to continue changing their expenditure patterns and gradually increase the proportion of savings. In order to stimulate consumer spending and increase turnover, retailers are likely to boost sales. Due to the expected decrease in the interest rates on deposits, dynamics on the deposit market is likely to remain neutral. Until people’s incomes start growing, they are likely to reduce the share of savings allocated for current consumption, which will lead to retail turnover falling at an increase rate.

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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.