Only petrochemicals and tobacco still make money
As of May 2014, 61 enterprises, subordinated to the state, will be required to list BYR 463 billion (EUR 34.0 million) to the National Development Fund. Payments should be made in equal instalments each month until the year-end. More than 80 % of the total amount to be transferred to the Fund will be due by the tobacco factory Neman and Belneftehim companies. This implies, that other economic sectors’ performance is rather poor and that they will not provide the anticipated level of budget revenues in 2014. As well, investment opportunities for these enterprises will be restricted. To patch budget deficit, the government might increase the number of inspections and other check-ups meant to replenish the state budget, and implement tougher sanctions for law violations.
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.