Pay rises for Belarusian public sector employees due to layoffs
According to the Council of Ministers decision No 300 of April 12th, 2016, Belarusian public sector employees’ wages would increase if enterprises ‘optimize the structure and number of their employees’. In 2016, wages in public sector should have grown within the inflation level. In 2015, public sector was one of the largest vacancy generators. The number of vacancies in the public sector is expected to reduce and amid shortage of jobs, laid off workers would add to the number of unemployed. In the regions, where the proportion of public sector is significant, retail trade turnover may reduce. Amid budget deficit, layoffs are unlikely to lead to a significant increase in wages of public sector employees, so as the bulk of the saved funds from the ‘optimization of resources’ will be spent on funding state programmes.
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.