Population increasingly distrusts banking system
During December 2014, Belarusian citizens cut their ruble savings within the national banking system by BYR 6.1 trillion or by 13.4%.
Siphoned-off funds went to the foreign currency market and did not return to banks in the form of the growth of foreign-currency deposits. Taking into consideration the rising rate of the Belarusian ruble in relation to the currency basket, one can expect a further fall in ruble bank deposits, while the lowering of interest rates may be stopped and borrowing costs for enterprises will continue to be prohibitive. The outflow of foreign currency deposits may lead to a ban on early terminations of foreign currency deposit contracts and a worsening situation on the currency exchange market.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.