Rouble wages in Belarus to go up in December 2016
According to the National Statistics Committee, the average salary in Belarus in October 2016 totalled 722.9 BYN or BYN 10 less than in September 2016. Nominal wages eroded for the second month in a row mainly due to the negative trends in industry and construction and the end of the harvesting season in agriculture. Due to the absence of foreseeable improvements in the economy, wages are likely to continue to fall. In the public sector, wage growth is restricted by further budgetary cuts. Negative trends on the consumer market are likely to build up and profitability of the retail trade is likely to fall, along with layoffs in retail chains. Rouble wages are only likely to grow in December 2016 due to the year-end bonus payments. However, further on, average wage in Belarus is likely to remain at USD 350-USD 400.
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.