Services sector may step up influence on economic indicators in Belarus

May 31, 2016 12:14

In Belarus, in April 2016, nominal monthly salary reduced by BYR 85000 to BYR 7.086 million, despite the increase in wages in industry, agriculture and construction. In March 2016, the banking and IT sector paid bonuses based on performance in 2015. In April, therefore, salaries have been adjusted downwards in these sectors. The IT sector is the leader in wages in Belarus. In the future, the services sector is likely to increase its influence on the overall economic performance and its share in total GDP will grow. The IT sphere is likely to remain the leader in wages and the number of vacancies. With the reduction in exports of some goods, services may grow by up to 10% in 2016 relative to 2015 (information services, passenger transport). Visa facilitation and improving the quality of services may prompt tourism to become one of the economic drivers in Belarus.

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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.