Social housing with minimal support from Belarusian state

September 19, 2016 10:27
Image: икс.москва

In 2017, housing construction budget is envisaged at BYR 3.8 billion, of which BYR 3 billion would make people’s own funds and funds of organisations. The housing construction programme will reduce the construction volume to 3 million square metres in 2017 and soft loans on construction for big families will reduce to BYR 54 million, which should balance out the housing construction market. As a result, prices on the primary and secondary housing market should stabilise, the volume of currency savings spent on improving the housing conditions should increase; housing construction companies should reduce in number, so as the employment in the construction industry, simultaneously, the number of migrant workers from Belarus in the EU and Russia is likely to grow. State building organizations will have a priority in the allocation of construction sites and in subcontracting under state programmes, which means that private companies will be forced either to stop their activities or to look for contracts outside Belarus.

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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
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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.