State support is unlikely to help Belarusian cement industry
According to the State Control Committee, in recent years the state has allocated over USD 1 billion for the modernization and state support for the cement industry, however its production volumes have not increased. All three cement plants in Belarus are loss making and have a significant amount of overdue debt for energy resources. However, the state is set to continue to support the cement industry, albeit the volume of financial support will be reduced. In addition, the state may introduce administrative barriers for imported cement, including from Russia. Despite all these measures, one of the three cement plants is likely to suspend its activity, which may lead to 1000 people losing their jobs in 2016. Amid decline in the housing construction, existing facilities cannot be used in full due to the lack of opportunities for cement export growth and budget cuts on infrastructure projects.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.