Alcohol As A Tool Of Authoritarianism In Belarus
According to the World Health Organisation Belarus holds the first place in worldwide alcohol consumption. Yet the authorities ignore this significant national problem; their recent policies may be making it even worse.
At the end of August, Minsk authorities lifted restriction on selling alcohol between 10 p.m. – 9 a.m. The restriction had come into force just two months earlier. But it had ordered all stores to have the favourite drink of Belarusian alcoholics, cheap strong wine, on their shelves. Therefore it undermined the restriction.
Despite a huge problem with alcoholism in Belarus, the authorities seem unwilling to implement anti-alcohol policies consistently. They use it both as a tool to calm social discontent and the government benefits from this tremendously profitable business through tax. No wonder that on the election days polling stations are well-stuffed with cheap alcohol.
The Russian side is grateful to Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko for his decision to go to Russia as the visit after the presidential election, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Russia to Belarus Alexander Surikov said in an interview with the STV channel, BelTA has learned.
“We are grateful for this decision,” the Ambassador said.