Belarus may restrict imports of goods with Russian conformity certificates
As of February 2017, the Russian Federal Customs Service stopped accepting conformity certificates issued by Custom Union member states other than Russia at the Russian customs border. Such approach violates the principles of the EEU Treaty and its main goal is to ensure that the certification of all products coming to Russia is carried out only by Russian certification bodies and generates additional income for them. Due the new rules, Belarusian cargo transport companies are likely to reduce the volume of transit cargo shipments. There may be difficulties with certification of imported products supplied with Russian certificates. The terms for products certification may increase and there may be more cases when products with Russian certificates could be denied registration in Belarus. If the issue is not resolved in the near future, Belarus could introduce similar measures in response, which would lead to problems with supply of some goods and enhanced control over imports from Russia. In addition, Belarus could introduce administrative measures to perplex access of Russian products to the Belarusian market.
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.