The regime is dismantling the institutions of civil society as it prepares for a constitutional referendum

Category status:
- (The situation has deteriorated)
12-18.07.2021
Image: pxhere.com

The security forces campaign to systematically suppress civil society, human rights organisations, independent analysts, trade unions, and the media intensifies. Discussion of the details of a possible constitutional reform re-surfaces in state propaganda ahead of a meeting between Lukashenka with Putin.

More coordinated searches of the offices and homes of human rights organisations and NGOs took place in Minsk and the regions last week, leading to more arrests and detentions. Meanwhile, verdicts were returned in the "students' case", with eleven people receiving two and a half year prison sentences.

The regime' actions continue to reduce the scope for socio-political organisations to operate legally as the Ministry of Justice has petitions the Supreme Court to suspend the activities of the "For Freedom" movement.

One of the most active remaining independent media websites, onliner.by, was subjected to a denial of service attack and the popular regional portal "Silnyye Novosti" from Homel became unavailable.

The circulated constitutional reform proposals create a two-term limit for the presidency, introduce a single polling day for parliamentary and local council elections (to commence in 2023), and formalise the All-Belarusian People's Assembly status. Other changes transfer some competencies from the head of state to the government and expand parliamentary powers at the expense of the presidency.

The public sector financial situation continues to deteriorate. Overdue receivables, excluding banking, for January-May increased by 3% to nearly BYN 8 billion. However, some indicators (net profit, profit before tax, losses from investment activities, and revenue from selling products, goods, works and services) inspire official optimism, and the number of unprofitable enterprises has decreased.

Foreign exchange reserves are also declining as the population continues to withdraw foreign currency deposits, indicating a decrease in incomes and a loss of confidence in the banking system due to the protracted political crisis.

According to official data, inflation is accelerating and currently stands at 9.9%, forcing the National Bank to intervene and raise the refinancing rate by 0.75% to 9.25% per annum.

In summary, the regime is attempting to eradicate dissent and criticism of the leadership from the public sphere, depriving public and political organisations of the means to operate within the law.

Previously in: The ruling elite

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