Belarus’ authorities prompted to reduce social support
Housing and Utilities Minister Shorets announced the start of serious reforms in the housing sector.
This attempt is not the first one for the Belarusian authorities in reforming housing and utilities services – however,previous reforms were unsuccessful. Interestingly, the government has announced reforms in the housing and utilities sector simultaneously with the IMF negotiations over a new loan for the structural reforms in the Belarusian economy. Eventually, the Belarusian authorities will be prompted to change their housing and utility policy due to budgetary cuts on social policy and plans to stop subsidising the population in paying the utility bills.
Following crackdown and arrests of participants in the spring protests, the authorities resumed arrests as punishment for participating in street protests in addition to fines, which for some time were the only punishment for political activity. On September 22nd, 2017, the riot police detained the Belarusian National Congress leader Nikolai Statkevich, the opposition politician was placed in detention centre on Akrestin street. On the same day, after serving seven days of arrest, another BNC leader, Vladimir Neklyaev, was released. He was sentenced for organising a street protest on September 8th against the West-2017 exercises. Other participants in the protest have been fined too. The authorities are likely to continue to use fines and arrests against political activists to punish for their protest activity.