Belarusian authorities introduce expert group to compensate for president's self-elimination from domestic policy
The Presidential Administration has introduced an expert group for legal issues. Apparently, the Belarusian leadership has acknowledged the lowered quality of legislation, which led to higher tension in society and poor decisions by the authorities. The fact that such a group has been created under the auspices of the Presidential Administration indicates that the authorities have taken the problem seriously. That said, most unpopular decisions were made by the Presidential Administration, eg the decree on social dependants and the decree on raising the retirement age. Following public pressure and protests, the authorities were forced to revise some of their decisions. For instance, they have suspended the decree on social dependants, reintroduced pension benefits for some social groups and acknowledged that the decree on assistance to families with many children and young families was rescinded prematurely. The authorities are likely to continue to cut social protection and search for new funding sources, however, they would like to minimise risks of mass discontent, especially among loyal population.
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.