Belarusian authorities start milking large business
One of the most influential businessmen in Belarus from the president’s closest circle, Yuriy Chizh was detained by law enforcement officials last week on corruption charges. Amid dwindling budget revenues, the state is likely to stat milking large businesses, especially those whose well-being is based on the proximity to the president. Yuri Chizh is likely to be released after repaying a certain percentage of revenues gained with the ‘help’ of the authorities. The president is likely to continue with his populist policies as the ‘peoples’ president’ and close monitoring of businessmen and officials.
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.