Belarusian government to raise additional funds from large businesses
Last week, Members of the upper chamber of the Belarusian parliament voted to strip of immunity Senator and influential businessman Andrei Pavlovsky from Grodno region. Over the past year and a half, this is the third case when a member of the Council of the Republic, who was a successful entrepreneur was stripped of immunity and faced criminal charges. The Belarusian authorities are likely to use such a fundraising tactics when they target a particular successful businessman, for instance Pavlovsky, and let him out of the jail after he pays an acceptable compensation to the state. Moreover, amid dwindling public resources, regional influence nomenclature groups may engage in a fight for resources, markets and assets, which would be mostly invisible to the broad population. As a result, some of them may face criminal charges. It should also be noted that Pavlovsky, being a major supplier of feed for agriculture, was a member of the influential agribusiness lobby, and his arrest could indicate a loss of influence by the group.
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.