Belarusian government tries to appease citizens unhappy with housing privatisation
A presidential decree has been adopted that aims to address the most acute problems with residential housing privatisation, which should be completed by July 1st, 2016. As of January 1st, 2014, 360, 000 apartments still needed to be privatised in Belarus (8.8% of all apartments subject to privatisation). Throughout 2014, about 90% of the population have executed their right to privatisation. However, privatisation of apartments built in the Soviet era is still an issue which strongly resonates in Belarusian society and has a negative effect on the Belarusian authorities’ ratings. People who still live in non-privatised public apartments are those who are largely dependent on state support. With the decree, the government attempted to relieve the tension in this society group in view of the upcoming 2015 presidential elections.
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.