Belarusian president attempts to shuffle off responsibility for economic failures on public officials

April 22, 2016 19:45

Before April 15th, the Belarusian Government should submit the Draft Socio-Economic Development Programme for 2016-2020 and propose the date to hold the 5th All Belarusian People’s Assembly to the president. Previously, the Assembly was held before the presidential campaigns in order to mobilise state apparatus and public officials. However, due to the failure to implement the decisions of the 4th Assembly and the lack of the vision of socio-economic development in the government, the authorities have abandoned the idea of holding the 5th Assembly before the 2015 presidential elections. Meanwhile, the president has to justify the socio-economic policy for the next five years and present a bailout plan to the population before the parliamentary elections. The Assembly participants and the Government are likely to be prompted to assume responsibility for the failure of the previous five-year development plan in order to reduce pressure on president’s rating.


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Death penalty discussion in Belarus: yet not ready for either abolition or moratorium
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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.