Belarusian president to raise retirement age regardless of public opinion
As of January 1st, 2017, retirement age will be raised in Belarus: for women to 58 years old and to 63 for men. The Belarusian authorities have decided to skip a broad public discussion of the retirement age issue as it was extremely unpopular initiative among the population. Despite statements by the Belarusian authorities that the majority of the population supported the increase, independent pollster IISEPS published poll results where only 20% of respondents supported the increase in the retirement age. The president was prompted to approve the unpopular increase in the retirement age before the parliamentary campaign. Pensioners are likely to reduce their support for the president due to lowered social protection for this age group.
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.