Belarusian state makes state property less attractive by prosecuting Motovelo managers

October 31, 2016 11:40

The Court summoned Motovelo Ltd as a civil party in the criminal case against Alexander Muraviev and other former top managers of the plant. The criminal prosecution of former Motovelo owner and head of the Austrian ATEC Holding GmbH Alexander Muraviev, who ranked 36th in the top 200 successful and influential businessmen in Belarus, creates a negative investment background. It was not the first time the Belarusian authorities renationalised formerly state-owned enterprises sold to private investors. The government’s attempts to preserve and modernise large and outdated enterprises inherited from the Soviet Union at investor’s costs were futile. That was mainly due to the privatisation conditions put forward to private investors, which copied relations of the state with state managers without taking into account market relations. Criminal prosecution against former owners of Motovelo and Elizovo glassworks reduces private investors’ interest in the state property privatisation on the state’s terms.

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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.