Minsk said to be disappointed with Eurasian integration

April 22, 2016 19:11

Head of the Council of the Republic Mikhail Myasnikovich said that the integration process within the Eurasian Economic Union was slow, and that by introducing the single currency the states with large economies would completely subordinate other EEU members, including Belarus, which would lose her sovereignty. Official Minsk voiced disappointment with the Eurasian integration process, which had not stimulated the Belarusian economy and had not resolved economic imbalances – first of all, had not helped to unload the overstocked warehouses at Belarusian enterprises or prevented from suspension of production. The Belarusian authorities do not want to lose monetary sovereignty and would not introduce the single currency on the Kremlin’s terms in the immediate or distant future. However, the Belarusian authorities may agree to coordinate monetary policy with Moscow in exchange for the lifting of restrictions on Belarusian goods to access the Russian market. 

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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.