Myasnikovich’s economic revival program not to be fully implemented
At the Presidium of the Council of Ministers meeting, Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich identified Belarus’ key priorities for the economy in 2014: balanced economic growth and efficiency.
The Belarusian authorities aspire to stabilize the economy ahead of the 2015 presidential campaign through a series of unpopular measures. President Lukashenko does not want to be associated with such decisions and shifts the responsibility for their adoption and implementation to the government. However, the measures announced by Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich, aiming to improve the Belarus’ economy, cannot be implemented in full because they threaten the existing socio-economic model.
Nevertheless, persistence and consistency might help the government to achieve some success and somewhat improve the economic situation, which means softer social policies right before the 2015 presidential elections.
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.