Political situation: prognosis for 2015
- The government will not dare to revise the existing socio-economic model in the year of presidential elections. Instead, it will continue to reduce social guarantees and introduce new mechanisms to recover resources from the population;
- The authorities will continue to limit socio-political activity, maintaining repression at a high level;
- The chances of the opposition nominating a “single opposition candidate” for the upcoming elections are lower than ever;
- Trade wars between Belarus and Russia will continue and, with the crisis developing in the Russian economy, the attractiveness and benefits of the Eurasian Economic Union for Belarus will seriously reduce;
- The Kremlin will increase information pressure on the Belarusian leadership;
- Official Minsk will continue the process of unconditionally regulating relations with western capitals.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.