Presidential Administration goes into public
Having insured future financial stability of the country with favorable agreements with Russia, the leadership of Belarus strives to regain the loyalty of the population decreased during the currency crisis. At the same time the Presidential Administration rushes to strengthen its influence on the domestic policy against the Government.
Between 28 November and 2 December the Presidential Administration and the State Control Committee in conjunction with the Prosecutor General Office and the Security Council monitored the work of state bodies with citizens’ appeals.
A number of favorable loans and commercial agreements signed by the Belarusian authorities (about the gas price and transit, the sale of shares of “Beltransgaz”, loan for the construction of a nuclear power plant) provide the country’s leadership with a leverage to rule out the “hard lending” of the economy scenario and seize the deterioration of the living standards of Belarusians, associated with high inflation.
While visiting enterprises and labor collectives, senior management officials solve two problems at once: firstly, they send positive messages through the entire vertical of power about the end of the acute phase of the economic crisis; secondly, they strive to regain the loyalty of the population, which has declined during the currency crisis period. September sociological poll shows that loyalty to the authorities (President, Government, Parliament, law enforcement agencies) showed only 30% of the respondents. Recent activities of the authorities suggest that by the year-end the level of trust to the authorities will increase.
In 2011 this role of the Presidential Administration has been significantly weakened against the background of the increased influence of the Government: the latter stands for implementation of the strict monetary policy and for the economic development in compliance with the requirements of international organizations (the IMF and the ACF of the EurAsEC).
Along with the global challenge of gaining back the confidence of the population, the Administration responds to the local and, in fact, more urgent challenge of restoring its influence as the main domestic policy maker. In 2011 this role of the Presidential Administration has been significantly weakened against the background of the increased influence of the Government: the latter stands for implementation of the strict monetary policy and for the economic development in compliance with the requirements of international organizations (the IMF and the ACF of the EurAsEC).
Financial support and loans received by Belarus from Russia allowed the Administration to remove the issue of meeting the IMF requirements in the near future from the agenda and continue with its usual economic policies, i.e. funding of the economy via emission. The recent monitoring campaign headed by the Presidential Administration, gave the Presidential Administration and its head Vladimir Makey in particular, the opportunity to secure tactical victory over the government (representatives of the Council of Ministers were not part of the monitoring team) and to boost the popularity of President Lukashenko, who desperately needed to improve his internal political influence (in September, 61% of Belarusians blamed him for the economic crisis).
The country's leadership has instructed the local authorities to raise minimum wages at enterprises by the end of 2019 to BYN 1,000, which would lead to an increase in the average wage in the economy as a whole to BYN 1 500. The pace of wage growth in 2017 is insufficient to ensure payroll at BYN 1000 by late 2017 without manipulating statistical indicators. In order to fulfil the president’s order, the government would have to increase budgetary expenditures on wages in healthcare and education, enterprises – to carry out further layoffs and expand the practice of taking loans to pay wages and restrict investment in modernisation of fixed assets. In 2010, the artificial increase in wages led to a threefold devaluation in 2011, an increase in the average salary to BYN 1500 will not match the capabilities of the economy and would lead to yet another devaluation.