The ruling group attempts to restore 2010 state of affairs
On July 11th, a presentation of the 2012 Belarusian Yearbook was held in Minsk.
A comprehensive independent analysis of political and economic developments in Belarus in 2012 shows that the authorities are trying to use public administration tools from before the 2011 financial crisis. This increases the chance of a new crisis.
The latest edition of the Belarusian Yearbook 2012 contains articles written by 32 experts about recent developments in the state, society, economy, foreign policy and culture. The authors have outlined the following most significant trends.
In public administration, the “narrowing of the state” process is observed: the most important management functions are carried out by an ever-narrower range of bodies and individual officials. The Presidential Administration is clearly gaining influence and is taking over the government’s functions, in particular, of the Foreign Ministry and the Parliament. State policy is losing its consistency, and the system is functioning more poorly.
Recent parliamentary elections demonstrated that the Belarusian opposition is unable to adequately coordinate their actions and to provide substantial resistance to the authorities and to affect the course and outcomes of the election campaign. The election process is totally controlled by the ruling group which reduces chances for the 2015 presidential election to change the current political system.
The social sphere also suffers from the ‘narrowing of the state’. The state’s social responsibility vis-à-vis citizens is narrowing, manifested in the commercialization of medical care and education, and in reduced social benefits.
Against this background, paradoxically (but quite typical for Belarusian citizens) the population has adjusted to sharply deteriorated living standards since 2011. Belarusians’ willingness to protest against government policies is still low, but Lukashenko’s rating stagnated at circa 30%.
Economic policy returned to the 2010 inflationary growth model. However, in 2011 this model triggered the financial crisis which had a dramatic impact on the population’s living standards, and also reduced the manageability of the state apparatus. Therefore, the likelihood of the 2011 crisis’ repetition has increased.
The Belarusian Yearbook is a long-term joint project of the Belarusian and international expert community. The Yearbook is an annual publication which offers comprehensive analysis of the situation in major segments of the Belarusian state and society.
The Labour and the Tax Ministries are considering the possibility to include persons engaged in some economic activity without forming a legal entity in the social security system. When the decree No 337 comes into effect, the number of private entrepreneurs is likely to reduce due to the possibility of reducing the tax burden when switching to a tax payment as an individual. 95% of self-employed, including PE, pay insurance premiums on the basis of the minimum wage. The number of self-employed citizens is expected to increase, the number of insurance contributions to the pension system from PE will decrease, the number of citizens who will pay a fee to finance government spending will decrease by several tens. Self-employed citizens have the alternative not to pay social security fees and save resources for future pensions, which, given the gradual restriction by the state of pension requirements could be a more long-sighted option.