Sentences to Nyaklyaeu and Rymasheusky
On 20 May two former Presidential candidates Nyaklyaeu and Rymasheusky were sentenced along with other members of their campaigns. Nyaklyaeu was sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment suspended for 2 years and 5 other defendants were given conditional sentences ranging from 1 to 2 years.
With these sentences the Belarusian authorities have actually declined earlier charges of “mass disorder” against U. Nyaklyaeu and his colleagues announced immediately after 19 December. Lenient sentences for the "Nyaklyaeu group" could be regarded as a sign of willingness to cooperate. The movement "Tell the Truth!" was initially presented by the Belarusian propaganda as the main revolutionary force, led by Polish and German think tanks.
Obviously, the EU, USA and Russia, who previously strongly negatively reacted to the harsh sentence to the ex-candidate A. Sannikov on 14 May, could not make positive assessment of such move. In anticipation of the EU sanctions following a meeting of the Council of Ministers of the EU on 23 May Belarus postponed the announcement of the verdict in a trial against the ex-candidates N. Statkevich and D. Uss scheduled for 20 May, allegedly in connection with the illness of a judge. Both were charged under Part 1 of Article 293 (organization of mass disorder), envisaging imprisonment for up to 15 years. It can be safely assumed that the sentences will depend on the decision of the EU Council.
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.