Sentences to post-election protesters pronounced
On 5 May the October district court in Minsk found guilty four accused of participation in “mass disorder” on 19 December. All were sentenced to 3 to 4 years of imprisonment.
The court handed down tough sentences, as expected. All the accused were found guilty of the participation in “mass disorder” (under Part 2 of Article 294 of the Criminal Code), the charges envisage prison term from 3 to 8 years. Other accused, tried on the same charges earlier, also were sentenced to 3 to 4 years high security prison term. In all these cases, the sentences follow the pattern outlined earlier, i.e. those directly participated in the demonstration are punished the most severely, all of them are active young people of about 30 years old.
Among those recently sentenced to 4 years of prison was the Deputy Head of the Young Front A. Kirkevich, who was not detained during the demonstration on December 19, but much later, on 29 January. Earlier, on 24 March the leader of Malady Front Dashkevich, who was arrested on 18 December before the rally, was sentenced to 2 years of imprisonment under Part 3 of Article 339 of the Criminal Code (particularly malicious hooliganism). It is obvious that with their sentences courts aimed at neutralizing the leaders of the well-known and active youth organization.
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.