State is ready to cut social spending in election year
The Belarusian authorities propose to save BYR 300 billion by making day nurseries for toddlers up to 3 years old and kindergarten groups for children who are over 6 years old paid services. In the year of presidential elections the state is unable to guarantee the same social benefits for the population and continues revising the social contract in the face of languishing budget. The Belarusian authorities prefer budget cuts in the most vulnerable spheres - education and healthcare - to structural economic reforms. Meanwhile, government officials do not stop talking about ’socially oriented’ state.
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.