The government reassures the population as security forces repress dissidents
Against the backdrop of the war in Ukraine and Western sanctions, the authorities’ rhetoric aims to calm fears of food shortages and prevent a foreign currency bank deposit run. The security forces coerce the protest movement to accept the Lukashenka regime with detentions, fines, prosecutions, and jail terms.
The Ministry of Agriculture and Food declares the domestic market is fully supplied with meat, dairy, flour, and cereal products and that a sufficient supply of food exists in warehouses.
The Minister of Forestry is optimistic and announces that wood products will be redirected from European to Asian markets.
Despite the rouble depreciation, the National Bank has managed to maintain relative stability in currency and financial markets. However, gold and foreign exchange reserves have already begun to be committed to maintaining the rouble exchange rate, and despite the fact that there are no official limits on the withdrawal of currency deposits in Belarus, since the end of February, Belarusians have faced difficulties when trying to withdraw money from foreign currency accounts or close accounts in dollars or euros.
Security forces keep the price of political participation high and persecute activists. The KGB “terrorist” list includes 41 Belarusian citizens, including Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, Pavel Latushka, Raman Pratasevich, and Anton Motolko as well as those accused in the case of the anarcho-partisans and the Autukhovich case.
The number of political prisoners has reached 1,089.
On the other hand, on March 8th, several women convicted concerning protests had been pardoned.
The purge of civil society and remaining NGOs continues as the Minsk district court liquidates the public association “Radislava” which helped the victims of the domestic violence.
The authorities maintain their high level of repression in the face of possible economic turmoil and the growing discontent of the population due to the fall in living standards.
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Situation in Belarus