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September 6 – September 12, 2021
The ruling elite

Tensions between public administration and the security forces rise as the search for extra-budgetary finances intensifies

The situation has not changed
Tensions between public administration and the security forces rise as the search for extra-budgetary finances intensifies

Coordination on a common agenda disintegrates between government departments and local administrations, leading to increased tension within public administration. The quest for additional revenues to shore up the public sector budget continues at the expense of the population.

The ideological backbone of the state media supports a split in society, attempting to consolidate the core Lukashenka loyalists by attacking opponents. However, in some cases, this complicates the work of the foreign ministry, such as the recent caricature equating Catholic priests and Nazis in a state newspaper, prompting Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei to intervene to preserve relations with the Vatican.

The Belarusian leadership remains committed to a repressive agenda and refusal of talks with civil society and opponents. Two leading members of Babaryka’s campaign in the 2020 elections, Maria Kalesnikova and Maxim Znak, were sentenced to 11 and 10 years imprisonment, respectively.

Security forces continue to persecute the protest movement, recently targeting demonstrating pensioners. Lists of “extremist” online resources continue to expand.

The systematic liquidation of registered NGOs, purges in civil society, and repression of public activity leads to spontaneous protests. An animal rights activist brought 50 dogs to a square outside the executive committee.

The government remains optimistic about the economic outlook due to increased gold and foreign exchange reserves attributable to special drawing rights from the IMF, exports and the population. However, the actual incomes of many social groups (pensioners, state employees) are declining.

Tax authorities are checking the finances of those listed in their “database of parasites“ to determine their means of support; however, increasing pressure on marginalised citizens may aggravate protests and socio-economic demands, especially in the face of declining incomes.

The state is trying to reduce social obligations to employees while preserving the overall size of the public sector despite the decline in budget resources. The Ministry of Construction proposes a decree on builders characterised by opponents as a restoration of “serfdom”.

The actions of security forces against civil society and the declining standard of public services provided will continue to provoke open protests.

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