Another crisis in Belarus creeps not exactly unexpected, but at once from all sides. The piquancy of the situation is that the problem starts right before the nervous time of the presidential election and this could have unpredictable and dangerous consequences.
The standard of living of Belarusians was pushing the oil crisis in relations with Russia as the economy began to fall in the first months of the year, and no return to the past reality is not visible. Related industry oil industry has felt or will feel this impact. Accelerated growth of prices for gasoline. The budget will face new spending cuts.
Now came the fluctuations in the world markets due to coronavirus and a price war by Saudi Arabia against Russia. The collapse in oil prices, as usual, causes a drop in the exchange rate of the Belarusian ruble, which causes panic and more spins this fall.
Against this background, the Belarusian authorities decided to shoot itself in the foot and changed the procedure for calculating salaries. This has already led to mass discontent, which was recognized even by Lukashenko.
No one now knows how the situation will develop further from the point of view of the economic situation. Maybe we will be able to intercept somewhere cheap oil that will slow down the growth of gasoline prices. Maybe Russia will be compliant against this background. Maybe the markets will bounce back as quickly as it collapsed. Further, the recession is not predetermined, but he can continue to new depths.
Bad luck for the Belarusian authorities that this is happening right in front of the main political stress test of the system — the presidential election.
The intrigue is who will win, no more. State employees in the election commissions is unlikely to have time to get to that phase of despair, to draw a logical connection between how they vote and what they pay.
The risks here other properties. Social discontent in the country in recent times spilled over into mass protests in 2017 because of the decree of parasitism. The authorities suppressed them with a mixture of carrots and sticks — froze the decree and began to disperse the protests with the planting of their leaders.
Now, almost all triggers simmering social discontent is external. The President can not decree to restore relations with Russia in pre-crisis times or decree to stop the panic on the currency and oil market.
This means that if and when the new protests will occur before the election, the power will be much stronger to rely on the whip than the carrot. Cakes in store just left.
Add to this the strengthening the hawks in government and in opposition. On the one hand, in December the presidential administration was headed by the native of KGB Igor Syarheenka, who in his former post just oversaw the work with the opposition.
That is, the internal politics of the country now administers the man who wrestled professionally with the “fifth column” in recent years. Not to say his predecessor Natalia Kochanova a liberal. But the content of the memos on the table Lukashenko clearly has not become a vegetarian from this reshuffle.
Plus the President for a few months every second speech prepares its state apparatus to ensure that the external enemies will destabilize the country and therefore should all get together and strain. The cultivation of threat, mobilization on the force scenario, which like Chekhov’s gun on the stage waiting for his moment to shoot.
On the other hand, we see that the largest coalition in opposition, apparently, will nominate Pavel Seviarynets single candidate. Seviarynets — street politician who openly announces that in response to his refusal to register or the first repression, he will call for a boycott of the elections and mass protests. However, the protests he promises anyway.
In unison with Sevyarynets will be Mikalai Statkevich, who once said that the goal for this campaign for him and colleagues — only street protests, without ryushechek and games in the registration of their candidates.
Power, of course, can register someone softly “Tell the truth” and suddenly hear Statkevich and Sevyarynets swear on the porch, to isolate them during the election campaign.
But it doesn’t change the fact that the protest tactics and her supporters today, the trend among opponents of the authorities. Seviarynets and Statkevich with a wide margin win all the online polls in the opposition groups in social networks. The social crisis in the country, a growing dissatisfaction with poverty and rising prices — is wind in their sails.
We have a pretty explosive cocktail of crisis in the country, the crisis around the country, lack of money and hopelessness among the people, especially in the regions, and an increasingly nervous government. Even I wonder what the reincarnation of the slogan “For stability and prosperity” in such a situation decides to choose the headquarters of Alexander Lukashenko to campaign for his reelection this summer.
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