12th issue of the BISS Trends (October – December 2012)

The BISS presents the 12th issue of the BISS-Trends quarterly monitoring of main trends in political, economic, legal, geopolitical and cultural spheres. From now on, semiannual BISS-Trends together with monthly BISS-Timeline issues will replace the BISS-Trends quaterly format.

In the fourth quarter of 2012, the experts noted the continuing stagnation or regression as regards virtually all the trends considered. Social and political life was only slightly enlivened by the parliamentary elections, and stagnation continues here. Despite the fact that the ruling elite did not give a green light to the transformation of the public association “Belaya Rus” into a political party,

the potential of such trasnformation remains. Besides, the amendments to the Electoral Code are being developed in order to neutralize a certain dependence of the political system on the tactical actions of the opposition groups.

The economic sphere, during the period under review, was characterized by the absolute regress. The key deliberalization events, in terms of both the economy and good governance, were the non-legal renationalization of the confectioneries and the narrowly defined industrial modernization, coupled with the enslaving decree on employment in the woodworking industry. The massive modernization, vaguely resembling the Stalinist industrialization, without the introduction of economic incentives and with the preservation of the existing system management and decision-making principles, is likely to result in even more inefficient spending.

The geopolitical situation remained intact, there was no progress in the relations with the West, while a threatening hift in the foreign policy in favour of Russia dominated. Minsk did not take any steps to improve the human rights situation and to release the remaining political prisoners, which is conditional for the normalization of the relations with the EU and the U.S. The relations with Russia somewhat deteriorated due to the negotiations about the 2013 oil supply. However, these tensions did not erupt into an open public conflict, and the integration processes were not interrupted.

In the last quarter of 2012, the deliberalization of the country’s cultural life continued, including its politicization and ideologization, along with the polarization of the cultural processes. So called “soft Belarusization” has almost completely stopped. We believe that the government will do everything possible to preserve the activities representing the official cultural discourse. Meanwhile the projects, primarily related to the revival of the national consciousness, the promotion of the Belarusian language and the national cultural values, will be find government support.

Read the full version of the monitoring in PDF