Second issue of the BISS Trends (January-March 2010)

Second issue of the BISS Trends (January-March 2010)

Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies presents the second issue of the quarterly monitoring BISS Trends. The debut issue was largely a description of events, and only now we can begin to show patterns and indicate the trends of the political, social and economic development.

Thus, we faced in the first quarter of 2010 a full-scale rollback of a frail political liberalization that was observed in the country in the previous year and a half. It remains to be seen whether this is a usual pre-election cycle, or we deal with long-term repressive trend. However, it is already clear that the political de-liberalization does not prevent a gradual, albeit largely decorative, economic liberalization.

Two events occurred in the first quarter of 2010 that can be regarded as emblematic: firstly, that the approval of the privatization of the Minsk watch factory that may result in massive layoffs at the plant and might be the first instance of the departure from the traditional model of social contract. Secondly, the arrangement for the supply of Venezuelan oil to Belarus: in spite of the conspicuously politicized nature of this step, opening a corridor for the non-Russian oil in the region – will open up a more interesting and diverse geopolitical game.

Big things are always seen from a distance. Tracing the major trends in the economic and political life, BISS Trends will gradually transform from a set of estimates of recent events to the annals of the country’s development. We hope that this chronicle would be useful in your work and your own reflections on the present, as well as for the forecasts about the future of Belarus. As always, we invite representatives of the analytical community to become not only readers and critics, but also co-authors of the BISS Trends.

Read the full text of the monitoring in pdf