Reforms or deepening crisis? Lukashenka between rock and hard place

“We are in a precarious situation. I hesitate to say what might happen if we fail to make at least a half step forward,” Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka says.

The head of state wants economic upswing; but in Q1, GDP growth amounted to only 0.3%.

“We expect the trend will be long-term,” Belarusian Prime Minister Andrey Kabyakou hopes.

Independent experts disagree

“This is a miserable shift within a measuring error,” Belarusian economist Mikhail Zaleski believes.

Moreover, it is far from a ‘steady’ or ‘upward’ trend as the country’s economic performance is weak:

“The basic trends are order, employment in industry and investment. These three indicators are declining,”Zaleski explains.

Wages rising?

Against this background, even the modest wage growth (1%) inspires optimism in top officials.

“In March, the average salary exceeded 770 Belarusian rubles. If you remember, at the beginning of the year it was 720, ” Mr Kabyakou reported cheerfully.

New loans as recipe for success

Well,  what should the authorities do to provide the promised $500 month salary if the GDP leaves much to be desired? The Belarusian government does have a tested formula – taking another loan. The cheapest one may be provided by the International Monetary Fund. However, in order to obtain it, one should carry out reforms, including privatization of loss-making enterprises.

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