Belarus of 2021 in figures

As the year 2022 is starting, we have put together a list of the most notorious figures of the year for Belarus: in politics, economy, sports etc.

GDP above planned

There are no final figures for 2021 yet available for economics. They will be published soon. But in January-November, the GDP grew by 2.3% compared to the same period in 2020. The government forecast was for the growth of 1.8%, but thanks to the global economic recovery, it was exceeded, although not significantly. For 2022, the official plan for GDP is 2.9%, or a quarter higher than it is now.

The Lidskaye Beer brewery in Lida, Belarus. September 24, 2021. Photo: PB / Belsat

Inflation, too

As for inflation, the forecast has not come true at all. If the forecast for 2021 provided for an increase in consumer prices of no more than 5%, it turned out to be twice as much — 10.3% in November 2021 against November 2020. Such inflation has not been seen for five years. Next year the price increase is planned to be less — only 6%. But even this plan of the authorities may not come true.

Sample photo. Meat prices at the Kamarouka market. Minsk, Belarus. February 24, 2021. Photo: TK / Belsat.

US dollar grew stronger

The government has set a dollar rate of 2.5678 BYN for 2021. As it turned out, by the end of the year it was 2.5249. Since the beginning of the year, the Belarusian ruble appreciated against the dollar by 2.09%. However, according to the medium-term financial program of the national budget for 2019-2021, it was planned to be only 2.3861 BYN.

Almost a thousand political prisoners

As of December 22, human rights activists recognized 967 people as political prisoners in Belarus, although the number of those, still behind bars for political reasons and motives, is several times more. A year ago, there were 167 political prisoners in Belarus. Their number has increased by 800, or 5.8 times for the year.

Journalists behind bars

There are many journalists among those held in captivity. At the end of 2021, according to BAJ estimates, 32 employees of the Belarusian media were in prison. Four of our colleagues — Katsyaryna Andreyeva, Darya Chultsova, Uladzimir Matskevich and Iryna Slaunikava — are also in custody.

Anarchists Ihar Alinevich, Syrhei Ramanau, Dzmitry Razanovich and Dzmitry Dubouski during the trial. Photo: viasna96 / Telegram

The longest sentences

The anarchists Ihar Alinevich and Syarhei Ramanau received the longest sentences at the end of the year. They were sentenced to 20 years in prison each. Their comrade-in-arms Dzmitry Razanovich got 19 years. Three other opponents of the authorities were sentenced to 18 years each: Syarhei Tsikhanouski, ex-presidential candidate and husband of the leader of democratic forces, captain of the General Staff Dzyanis Urad, and anarchist Dzmitry Dubouski. They received 113 years for six of them.

Dead protesters

Several other opponents of the regime simply did not survive the year. The programmer Andrei Zeltsar was shot dead in his apartment in Minsk. Activist Vitold Ashurak died in the Shklou colony. The 18-year-old Dzmitry Stakhouski took his own life after the pressure of investigators. The bus driver Pavel Sibiliou and bodybuilding coach Anton Kachanau died from wounds in 2020. At least two other people, including Alena Amelina from Minsk, died after contracting the coronavirus in jail. And volunteer Kira Bayaranka lost her child in the detention center.

Not only Belarusians

Another 21 people from other countries became victims of the Belarusian authorities, who had promised them easy access to the European Union, while they wanted to blackmail the EU. This is the number of deaths on the border between Belarus and Poland, as quoted by international organizations.

Over 25K days of arrest

In 2021, Belarusians faced not only criminal but also administrative persecution. According to the calculations of the Human Rights Center “Viasna,” 1,509 people were arrested in 2021 for 25,536 days – a total of almost 70 years. And 679 people were fined 36,412 base units. Some people were fined or arrested multiple times.

Corridors in the detention center on Valadarski street in Minsk. December 2021. Photo: Belsat.

NGO purge

In the summer, a mass campaign of mopping-up and liquidation of various NGOs started. By the end of the year, human rights activists counted 275 liquidated NGOs, initiatives, and institutions. This is substantially more than even Lukashenka announced — 185.

Extremists on every corner

During the year, the national list of extremist materials, kept since 2008, increased 2.7-fold: from 71 to 191 pages. The increase was largely achieved at the cost of the total recognition of the independent media outlets in opposition to the government, social networking pages, chat rooms and telegram channels as extremist formations. Belsat media was also affected. In the end, the Belarusian authorities even called it an “extremist formation”.

Vicious circle

For those who were denied or refused registration, the authorities reintroduced criminal liability for operating on behalf of liquidated or unregistered organizations. The Article 193-1 of the Criminal Code was eliminated at the end of 2018, and now it is returning again.

Belarusian blogger and political prisoner Syarhei Tsikhanouski turned 42 on August 18. He spent that day not with his family, but in a cell in Minsk jail #1. Dozens of people came under the prison walls to support him. August 18, 2020. Minsk, Belarus. Photo: AV / Vot Tak TV / Belsat

Sanction packages

To counter the Lukashenka regime’s pressure on its own people, Western countries continued to impose more and more sanctions. They became the toughest after the forced landing of the plane with Raman Pratasevich in Minsk and the aggravation of the migration crisis. Twenty-seven countries of the European Union (they adopted five such measures in total) and the U.S. each introduced two packages. Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Serbia, Ukraine, Switzerland, Norway, Iceland, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Liechtenstein, and others also joined the sanctions against Minsk to some extent.

Almost 9,000 denunciations

In 2021, cyber partisans said they had hacked into all kinds of databases of law enforcement agencies in Belarus and beyond. Among other things, they published a database of denunciations – information about those who complained about the protesters in the first months of the Belarusian revolution. They have already published about 9,000 denunciations from all over the country. Many of them were written by the same people. For example, the most active snitch was Larisa Klimasheuskaya from Minsk, who alone made fifty calls.

Anti-record in sports

In 2021, Japan hosted the Summer Olympic Games, postponed from 2020 because of the coronavirus. The Belarusian delegation, which did not include a number of opposition athletes, showed the worst result in history. The Belarusian team won only 7 medals, renewing the anti-record of 2016. All in all, the Belarusian team ranked 45th in the team standings. Against this background, the most high-profile event of the tournament for Belarus was the attempted expulsion of the insufficiently loyal runner Krystsina Tsimanouskaya by Belarusian officials.

Krystsina Tsimanouskaya at a press conference in Warsaw, August 5, 2021.

Football “achievements”

Belarusian players also set their own anti-records. Of the 11 matches in 2021, they lost eight games — all in a row. This was the worst result for the team for the past 23 years. The Belarusians were defeated in as many games in a row only in 1997. At the same time, the Belarusian players managed to lose with the most devastating score in their history: on March 30, the team of Belgium scored eight goals against Belarus, which remained unanswered.

Defective NPP

The Belarusian nuclear power plant, launched in November 2020, was shut down at least eight times for technical reasons during its operation in 2021. It stood idle for about 40% of its total working time, costing Belarus $348.7 million. At the same time, at the beginning of July 2021, BelNPP Unit 1 had 14,330 inconsistencies and 144 defects.

And on this background, the authorities are going to build a new nuclear power plant.

We wish all our readers a Happy New Year and hope that it will be a much better one for the Belarusian people and the Belarusian state!