Belsat.eu editors have summed up the results of 2018. We have gathered the seven most significant events that are sometimes pleasant, and sometimes painful to remember.
BNR – this is not VLKSM (Young Communist League)
The brightest event, of course, was the celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Belarusian People’s Republic and a celebratory concert in the center of Minsk on March 25, which gathered tens of thousands of people under national symbols. Of course, it was accompanied by the police crackdown on those who were in the wrong place at the wrong time. The place was surrounded, and the drones that flew above it were stolen.
Also, the sign for the 100th anniversary of the BNR, which the authorities initially allowed, was later prohibited. But the scale of the event was so impressive that the officials had to urgently invent their BNR imitator, the role of which was performed by the old-school Komsomol.
Turning point for biathlon
2018 can be considered a turning point for the Belarusian biathlon. On June 25, the four-time Olympic champion, two-time world champion, silver and bronze medalist of the Olympic Games, the owner of the Grand Crystal Globe and five small ones, Hero of Belarus Darya Domracheva announced her retirement from sports.
Less than a month before her, another Belarusian biathlete, the Olympic gold and bronze medalist Nadzeya Skardzina, ended her career. At the winter competition in South Korea, they, along with Iryna Kryuko and Dinara Alimbekova, won gold in the relay, and already in the summer they completed their careers. Without them, Belarusian biathlon will face hard times.
Belarus became closer to the world
Also in 2018, Belarus became closer to other countries of the world. On July 24, Alyaksandr Lukashenka twice extended the visa-free regime introduced a year and a half before for citizens of 80 countries arriving via the National Airport and departing from it. At the beginning of December, about 180 thousand people took advantage of this opportunity. Also this year, the visa-free agreements between Belarus, China and Hong Kong entered into force. In addition, Belarusians no longer need to travel to other countries to get a visa to the United States.
The case of BelTA — or was it the case of TUT.by?
The “BelTA case” was the darkest event of 2018. A criminal case was opened in relation to the chief editor of TUT.by Maryna Zolatava (Part 2 of Art. 425 of the Criminal Code). This gives reason to believe that the “BelTA case”, as it was first called, is in fact the “TUT.by case” with the aim of “normalizing” the country’s largest independent portal — similar to the Russian Lenta.ru.
In our opinion, the city policeman case — more precisely, a case involving his sculpture in front of the MIA building in Minsk — became the most ludicrious event of the year. Soon after its opening in March 2017, the sculpture became a target for activists. But it was in November that the situation around the monument received the greatest media attention, when a video on MIA website showed a 16-year-old teenager asking the policeman’s monument forgiveness for hitting it in the face.
In response, Minsk dwellers began to apologize to all the monuments, to tie scarves around the monument’s neck, try to kiss him, and even laid a funeral wreath. It was the MIA press secretary Heorhi Yauchar, who was allegedly in charge of the project, he conveniently lost his position later. But it turned out that the idea belonged to Minister Anatol Shunevich.
Social parasites 2.0
About 500 thousand people were put into the “parasite” database, who again have to prove that they are not parasites. And all this is despite the fact that there are officially fewer than 15 thousand unemployed people in the country.
“People of working age who are not employed in the economy” will have to pay 100% of the tariffs for housing and communal services from the new year, they will have to pay for medical care and other benefits of the “crystal vessel”.
2018 is ending with the traditiona now oil and gas disputes between Minsk and Moscow. The reason is the tax maneuver in Russia, as a result of which Belarus around 2024 may begin to receive Russian oil at a price close to the world price. This, among other things, will impact the oil refining and oil export capabilities of Belarus. Official Minsk believes that such actions contradict the agreements on the EAEU, which lays the foundation for common oil market. Alyaksandr Lukashenka even stated that there is no sense in such a union.
Maneuvers are maneuvers, but for the time being the costs of the Belarusian refinery are compensated by the Belarusians themselves — by the rise in gasoline prices.