22 January 2018, Monday, 7:40

Barys Zhaliba: Economy is Lukashenka’s number one enemy


Unless the situation in economy gets improved, the country’s government will be dismissed.

Such is the comment from an economist Barys Zhaliba that he gave to the charter97.org web-site on Lukashenka’s intention to dismiss a number of government officials.

- Lukashenka has threatened with new high-level layoffs in the government and at enterprises. Why now? With whom will he start?

- The public has long been asking these questions. Every time that he dismisses the government, he sets the final deadline. We see that the results in the economy show us that nothing changes, and even if it does, it does to the worse. Another meeting of the Security Council was quite strange. Again, the public wondered: is the Security Council dealing with the economy now? I would even make a joke, saying that the economy is actually Lukashenka’s number one enemy. Unless he tames the economy, the future is uncertain. So this is why he - in order to provide some kind of an answer, sensing these endless questions on the part of the society – promises again that the deadline has been set, while this now is the summer “dead season”. Unless the situation improves, he will definitely dismiss the government. But this is all just rhetoric. One should have long got used to this. It is not a fact that he will change the Prime Minister at all before elections. We will live to see.

- The Finance Minister Andrej Kharkoviec has been excluded from the expert council on state programs. Earlier he did not make it into the inter-department group for preparing the 2015 budget and the updated Security Council. Does this mean he has fallen out of favor? Why has he been left out of the media spotlight for half a year already?

- For what I know, he has health problems. He is now taking treatment in Germany. I think, that is the reason.

- Lukashenka named BelAZ, MTW, MAP. Does this mean that people will get fired in industry too?

- No, it does not. I do not think that the situation at these enterprises is worse, than at others.

- The phrase came out “stability in Belarus may fail only for economic reasons”. Does this mean that the “stability” will fail to the ground sooner, than it seems?

- The state of the economy is the first factor to endanger Lukashenka’s personal power. But it keeps its head above water, as we know, due to Russian preferences and loans. And we can see no progress: the GDP growth of 1% is, excuse me, can be noticed only by the official statistics committee. There has been no real progress for five year and none can be seen in near future.