28 June 2017, Wednesday, 11:48

Stanislau Shushkevich: Lukashenka is to boost "inflation tax" on the Belarusians

Stanislau Shushkevich

The economic crisis in Belarus will not stir the government into reforms, but repressions will be heightened.

The first leader of an independent Belarus Stanislau Shushkevich shared his view with charter97.org on current economic and geopolitical conditions.

- This time, unlike the last campaign, the Belarusian government gives up on social rhetoric: there are no promises of $1000 salary and something like that. How will you comment on it?

- The Belarusian ruble rate is enough to understand what is going on. It means that Lukashenka has no money. It seems like Russia has no funds to support him: it has other problems.

Lukashenka will be boosting "inflation tax" - the endless "tax" that the Belarusians are subject to pay. There is no hope for reforms. Large enterprises are loss-making and work half time.

It does not mean that the crisis will stir the government into reforms. Pressure on society will only increase, and state propaganda will try to "explain" that the crisis occurs for other reasons, and not because of the fault of the authorities.

-And how can you explain the "before-elections" agreement on "peaceful military" Russian base in Belarus?

- It is not a bit of news for me. Russian soldiers here do what they want. In fact, the CSTO gives go-ahead to them: do what you want. Now Lukashenka makes no broad statements on the issue, but it "defends" Russian borders from NATO.

Russia does what it wants in Belarus. In fact, Russia owns all Belarusian positions. Once the Russian ambassador said "Russia gets what it needs here".