The latest information from Belstat gives grounds for interesting conclusions.
The gross domestic product of Belarus in January-May 2019 increased by 1% compared with last year.
The volume of industrial production for this period increased by 0.3%.
The agricultural production decreased by 1.3%.
For the first four months, exports declined by 1.8%.
That is, the economy slows down its growth. Economists use the term “stagnation” to describe similar situations.
Against this background, wages are growing at a fantastic pace. Over the four months of this year, they grew, adjusted with inflation, by 8.4%. According to the official forecast, in 2019 the real money incomes of the Belarusians should grow by only 3.4%.
Thus, it turns out that wages grow more than 8 times (!) Faster than the economy grows. Obviously, this is done artificially, for political reasons. All demands that the growth of wages should not exceed the growth of labor productivity have been rejected. And all this is done by the government of Siarhei Rumas - the government, which the media called the most pro-market compared to its predecessors, rejoicing that there finally appeared young modern managers.
There’s a year before the presidential election. If the pace of artificial growth of wages is prolonged throughout this year, then you can imagine what we will get at the finish.
In fact, nothing new happens. The country returns to the normal cycle. Almost always, before the presidential elections, the authorities artificially raised wages, as a result of which inflation was strongly accelerated and devaluation began.
2010 was especially remarkable. From January to December of that year, the average salary in the country increased from 350 to 530 dollars, that is, by 51%. The result of the artificial inflating of this bubble was a large-scale financial crisis in 2011. Then the Belarusian ruble devalued almost three times, hyperinflation began, the average salary in currency terms fell by half, the currency disappeared from free sale, queues stood in exchange offices, people were buying salt and matches in stores.
The 2015 presidential “election” was the only time that the government did not artificially raise wages. After all, firstly, the lesson received in 2010-2011 was still very fresh. Secondly, this was not necessary, since Aliaksandr Lukashenka played in favor of “the Ukrainian syndrome”, which he used very effectively, frightening the people with war.
Now the fear of a repetition of the Ukrainian crisis in Belarus has passed, and Belarus’s trust in the authorities has greatly decreased. And the main reason for this trend is socio-economic problems. 10 years as salaries do not grow. Still it is not possible to steadily reach the already cult figure of an average salary of $ 500.
On the eve of the new election, there are no mobilizing ideas from the ruling team. The idea of stability against the background of social problems is no longer perceived by the electorate.
Therefore, the only point of Lukashenka’s election program to which the state-run media will appeal is wage growth. Against the background of economic stagnation, the refusal of Russia to compensate for losses from the tax maneuver, this policy looks like an adventure. The only achievement of the recent years may collapse: stability in the financial market, minimization of devaluation expectations, stabilization of the Belarusian ruble exchange rate, growth in gold and foreign exchange reserves.
However, Lukashenka seem not to care much about what will happen after the election. What is that a person cannot do for the sake of power. As the future king of France, Henry IV, said, “Paris is worth a mass”.
Valer Karbalevich, Radio Svaboda