Belarusian Yearbook-2011: Isolation and Crisis

BISS and website of the Belarusian expert community «Nashe Mnenie» ("Our Opinion") has published the Belarusian Yearbook-2011.  The book was presented in Minsk’s “Ў” Gallery on June 26, 2012. The researchers and experts attending the event noted that each edition of Belarusian Yearbook (this year has seen its eighth version) is more than just a collection of analytics – it is a chronicle of the country’s contemporary history written by impartial unbiased researchers and analysts.

Meanwhile, the Belarusian Yearbook-2011 authors argue that the key trends of the year 2011 were:

    * The “narrowing of the state,” the trend originally outlined in 2010 that manifests itself in the concentration of decision-making authority in an increasingly narrow group of people that are not responsible for the implementation of their decisions;

    * Institutional transformation: a “second” government was formed out of security agencies amid the unwinding crisis of the state administration at the level of the “first” government, National Bank and the Presidential Administration;

    * Crisis of state policy as a whole, manifested in the inability of the ruling class to further pursue the program of reforms;

    * Credibility crisis in the broadest sense possible;

    * Intensive suppression of any form of protest and, on a broader scale, political activism, by the authorities;

    * Increasing political isolation of Belarus amid the growing dependence on Russia, the only economic and political creditor;

    * Financial crisis as painful deliverance from the accumulated macroeconomic imbalances;

    * Belarus, an active consumer of credit resources, finished the year having vague prospects for repaying previous loans and taking new ones.

The authors of Belarusian Yearbook-2011 presume that all of the trends observed in 2011 have continued into 2012. The 2011 crisis as the definite proof of the “Belarusian model” reaching its “breaking point” has caused the Belarusian authorities to make a choice between deep transformations of the socioeconomic model and vesting the responsibility for the state into external partners. By failing to make this choice, the Belarusian authorities were trying to go on with their policy in order to keep the state administration intact. As a result, the socioeconomic model had collapsed by mid-2012, while some important state functions were eventually transferred to the only foreign partner, the Russian Federation. The authors argue that the country has not yet reached the point of no return on its way to losing sovereignty, but the threat of losing it is extremely high.

The work on the Yearbook was assisted by independent analysts and experts, as well as professionals of numerous think tanks, e.g. the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies; the Institute of political studies Political Sphere; the IPM Research Center; the Humanitarian Technology Agency – the Center for Social Innovation; axiometrical research laboratory NOVAK; Independent Institute of Social, Economic and Political Research; Centre for Eastern Studies (Warsaw); analytical center Polissia Foundation for International and Regional Research (Chernihiv, Ukraine); and the eBelarus research center.

Download the  Russian/Belarusian or English verion of the Belarusian Yearbook-2011 in pdf format. The html version will soon be available on BISS site.