Sunday’s presidential election in Belarus seems unlikely to bring any surprises — despite an unstable economy and a wave of discontent over the government’s poor handing of the coronavirus pandemic. Longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko downplayed the virus, advising Belarusans to visit the sauna and drink vodka to avoid falling ill.
Here’s why Belarus’s president since 1994 will probably be elected for a sixth term — and what this tells us about the survival of autocratic regimes.
Lukashenko’s authoritarian regime faces internal pressure
One thing is different in 2020: For the first time in the history of independent Belarus, there are signs of citizens becoming politicized from below.… Seguir leyendo »
President Alexander Lukashenka is a covid-19 holdout. Despite nearly 5,000 confirmed cases and over 40 coronavirus deaths, Belarus remains the only country in Europe denying the coronavirus danger. The president has made his position clear — there is no sense in declaring total quarantine, and the fear of coronavirus is a “psychosis” that wise Belarusian people should ignore.
Minsk city authorities introduced some mandatory coronavirus measures on April 7. These measures apply only in the capital, and require everyone to regularly wash hands in churches and monasteries, disinfect public transportation and places of public gatherings, wear masks in beauty salons, place tables in food service facilities no closer than 1.5 meters, and stop visiting nursing homes.… Seguir leyendo »
The rise of virtual currencies is pushing governments around the world to come up with new rules. Some countries have banned bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies outright. Others, including Venezuela and Russia, reportedly are looking to create state-sponsored cryptocurrencies as a way to get around economic sanctions.
In December, authoritarian Belarus apparently became one of the world’s most favorable countries for cryptocurrencies, thanks to a decree legalizing cryptocurrency transactions. It’s an unusual modernization experiment in authoritarian Belarus, as the decree leaves these payment systems almost entirely outside the Belarus state regulatory system.
Here are three things to know about Belarus’s cryptocurrency law:
1) Belarus just moved to the front of the cryptocurrency pack
The decree by President Alexander Lukashenka makes Belarus, long weighted down by bureaucracy and state-dominated enterprises, one of the world’s leading countries in terms of cryptocurrency development.… Seguir leyendo »