Updated at 18:53,10-09-2021

Belarusian economy falls because of lack of reform

Alyaksey ALYAKSANDRAW, Naviny.by

The Belarusian economy falls because of the lack of reform, Kiryl Rudy, a former presidential aide for economic affairs who currently serves as Belarus’ ambassador to China, said Thursday in Minsk, speaking at an international economic forum, KEF 2016.

“At last year’s forum, it was predicted that reforms would fail in Belarus in 2016,” Dr. Rudy said. “Of course, the year has not yet ended and there have been some attempts, but systemic reforms have not occurred and the business climate has not changed. The economy is definitely not falling because of reforms but rather because there are no reforms. The use of administrative measures in response to the crisis only aggravates it. New problems arise, which are caused by our own actions rather than external factors.”

“Our economy grew because the potash and oil markets and the Russian economy were growing. We were just lucky,” Dr. Rudy said. “Our economy ceased to grow after those markets fell. When capital began to flow out of developing countries in 2014, we had less money as well. Since 2015, closures of foreign-invested enterprises have exceeded in number newly established companies. … This means we are not lucky now.”

According to Dr. Rudy, businesspeople in Belarus have no need of economists because “they have no real powers” and “have already offered everything they could.” “Anyway, they always offer the same things,” he said. “They developed various roadmaps, five-year plans and strategies until 2030 in the 1990s, 2000s and 2010s.”

Belarus currently needs businesspeople, lawyers and sociologists instead of economists, Dr. Rudy noted.

Lawyers are needed to defend businesses from the bureaucratic pressure of the state, he explained. “We ourselves aggravate the situation in these difficult times,” he said. “The number of cases opened under economic articles of the Civil Offenses Code has increased from 9,000 to 13,000 in one year, penalties are imposed in nine of 10 cases. One can try to appeal against arbitrary bureaucratic actions, but fewer attempts are made every year, and only a few appeals are won.”

Nonetheless, Belarus still needs economists, but it needs “economists who warn because they consider themselves patriots, and not economists who keep silent because they consider themselves loyal [to the president],” Dr. Rudy said.