Belarusian Yearbook 2020 constitutes a comprehensive analysis of developments in the key segments of the state and society throughout 2019. The parliamentary election campaign (“the dress rehearsal for the presidential campaign slated for 2020”) amidst the exhaustion of resources for recovery growth and a gradual sinking into recession, extremely low efficiency of negotiations with Russia, as well as attempts of the authorities — inconsistent and belated — to adapt to the rapidly changing environment were the main processes that shaped the political agenda in 2019.
Main trends of the year
- Against the backdrop of the 2019 parliamentary elections and the upcoming presidential campaign of 2020, all of the socioeconomic and political reforms remained frozen, with the political leadership and the security/law enforcement block actively opposing any “liberal” initiative.
- The personnel challenge exacerbated, which was manifested in the lack of competences and professionalism of the presidential “vertical”.
- Representatives of alternative political forces were ousted from the parliament following the parliamentary elections of 2019, party representation enhanced due to loyalist left-wing parties, and the parliament’s international cooperation weakened.
- Overuse of regional security references in foreign policy in order to improve official Minsk’s international reputation; intensified collaboration with individual EU member states.
- A stalemate of the Belarus–Russia integration; extremely low efficiency of negotiations between the Belarusian and Russian leaders.
- Ending recovery growth (slower output growth, inconsistent nature of economic activity).
- Growing unfavorable momentum in foreign economic operations, the external debt repayment schedule still being tense.
- Growing need for new external financing.
- Accumulating crisis disproportions in the labor market (specifically, labor shortage).
- Drop in the number of supporters of a union with Russia and increased number of proponents of European integration.
- Slightly poorer assessments of the economic situation in the country and the economic status of households.
Since 2003, the Belarusian Yearbook project has evolved as a joint endeavor of the Belarusian expert community to compile, conceptualize, and deliver a chronicle of Belarus’s contemporary history. Contributing to Belarusian Yearbook 2020 were independent analysts and experts, as well as specialists representing various think tanks, including the Institute of Political Studies “Political Sphere”, Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS), Belarusian Institute for Public Administration Reform and Transformation (BIPART), School of Young Managers in Public Administration (SYMPA), Minsk Dialogue Expert Initiative, Ostrogorski Centre, Belarusian Economic Research and Outreach Center (BEROC), MACROCENTER Macroeconomic Research Center, Belarus Security Blog analytical project, Foreign Policy Council Ukrainian Prism (Kyiv), Institute of International Relations (Warsaw, Poland), Belarusian Analytical Workroom (BAW, Warsaw), Public Bologna Committee, Agency for Social and Political Expert Appraisal (Vilnius), and the website of the expert community of Belarus Nashe Mnenie (“Our Opinion”).