Authoritarian modernization, which is not

After 2007, when the Russian subsidies decreased significantly, Lukashenko has made some steps to thawing relations with the EU, international financial institutions, abolished most of the social benefits, the Government has set a task to Belarus was among the top 30 countries in the world in a favorable investment climate. Among the experts then began a discussion about the possibility of changing the Belarusian social model.
Of course, political liberalization, no one believed. But there was a calculation that under the influence of economic necessity in the country and begin market reforms can be realized variant of authoritarian modernization, something like the Chinese model.
And on the eve of the presidential elections, it seemed that both are equally real. A number of legislative acts in the direction of economic liberalization. Began a dialogue between the authorities and the business community. The government persistently invited foreign investors in Belarus, gave promise of the IMF.
There have been some signs of change, even in the political sphere. Lukashenko vaguely hinted that after elections, we will give more attention to the political parties. Yarmoshyna in an interview said that a transition to the proportional electoral system, where voters vote not for the candidate and for a party. Perhaps it was the reviews of some debate in the government.
That is, perhaps, the issue of the transition to a model of "managed democracy" on the Russian model. This is the democratic scenery hides the contents of an authoritarian regime. For example, in Russia the Kremlin has created a party that supposedly compete with each other, forms a "constructive opposition". The first highlights of this project, we saw during the presidential campaign, when the Central Election Commission has registered nine alternative candidates who could speak at the public radio and television.
But the events of December 19 broke the plans. Election campaign seriously injured Lukashenko. It turned out that the model of "managed democracy," the Belarusian regime is not ready.

Election campaign seriously injured Lukashenko.

Pryzvychaenaya to a simple and easy to understand patterns of behavior (all dissenters — clubbed on the head), the political system is simply not suited to the more complex and subtle game. Had the two months of the presidential campaign, to understand it. Resigned the leading officials of the ideological vertical (Petkevich, A. Zimouski), which pushed for decorative Lukashenko political liberalization, convinced that it was not scary for his power. It turned out terrible.
What follows from all this are the lessons?
Most experts say that the events of December 19 showed the Belarusian social model can not be reformed. With that, perhaps, we can agree. Reform potential of the system was weak.
It's not just the fact that Lukashenko injured political liberalization during the election campaign and so afraid of any change. And does problematic normalization of relations with the West. His problem is in the fact Now that this is a weak president with a deficit and internal and external legitimacy.
The latter is obvious. He is criticized not only the U.S., the EU, but also the presidents of Russia, Ukraine, the United Nations Secretary General. Let me remind you that in the European Parliament's resolution has a point about the need for new presidential elections in Belarus.
But there is a deficit and domestic legitimacy. It has been almost two months since the presidential election, but he still has to prove his right to the presidency through massive repression,

Lukashenko — a weak president with a deficit of legitimacy.

constructing global conspiracy, criminal prosecution of seven presidential candidates. It is no accident the first time Lukashenko spoke about the existence of a minority in a society that does not support it. All the previous years, he argued that all the people unanimously voted for his policies, and the opposition — a bunch of "thugs."
Lukashenko is due to the weak position of the fact that the country is faced with serious problems and challenges, the resolution of which is not visible on the horizon. The conflict with the West and Russia dramatically reduces the opportunity to give them advice, narrows the room for maneuver.
All this casts doubt on plans and economic liberalization. After all, they are expanding the space of freedom. And if a strong and self-confident government can not afford to co-exist with independent from government entities, the weak ruler is afraid.
In addition, as we know, deep market reforms — painful for society. There is a rule that the unpopular conversion can be carried out only popular and strong power. And now she can not make that claim. It is therefore possible that the scandals of companies "Pinsk Wood" and "Danone-Unimilk" — these are the first signs of coagulation and economic liberalization.
Perhaps the image of Lukashenka modernizer leaned too risky.


Lukashenko, modernization

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