Despite the slow pace of market reforms, the Belarusian economy recorded quite impressive growth until recently, notes Marek Dabrowski, a Non-Resident Scholar at Bruegel, the Brussels-based think-tank. However the Belarus growth ‘miracle’ cannot be continued, and the reforms that are needed might be difficult to implement. The potential hardship facing Belarus could be at least partly cushioned by external assistance, he contends:
Apart from the usual political risks that accompany far going market reforms in any country, in Belarus reform has always been seen as a challenge to its authoritarian political regime. This has been so far the main difference between Belarus and other CIS countries, many of which are also far from political freedom and democracy. However, for Belarus the status quo does not look sustainable: it does not offer the continuation of economic growth and living standard improvements, the basic preconditions of the regime’s political legitimacy.
Dabrowski (email@example.com) is Professor at the Higher School of Economics, Moscow, and Fellow at the Centre for Social and Economic Research, Warsaw.