On 19 December 2010 Alexander Lukashenka claimed victory in a presidential election that, according to domestic and international monitors, was marred by irregularities and falsifications. This re-election saw the largest protests in Belarus in a decade and was followed by an unprecedented wave of repressions again political opponents and civil society, as well as a complete freeze in relations with the West, and by the deepest economic crisis since Belarusian independence. Speed and scale of these developments came to the surprise of even the most astute experts of Belarus.
79.6 percent was the official count of votes supporting Lukashenka. By contrast, independent polls saw him score merely 51.1 percent. According to them, 20.5 percent is the share of Belarusian citizens that would cast their vote for him today.
And here are some more figures:
189 percent is the rate, at which the Belarusian rouble devalued this year.
113.6 is the current figure for base inflation. Food prices have risen by 127.4 percent, those of services by 72.4 percent.
45 percent is the current refinancing rate, the highest in the world. This rate compares to 10.5 at the beginning of the year.
70 percent of GDP is the estimated size of Belarus’ external debt by the end of 2011. And it is not supposed to exceed 55 percent of GDP under the country’s national security strategy.
$177 is the difference between wages in December 2010 and October 2011, as average incomes dropped from $530 to $353.
Tens of thousands of Belarusians have migrated to Russia and Ukraine for work; the worst-case scenario expects 1 million people to leave for work.
11 price rises have driven up the costs of gasoline in 2011, provoking several mass protests by automobilists.
$270 per one thousand cubic meters has been the price Belarus paid this year for Russian gas. In 2012, the price will drop to $165.50, while Ukraine is ready to pay $416.
100 percent is the ownership by Gazprom of Belarusian pipeline operator Beltransgaz. Having just purchased the remaining 50 percent for $2.5 billion, Russia now for the first time owns a pipeline outside its territory. Gazprom promised a threefold wage growth to its new employees.
$7.3 billion is the total of Russian subsidies to Belarus, as per Moscow’s calculations, in 2011 and 2012. Besides reductions in gas prices and the purchase of Beltransgaz, Sberbank has provided a $1 billion loan to potash giant Belaruskali.
A single currency is to be introduced in 2012, according to the hopes of Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, in Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia.
…a year has never been that long for the Belarusians.