The curbing of the social protests and the weakness of the political opposition means that Lukashenka’s rule does not face any substantial political threats.
In such circumstances, the policy of “mild liberalization” and an improved political climate can continue.
In total, approximately 900 people were subjected to some form of pressure in March; more than 100 of whom faced sentences of administrative detention.
Practically all opposition leaders were detained or fined, and over 30 people were arrested on suspicion of preparing riots and creating paramilitary units (for more details see National Democratic Governance).
In recent years, the authorities, while decreasing state funding, have exposed GONGOs to international funding by supporting and lobbing at international level.
International donors have also become more open to cooperation with GONGOs.
However, on January 24, 2017, significant amendments to the Judiciary Code came into effect.
At the local level, authorities gained more independence from the state authorities in spending the financial resources that they obtained.
NOTE: The ratings reflect the consensus of Freedom House, its academic advisers, and the author(s) of this report.
The opinions expressed in this report are those of the author(s).
At the same time, however, the Belarusian authorities failed to comply with recommendations of the Group of States against Corruption (GRECO) and did not allow the publication of the report submitted to the organisation.
Outlook for 2018: The Belarusian authorities will seek to maintain political stability.