I had 24 hours in Minsk in 2007. After being in Moscow it did feel like being in a fascist dictatorship, with posters of Lukahenko everywhere and even then the Byelorussian ruble was worthless.
Belarus In Full-Blown Hyperinflation Panic: Blocks News, Online Stores; Bans All FX Trading For 2 Years.
22 December, 2014
"We have to do something with these Belarussian rubles," exclaims one Belarussian as she shops to turn worthless rubles (BYR) into physical assets. As AFP reports, The Belarussian currency was dragged down by the slide of the Russian ruble last week, leading authorities to impose draconian measures, forbid price increases even for imported goods, and warn people against panic. Now, however, in an effort to stem the flood of hyperinflating domestic prices, authorities have blocked online stores and news websites to stop the run on banks and shops as people scramble to secure their savings. One of the blocked news websites noted, it "looks like the authorities want to turn light panic over the fall of the Belarussian ruble into a real one," calling the blockages "December insanity."
Today the Belarus central bank shocked its own population when it also announced full-blown capital controls designed, releasing additional measures to stem the "negative trends of currency and financial markets " including raising mandatory sales of FX revenue to 0%, suspending all OTC FX trading (so pretty much all FX), introducing a 30% fee on all FX purchases, "recommending" that banks halt BYR lending until February, and sending 1-yr interest rates on liquidity operations with banks to a eyewatering 50% in hopes this leads to an increase in BYR deposit rates. It will. What it won't lead to is stabilization in the deposit market as the natives realize they too are next up on the hyperinflation train.
HALTS OTC TRANSACTIONS IN FX UNTIL 2017: INTERFAX
As AFP reports,
Belarus blocked online stores and news websites Sunday, in an apparent attempt to stop a run on banks and shops as people rushed to secure their savings. In a statement Sunday, BelaPAN news company, which runs popular independent news websites Belapan.by and Naviny.by, said that the sites were blocked Saturday without any warning.
"Clearly the decision to block the IP addresses could only be taken by the authorities because in Belarus the government has monopoly on providing IPs," it said.
Other websites blocked Sunday were Charter97.by, BelarusPartisan.org, Udf.by and others with an independent news outlook. The blockage started on December 19, when the government announced that purchases of foreign currency will be taxed 30 percent and told all exporters to convert half of their foreign revenues into the local currency.
"Looks like the authorities want to turn light panic over the fall of the Belarussian ruble into a real one," Belarus Partisan website wrote, calling the blockages "December insanity." Internet shopping websites were also blocked en masse. Thirteen online stores were blocked Saturday for raising their prices or showing them in US dollars, deputy trade minister Irina Narkevich said, Interfax reported.
The government announced a moratorium on price increases for consumer goods and ordered domestic producers of appliances to "increase deliveries" and keep prices the same at the risk of their management being sacked. Belarussians lined up for hours to clear out their bank accounts and swept store shelves to secure their savings, stocking up on foreign-made appliances and housewares.
The Belarussian ruble has lost about half of its value since the beginning of the year, having been hit hard by the depreciation of the Russian ruble since its economy is heavily dependent on its giant neighbour. With foreign currency swiftly depleted in exchange offices, Belarussians even launched a black market website dollarnash.com where individuals could buy and sell dollars and euros.This follows the previously noted implementation of a 30% FX transaction tax, which however now that all OTC FX trading is banned for 2 years or longer, will hardly be collected.
$ 460 million will bring to the Belarusian budget introduction of a 30% tax on the purchase of foreign currency in Belarus. This is the TV channel "Belarus 1" said First Deputy Minister of Finance of the country Maxim Ermolovich.
"Given the daily supply and demand in the foreign exchange market budget revenues will amount to about 5 trillion Belarusian rubles, or $ 460 million at the exchange rate of the National Bank", - he said. Recall, December 19 NBB announced the introduction of December 20 temporary levy of 30% on the purchase of foreign currency for individuals and legal entities in connection with the sharply increased demand for foreign currency in the domestic market of Belarus. Legal persons will pay the tax on the stock exchange, and individuals - in the form of bank commission when buying foreign currency.As a result, expect to see more of this...
Keep in mind that the scenes shown above are what the BOJ, the ECB and the Fed would dub "success."
Is this one fascist supporting another?
Belarus President Offers Support to Ukraine
Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko arrived in Kyiv Sunday to offer his support as Ukraine struggles with its pro-Russian separatist insurgency and to try to revive stalled peace talks.
Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko, right, welcomes Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko during their meeting in Kyiv, Ukraine, Dec. 21, 2014.
21 December, 2014
At a meeting, Ukraine President Petro Poroshenko told Lukashenko, “I would like to especially thank you for an absolutely clear position on the sovereignty and territorial integrity and the independence of our country."
“For us, your hard-line stance, which you have always expressed, including the stance on non-recognition of the pseudo elections on November 2 on the territory of Donetsk and Luhansk - we appreciate it very much and I'm thankful to you for this,” Poroshenko said.
Lukashenko responded: “I want everything in Ukraine to be good,” according to the Belarusian state news agency Belta. “If something is needed from Belarus, say so, and we will do it all for you in a day,” he added.
The uprising by the separatists, who oppose central rule by Kyiv and seek union with Russia, began a month after Russia annexed the Black Sea peninsula of Crimea from Ukraine in March.
Pro-Western authorities in Kyiv accuse Russia of orchestrating the uprising in the east after the ouster of former president Viktor Yanukovych, who enjoyed Moscow's backing. The Kremlin denies it is behind the revolt.
Belarus, which is a close ally of Russia, also maintains a solid relationship with Ukraine. Belarus also hosted major negotiations between an international contact group in its capital, Minsk, in September that produced deals on a cease-fire and partial self-rule for the two mostly Russian-speaking regions of eastern Ukraine that rebelled against Kyiv in April.
According to Kyiv officials Sunday's meeting between the two was unrelated to the contact group of envoys from Russia, Ukraine and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe.
The cease-fire agreed to in September succeeded in stemming the worst fighting, but it has been repeatedly flouted by both sides, resulting in at least 1,300 more deaths. The United Nations said the death toll from Europe's worst security crisis since the Balkan wars of the 1990s is more than 4,700.
Lukashenko's first visit to Kyiv since Ukraine’s historic shift westward last winter comes as European Union efforts to get the peace talks back on track are in full swing.
Overnight, Poroshenko held his third conversation with German Chancellor Angela Merkel since last weekend about the continued delay of the talks, the French news agency AFP reported.
Poroshenko and Merkel agreed that the new talks should "produce a demarcation line and establish a roadmap for withdrawing troops and releasing hostages," the Ukrainian president's office told AFP on Sunday.
No date has been set for new Minsk talks, but Ukraine officials expected the meeting to happen "soon," AFP reported.
Kazakhstan's autocratic President Nursultan Nazarbayev is to meet with Poroshenko on Monday in Kyiv, before heading to Moscow where he and Lukashenko are to attend a trade bloc meeting along with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
From TASS -