Saturday, 23 June 2012

2011: Crisis in Belarus. Part 1.

Probably, foreign readers will want to know about events in my country a year ago. During the 2011 Belarus saw many things: the financial crisis, and the terrible terrorist attack in the subway, and much more. I'll try to talk about what happened. Of course, this is subjective, and possibly far from the financial settlement. But you will find the atmosphere in which people lived in 2011 (to be honest, the echoes of the past year and now we feel).

It all began in the autumn of 2010. In the two months (before the presidential election), my salary has increased by 50%. In Belarus the authorities often raise wages before the election, it must have been preserved from the Soviet era. People were just so many money.Ya remember that he did not know how to dispose of them. And did so, as the whole population: started making a purchase. I guess, so that you can not raise wages, but at the moment have not thought of.

At the end of 2010  next photo had spread all over the world: our president is against the country's gold reserves. This picture was calm the population, but for some reason did not work: maybe it was a little gold?

2011. January was relatively quiet. The people began to appear the rumors that have to buy the currency: it will soon become more expensive.

I remember in February by the appearance of the queues at the currency exchange offices. People wanted to get rid of the Belarusian rubles to buy dollars, euros, the Ukrainian hryvnia, Russian rubles (in short, anything, if only in foreign currency).

March was marked by the disappearance of currency exchange offices. But many people still believed that the crisis will not be (mostly retirees). The whole country stood with one foot already in the crisis well, but we continued to live as if in our state there are no problems.

April 2011. Around this time, began to appear the most incredible rumors. For example, soon completely stop selling sugar, or that the price for it will increase by four times. People began to buy salt, baking soda, sugar, soon in stores have imposed restrictions on the sale (1 kg of sugar to one buyer). Parents called the children who lived in large cities and asked to buy something. There was a contradiction in the exchange offices of a dollar is still worth 3100-3500, but the dollar, no one could sell the currencies are not there. Absolutely. At the same time, interbank trading, the dollar could be 6000-9000. But the president still has not seen any threat and continued to demand the impossible: to raise salaries again, so prices have stopped rising. He found "guilty" in the foreign exchange crisis: it turns out, are to blame motorists who wanted to buy a new car (the fact that from July 1, Belarus was to enter into the Customs Union and the prices of cars have been  increased. Indeed, in the streets cities in April-May, there are many new cars, but I do not believe that the problem was in this).

May 2011. One fine day in May, I went into a shoe store, I wanted to make a pleasant, buy new shoes for the summer. What I saw in the shoe department, threw me into a state of shock. The department had a lot of women. They were seized from the shelves of shoes (without looking at the style, color, looked only at price), trying on and buying. Two women simultaneously grabbed a pair of shoes and practically almost came to blows. I would have probably realized if it were a very fashionable shoes from the latest collection. But the women were fighting barefoot because of unknown color and form, which stood on the stock than a year, That's when I was scared.
On the street I heard a man boasted to his friend that he had bought for one day 100 sets of underwear for himself and wife in different shops of the city. People were buying everything: shoes, cosmetics, home appliances, furniture and food. Someone brought it all home, but many are immediately resold it all in Russia and Ukraine: the way it was possible to make a profit.
Also in May, state control was to check where the population of Belarus: working for the good of the country or run to the shops. In supermarkets people in civilian clothes during the day to ask the customer documents. The press began to report that a doctor N. was not at work for 40 minutes.
In May, there were queues at the ATMs. Part of the blame and the government: it was at this time, banks have to change the worn-out bills for new ones (with increased protection against counterfeiting). There were strange rumors that after 2-3 days at ATMs impose restrictions on withdrawals up to 60 thousand (2.5 million now possible). People fought long queues to withdraw money.

Clearly, cash in ATMs soon ended. And here again, the authorities acted incorrectly: to meet the demand of people for cash, money has become easy to print. I remember when I took out  new bills of the ATM, they even smelled of paint.
Because of all this, people just fall into a state of shock. They did not know what tomorrow will bring. And on TV, and officials were reassuring the people, saying that there is no crisis and that we, ordinary people, are to blame for the crisis. This version of the newspaper were reprinted, leading Belarusian criticized told that Belarusians are "sleeping on the salt and sugar," there is no need to panic. At the same time, some stores began to disruption of food (just people assorted products more quickly than sales of its laid out on the shelves).
And finally, in May, our Prime Minister told that the devaluation will not! Belarus has a continuous prosperity and happiness. It was May 20. And after 3 days, 23 May, the National Bank devalued the ruble by 56% immediately. 
Present status of ordinary citizens, who woke up May 23 in a different country.
And it was only beginning.


  1. I didn't know that it is so dramatically. We in Poland also have problem with crisis, but in another way - there is problem with inflation and public debt, which will be higher after EURO 2012.

    1. This situation was made possible precisely because the authorities did not say anything to the population and people were ready to believe any gossip.