I was very impressed with the technical skills of the people there. Belarus and Minsk are advanced in many ways (metro with trains every 2 minutes), electric busses (powered by capacitors, not batteries), mobile phone (MTS shop at the airport sells a $9 SIM with unlimited data for a month), Yandex taxis beats Uber, etc, etc.
The main downside I noticed was meals based on meat and potatoes, not many vegetables.
All in all, I now am curious to find out more about Belarus... Need to spend some time learning basic Russian now!
Sorry for the meals - Belarusians love their potatoes. There are some 300+ dishes recorded in Belarus - that it came to be considered the core of the national cuisine.
P.S. Not quite related to the meals, but Belarus bans use of plastic plates in restaurants recently.
I am a bit fascinated as to how this came to be from Ireland to Russia, given that the potato is native to the Americas, and thus was unknown in Europe before around 1500 CE.
Or beef in Brazil and Argentina. Or Dulce de Leche.
Earlier this year I was in Sudan for a few weeks. Hands down the friendliest and kindest people I've ever met on earth. Much, much friendlier than Australians or Canadians.
Open your mind, accept there are other ways to do things, and we can learn to improve our way of doing things. It's not to say these countries are perfect, just better in different ways.
PS I'm Australian/Canadian.
Anecdotally, Iranian people fall into the same category despite living under a despotic regime and severe sanctions imposed by the US.
(Note: I've never been)
And besides, the swooning is about Belorussian people, not Lukashenko
The company they worked for had an open invitation for me to visit Minsk, and apparently it is very easy to visit on a US passport for a short period, someday I'll go and check it out.
Would definitely love to visit Minsk too. Seems like a very nice place (if you can look past the govt).
To put things in perspective, Minsk is geographically midway between Berlin and Moscow. In World War 2, the whole country was basically the front line between Germany and Russian. Most houses and infrastructure were destroyed and and 2.3m people -- a quarter of the population -- lost their lives. The equivalent in the US today is 75 million people!
I find it amazing that the country has recovered so well.
Frequency of metro trains is reduced if compared to what there was had few years ago. 2 minute intervals are only on rush hours. Most of other time it's ~7-10m intervals.
Electric buses are used only on single route in the center of the Minsk.
Yandex and Uber in Minsk are joined into single company. So you can't say that Yandex beat Uber :)
> $9 SIM with unlimited data for a month
I suspect that this is not true. AFAIK, there are no real "unlimited" plans. There always a cap on total volume of data.
"On 13 July 2017, Yandex.Taxi and Uber signed an agreement to merge their businesses and operations in Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Kazakhstan, and Russia. ... Yandex invested $100 million and Uber invested $225 million in the new structure."
Do you realize where belarus is? It gets cold in belarus. Meat and potatoes are food that can be grown locally. Also, it is environmentally devastating to transport all the vegetables all over the world like we currently do. Look at how much globalism has damaged the environment, not to mention the problems with climate change.
More people should be eating their local "meat and potatoes" rather than a globalized diet.
I would bet the persistence of meat and potatoes is due to the higher amount of calories they provide, which historically made more sense as the productive capacity of the country was lower, and while it'd probably be ok to eat greenhouse tomatoes now, it just takes time to change habits.
It's not much different in the "West". We already plant crops for yield, and in winter, we eat crops grown for yield and shipability. Out-of-season crops will cost substantially more than what cost in-season.
Though storage tech is improving: https://www.npr.org/sections/thesalt/2018/11/26/668256349/th...
And thank god for bananas.
Consumption causes externalities, yes, but I believe a global trade economy is overall more efficient than nationalist segmented economies, thus the overall pollution load should theoretically be lower with globalism.
That reminds me of British mushy peas, even served at expensive restaurants, which no one outside the UK seems to like heh
The main downsides I noticed were the fact that it would have been completely unthinkable to walk the streets during a major public event and, say, hand out fliers openly criticizing Batka's leadership.† Which probably explained why no one was doing so, at this certain major public event I attended. That and of course the near-total suppression of LGBT culture.
The food offerings as such are quite good and reasonably diverse, if one knows where to look (there's a pretty decent nightlife district downtown, for example). And the people are quite friendly and grounded (somehow more approachable than in many Western cities I've been to).
But still - it's a very different country in certain ways.
† As the President is affectionately referred to by.
Pretty sure you can find veggies too, but the price might not appeal to you. As others said, their climate is cold and importing veggies cost a lot, especially relative to wages there.
Chaikhana Lounge Cafe
vulica Surhanava 61, Minsk, Belarus
+375 29 325-45-45 https://g.co/kgs/Y6YE4E
My Belavia flight back yesterday morning was a World of Tanks themed plane:
- exterior paint and headrests promoted World of Tanks.
- each tabletop had a blueprint of a different tank
- even the pre-takeoff safety briefing was recorded in a World of Tanks style!
See photos here:
It's like flying inside of an ad that gets glued to your eyeballs for the duration of a flight. It's appropriate for ferrying gamers to a WoT event somewhere, but for regular flights this is completely unacceptable.
Oh no! What would we do without our rabbit food?
Putting aside the human right issues, i think the president there has run the country quite well given the circumstances and the post-soviet situation he inherited. Mostly staying out of conflicts, keeping a balance between the big brother to the east and the western European countries, growing the economy (with a big IT sector). But - unlike e.g. Ukraine - all without the usual post-soviet hard system change that displaces workers from the old soviet state companies and social structures they relied on.
/edit: Jesus, why the downvotes?
I'm not sure that is a safe start to an argument that a country is well run. When human rights get suppressed that means people lose the ability to, eg, honestly complain about massive problems or take basic steps to improve their standard of living. Growing an economy at the expense of human rights is kinda stupid. What is the point of making people's lives materially better if the government is simultaneously suppressing their ability live better lives? Pointless and counterproductive busywork.
I can see how a country can be good and have human rights abuses at the same time - most great countries are involved in human rights abuses to some degree - but they can't just be hand-waved at the start. Being a nice place to visit as a wealthy tourist hand having clean streets is not a high bar.
You also inspired me to go and have a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_rights_in_Belarus . I wasn't impressed to read that they have laws where a "change of job and living location will require permission from governors [for 9% of the workforce]". I would call that catastrophically poor management of the economy bordering on actual slavery. So either Wikipedia is misleading me or they are not quite well run.
Like, it's really hard to explain because you'd never see the benefit of that over personal freedom, but I get why older generations are nostalgic over it. I wouldn't go back to it but it wasn't all bad.
Do they have such laws or you believe that a proposed law (according to the cited articled) is an existing law already? You seem to quickly go and claim border-line slavery without checking it first.
And I think a reasonable person would make the comparison with Ukraine: Belarus didn't keep a balance, they are effectively run by Russia (iirc, Lukashenko and most of his associates are under sanction by the EU and can't travel there). Compare that to Estonia or Latvia or Lithuania...the difference should be quite obvious.
Btw, just generally: Lukashenko is not a nice guy. He is one of the more anti-semitic political leaders out there (and the competition is stiff). The human rights stuff and election rigging is also unusually bad.
This media blitz started in 2008 right about at the start of the Olympics.
Sure, they needed innovations, market thinking, and transparent controlled privatization, but there were hope and enthusiasm in the beginning of 1990s.
My opinion, Russian influence killed it eventually - they helped Lukashenko to stay in power in 1996 and made the country dependent on Russian markets, oil, gas, money - and Lukashenko spent all the money on economically ineffective government projects, lost investors, kept inefficient model. The rigid, indecisive, and toothless politics of the EU toward Lukashenko did not help either. In a short perspective, it may look morally wrong to work and cooperate with “Last Dictatorship”, but politics is a long game of planting seeds and growing influence, small wins, and changing minds - such strategic thinking is unfortunately beyond and above our bureaucrats.
Now the country is basically lost and hopeless. Do not be under the spell of its software industry and some improvements in Minsk - it is a tiny part of the picture.
Young and active leave the country. More than half of people who studies CS, physics, or applied maths from my generation (30-35+) live in Europe, US, Australia. State medicine is poor - medical professionals just run away from the country. Construction workers, trade professionals leave for Russia, Poland, Baltic States. I learnt from my connections there that many bright young people learn German, English, Polish, or Czech to go study after school abroad and then stay there, no plan B to stay in Belarus. They see no future in country.
Recently, it got even worse: first, Belarusian military pushed for stricter draft rules, and, second, Russia has successfully pushed for further integration. It leads to even more migration of the young and educated, plus people living abroad drop their citizenship for a new one - few are excited to find themselves one day a subject of Russian Federation.
Belarus Is Fast Becoming a Medical Tourism Mecca
I know many, well, Russian speaking folks who fly to Belarus for a medical tourism purposes. It's much cheaper, and quality is often better. Best bang for the buck!
First, there is a number of private and state clinics and practices mostly in the capital, where they can afford good equipment, and they make money on medical tourists or locals with money. Most of medical industry is outside of this spot and in a much worse condition, the further you go to the province - lack of medical staff, tools, medicine, over-regulations.
Second, the salaries of doctors and medical assistants are ridiculous - an experienced doctor makes 400 USD a month, medical sisters and junior doctors even less. Sure, there are successful surgeons, good doctors in private centres, or stomatologists that make 1000 USD and more, but they are not representative for the general population.
What were their options when it came to oil and gas?
How exactly did they do it?
It's not like with different president Belarus wouldn't need all that.
You need to take responsibility for your country instead of blaming Russia and emigrating.
About “taking responsibility” - people actually take responsibility for their future, family, children. That’s why they migrate. One can only take responsibility over what they can really change. Not everyone is born a hero to fight the system, very few heroes are successful, and we have only one life. It is safe to call for resistance from a cozy chair, but in fact, it is no romantic endeavor: people got tortured, imprisoned, disappear. Lives of common people can be sacrificed in revolutions for the ultimate benefit of new rulers.
"Belarusian government did not do anything"
How is that Russia's fault?
"To keep their power, they sold country"
What exactly did Russia get? Belarus is still a sovereign country.
So you are saying that you would've stayed in Belarus if not for Russia?
Please, do some research - on how a large country can make a small neighbour dependent on money injections, how they can ask to pay for credits with key state factories, keep hordes of agents and influencers in their governments, military, among politicians, on the history of Russian relations (btw, yesterday Finns remembered Winter War https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Winter_War).
“So you are saying that you would’ve stayed in Belarus if not for Russia”
I never said that, bad try.
The questions don't look shallow to me, they are specific, and your response is hand-waving and 'please do some research'. And here I thought you did that research yourself before blaming Russia.
Well, so was Ukraine, and look at it now.
But hardware that is over-optimized for the worst-case scenario ended up highly inefficient during normal peacetime operations, hence their economy was hugely underperforming. I suspect the Soviet economy would have proven surprisingly robust in another total war .....fortunately we didn't find out.
At the tractor-engineering level, isn't it partly that they didn't iterate many times? What Ford was making in the 50s was not so different. But they junked the whole factory several times since then, or rather were forced to do so by competitors... it's easy to see how hard it would be to persuade even a well-meaning bureaucrat that you want to close down and replace a factory whose tractors worked just fine last year.
I have read (but am not completely sure) that every factory had a second purpose ready to go, e.g. your tractor factory had the tank blueprints ready, and made sure their machines could work for both. If true this must have been another enormous incentive not to change... if your plan for switching to lighter more fuel-efficient tractors means you can't make all the tank components you were supposed to, then you aren't going to get permission.
Their economy is quite shitty and simply parasitizing on Russia.
Which are virtually non-existent.
It's illegal outside special zones which are virtually non-existent. Yes, it's virtually illegal.
Looks you have failed logic state here.
The whole GDP growth fetish is a lot of horse shit; some measure needs to be taken that the increase in GDP doesn't destroy the lives of some large swathe of the population like it did in Russia. Belarus may be led by a repressive dictator, but the fact that it didn't experience the absurd declines in life expectancy and quality of life in the 90s that Russia did will keep him popular, even if they do have to pay more for oil.
Hong Kong tops the list right? It has what you would expect...
Capital has flowed in and normally that would have pushed blue collar workers and children and elderly out, with people commuting 2 hours each way as in SF. But since these are islands, the poor live in coffin like shoebox apartments, far smaller than anything allowed in US cities. Millions form entire communities of poverty around there, raise children there etc.
How large an effect are we talking? 20% of Hong Kong is below the poverty line. I did the math and any four people below the poverty line cannot together afford a studio apartment in normal areas of Hong Kong.
Hong Kong has had to aggressively increase its welfare and safety nets. It has over 40 public hospitals and 20 private ones.
Suffice it to say that around the world, government-run and single-payer healthcare and schooling has been compatible with high scores on economic freedom. It’s only in the USA do we have this ridiculous fearmongering about that.
Hong Kong has, in many measures, a very strong safety net and strong public sector. Ditto for Singapore etc. And larger countries in Scandinavia, and Canada and Australia etc. are similar.
Much of the centrally coordinated infrastructure investment has paid off - in the US we had the interstate highway system, China lifted more people out of poverty in 20 years through centrally planned “ghost cities” than any place on Earth ever, and the USSR did a great job of increasing literacy, electricity, bringing universities, rights to women and minorities, to countries like Uzbekistan and that whole region. Child mortality declined greatly, as people got better access to healthcare.
Not to say that everything is black and white, but “economic freedom” and capitalism isn’t the only way science and technology and prosperity moves forward.
Moving to those ghost cities have wrecked an entire generation, as it seems.
Moving people out of poverty includes the pension challenge. Which is the hardest one and I'm pretty sure that the one-child policy didn't contribute well to that part.
Look, China may not have eradicated poverty but certainly it was able to make the average wages go up 5x a decade for 20 years. Could this be done by uncoordinated market activity of private actors? Perhaps, but the USA has never been able to pull it off so fast.
Now one can argue the US always had a far higher starting point so it ran into diminishing returns. And that is a fair argument.
But keep in mind USSR’s GDP grew faster than USA and they faced the aftermath of two world wars, lost 30 million people and also subsidized lots of other countries in the Warsaw Pact (their version of the Marshall Plan). Compare apples to apples, eg the GDP of Romania after it joined the Eastern Bloc vs Hawaii after it was annexed as the 50th state of the US. Or compare GDP growth of Georgia and Puerto Rico.
It’s not actually clear which system led to more economic prosperity, and as I said the USA had the advantage of oceans protecting it, the dollar was the reserve currency all around the world after Bretton Woods, and we could import cheap goods all year long by just printing dollars. That has a massive effect on prosperity.
I don't think Romania and Hawaii form an apples-to-apples comparison.
Romania: a country in Europe, occupied by the Soviets after World War II, with 16 million people. Neighbors Hungary, Yugoslavia, Ukraine, and the Black Sea.
Hawaii: a U.S. territory for half a century, with 620 thousand people. Noted for its proximity to Johnston atoll (825 miles from Honolulu), Midway Island (1311 miles), and San Francisco (2393 miles).
And with China, I don’t think it is at all accurate to say that the millions of miles of new roads, bridges, infrastructure, ghost cities etc. were built because private market actors woke up one day and decided to make massive infra investments. It was central planning. And a lot of the science, electric vehicles etc. is sponsored by govt too, that is why China is the world leader.
Edit: A better example for you would be Singapore, with its history of public housing, which gets privately owned (or 99-year-leased). They also have public roads.
Developers acquire new plots of land from local governments and are mandated to construct something more or less immediately. Developers can't sit idly on vacant land and wait for the surrounding area to develop until it's economically viable. This creates the quick-buck mentality in developers to rapidly build in the new area without the necessary demand for housing.
"The cities are product of plan-driven economy that many cities are not expected to be complete or vibrant after 15 years of construction."
I do business in Ukraine; I'm well aware of conditions on the ground there.
Ukraine is a craphole because of corruption not because it liberalized.
Saying "muh corruption" isn't an argument. Russia had a problem with corruption as well until they elected a patriotic strong man who got it under control to the point where oligarchs were no longer fighting pitched gun battles in Moscow. What's your plan for dealing with neoliberal induced corruption in Ukaine?
Do you have a plan for fixing Ukraine's corruption under the neoliberal looter regime the US put in place there?
Russia manages to field new nuclear submarines, new ballistic missile designs, a nuclear ramjet cruise missile and various other insane technological contraptions. Meanwhile in the US we need to hitch a ride ... with the Russians, to achieve low earth orbit, and we've shipped our heavy manufacturing capabilities to China and Mexico. But hey, at least we design iphones in California!
It was planned post-Soviet chaos, and chaos attracts grifters and opportunists. The regular people down in the trenches had no clue that they were being robbed blind.
The Russian invasion destroyed the place.
Oh you mean the invading Russian forces.
> By the next morning, soldiers in unmarked uniforms had taken the Crimean parliament and raised the Russian flag. Throughout the day, the little green men—as the irregular Russian soldiers came to be known—fanned out across the city, capturing government buildings. Soon, behind closed doors and under Russian guns, the autonomous region’s parliament voted to request Russian security assistance.
Ukraine is very liberalized economy, perhaps more than in the west - and yes, the results are less than stellar, for a complex number of reasons.
About Estonia, Lithuania, Latvia the economic results seem OK, but the social one is close to tragedy: in 3 Baltic countries emigration has been terrible, and the lost a large part of their population, threatening the social fabric. https://www.oecd-ilibrary.org/social-issues-migration-health...
Your comment is pure ideology.
The only ones who see that in a bad light are pro-nationalist lackeys that put the state above an individual person.
It's a win-win.
Citation needed on this one.
I understand that some economists explain the high inflation by saying that pent-up demand was "unleashed" after the Soviet Union collapsed. To me this seems kinda hand-wavy (is it possible to measure pent-up demand?).
On a related note, something that comes close to a natural experiment is a comparison of the economic history of Finland and Russia. Finland was part of the Russian empire and, like the rest of Russia, was very poor at the time. It then broke away during the civil war, which is, of course, around the time that Soviet communism began to take root. Meanwhile, a little later, Finland took took a different economic path and instead implemented some social democratic policies and is now per capita richer than Russia and indeed many countries in Europe. 
 I realize Finland is not a perfect social democratic economy, but it is a closer approximation than most European economies
These traits are the same in Korea, yet there's a drastic difference between South and North.
It was, however, a stong-man communist dictatorship.
According to government posters pasted all around Latvia, EU support constituted about 12.8% of government budget(!), or 9.6% net after accounting for Latvia's contributions to the EU budget.
When it comes to the Tesla factory, it will be right outside Berlin https://www.dw.com/en/tesla-factory-outside-berlin-to-cost-4... .
One of my German coworkers remarks often that wages for any given job in former-DDR-areas are much lower than the same jobs in pre-reunification-Bundesrepublik-Deutschland-areas.
(I don’t agree with those views, I’ve been to the country a couple times and I think the culture and the people are beautiful)
That being said, what I saw in fact after their adhesion was that the quality of immigration seemed to improve (at least from what _I_ could see). Good number of honest and sometimes very well-educated people in services.
I guess the question to ask respective to their adhesion is whether the total amount or proportion of Romanian-origined criminality increased.
Your comment would be fine without that last bit.
> Since the early 21st century visible positive developments have been observed in the economy of Georgia. In 2007, Georgia's real GDP growth rate reached 12 percent, making Georgia one of the fastest-growing economies in Eastern Europe. The World Bank dubbed Georgia "the number one economic reformer in the world" because it has in one year improved from rank 112th to 18th in terms of ease of doing business. Georgia improved its position to 6th in World Bank's Doing Business report 2019.
Please provide references.
I spare you the details for the Czech republic since this should be well known. They were always an industrial and manufacturing hub, even during German occupation in WW2. Airplanes, Tanks, guns, cars (Skoda!), machinery etc. Don't forget, they are a comparably small country.
For example, "privatisation." In Russia & parts of the west, privatisation was a major 90s policy.
But like everything else, details can outweigh labels. One privatisation is not like another.
There's a massive difference between encouraging/allowing entrepreneurship, & "selling" state sectors to "private" owners.
I use scare quotes there because the "sales" were generally paid for with state-backed loans and the "private" owners are either multinationals or "oligarchs" as we now know the "private" Russian buyers.
The former is closer to a capitalist ideal, but doesn't affect the "key industries, at least not fast. The latter is instant, but it also involves something approximating giving away a state's wealth for free.
One big hindsight problem Soviet privatisation encountered is a running theme in modern "capitalism:" the failure/inability of states to get value for/from it's owned assets & wealth.
Neither western economies, Soviet ones or post-soviet ones have a tool in their toolbox for this. Norway's oil fund might be the one exception.
Putting aside the realpolitik, after the west completely bungled the post-soviet transition just about everywhere else in a fit of market-worshiping obliviousness, I'd say they owe it.
Russian mafia run by Putin sees "Eurasian Economic Union" as a source of money for their thief pool (obtshak). I.e. it's designed for the sole purpose of extracting resources from those territories. It's not built to give anything back to the people in the participating states, except for collaborationists which sell off their countries to that mafia. So joining it is clearly a damaging idea for any state, and only happens due to corruption of the local government.
What a profoundly backward perspective. It's the other way around. Belarus was a part of the Russian Empire. So much a part of it, in fact, that the long form of the title of the Russian monarch contained its name. You can't "roll over" something you already own. It wasn't Russia's wars with European states that repeatedly fucked up Belarus. It was Europe's wars with Russia. Napoleon and Hitler were two notable examples - both defeated, but both rolled through Belarus first, killing and raping everything that moved.
Another point to consider: much of the Rus (Ruth) that russia claims to be descendent of is modern Ukraine and Belarus lands, and historically they were figthing most of the time with moscow armies.
Russia claims to be descendent of many things, from vikings to Byzantine Empire, from slavic tribes to mongols. Russia is a mix of many things, where Kiev and Kievan Rus is just one of the main starting points. Not to mention that Kiev became the capital only ofter Oleg captured it after leaving Novgorod. Not to mention that any fights between Moscow and whatever entity you are talking about have happened centuries later.
And even if we are talking about geography only: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kievan_Rus%27#/media/File:Prin...
here is the map of the Kievan Rus (1054-1132). Lands of the modern Ukraine and Belarus take less than a half of the territories as can be clearly seen. Even considering that this is a 'flat' map.
And you can't really have any talk about Russian state over here without mentioning that 'Russia is still a Byzantine Empire descendant'. Even newspapers usualy mention that: https://www.gazeta.ru/comments/2016/05/30_e_8271917.shtml (in russian, obviously)
Anyway, this topic has lots of material if one is interested.
"Soviets" was a union of 15 republics, not one big russia.
To your original comment: russia absolutely didn't behave nice on that land at any time in history regardless of who they were at war with.
and I'm not your man
the British royals had "Emperor/Empress of India" in their full title until 1948.
Titles don't doesn't mean much.
First of all, as we all live in diff countries, we have diff perception of what is good or bad.
Moreover, we are live in humanism-driven era, that means that "there is no authority expcept of me and my feelings".
In Middle Ages God and Priest told you want to do and what is beautiful, good or bad.
In Socialism, Nationalism or Communism the Ruling Party told you what to do.
In Liberalism and more democratic countries Capitalism and MNC (Multinational corporations) gaining more power and "providing the offer you can not refuse".
Whereas in Middle Ages there was no growth, now everyone is obsessed with growth.
And we would know the answer "who was right" only after we would come into a lack of resources and an ecological disaster due to consumption rates.
So, as I'm not an authority for you, just focus on your feelings when you read the text below.
I would say, that Belarus lives in autocrasy, rather dictatorship. The President doesn't tell everyone what to do. We all have a freedom of choice, can study, learn foreign languages and go abroad.
Many people did that, doing that and will be doing that.
The country is facing a challenge how to solve that question.
Singapore's advice would be: bring more investors to the country to build enterprizes. There are issues with that.
Same time, there opened "The Great Stone" project, where you can invest $500K into a manufacturing enterprize and get many tax exemptions for many years (terms are very attractive and competitive in World). You would get access to low-cost workforce and get profits.
Could be better? Yes.
Could be worse? Yes.
Can we improve? Yes.
ICT industry is one of the growth drivers and magnets retaining some of young people from moving abroad.
President's decree #8 prolonged preferences for HighTechPark (HTP) until 2049, gave legislation to cryptocurrency ventures (although there is only one cryptocurrency exchange so far) and let our companies buy ads, hosting and other digital services from abroad without paying 35% tax on top.
3 years ago there were 160 companies in HTP, whereas now ±600.
IT sector is booming.
Not only as R&D or devcenters as in other ex-USSR countries, but also product-based companies and startups.
We have some remarkable stories:
1) Apalon (acquired by IAC) was in #10 in the World by downloads in AppleStore.
2) Mobile Games made in Belarus were downloaded 3 500 000 000 (3.5bln) times. That is not only Wargaming. We have plenty of other games studios (including our own subsidiary).
3) EPAM (10bln evaluation)
4) Wargaming (was mentioned above)
5) exp(capital) and a group of its companies have a turnover of $2bln (yes, billion per month) according to it's owner Victor Prokopenya.
6) There is a good food brand: Santa Fish and Santa Bremor with a 1bln turnover per year (they produce products from salmon, $1bln also includes another milk brand "Savushkin")
7) Viber (acq by Rakuten), PandaDoc, Maps.me (acq. by Mail.ru), MSQRD (acq by Facebook), AIMatter (acq by Google)
Total turnover of HTP companies would be $2bln+ this year (the initial investment in HTP was $40K and a small cabinet with a table and a chair, not millions like in Russia's Skolkovo gone astray).
I think for a country, which is only 27 years old these results are exceeding all possible expectations.
In 2016 I did a research on local IT market, you can view it here: https://www.slideshare.net/alexgrakoff5/belarus-it-outsourci...
Inspired by that research, EY did there own: https://www.ey.com/Publication/vwLUAssets/ey-it-industry-in-...
The main limits of growth for my company is: we don't have a foreign office and can't sell at a higher price at the moment and the speed of salary growth in IT-industry. There is no President involved in that.
I would say, many businesses have benefits now because of a lower salaries (for some period of time). And I can't imagine now hiring a sales in US for $200K/year.
Btw, I think now it is more cost-efficient to have a Belarus company, owning a US company to sell digital services. You would have to pay 1% income tax and 9% dividend tax.
Do you know many stories of successfully built countries from scratch without "open source framework"?
Singapore, and maybe a few others.
Do you think that US is only good with the maximum personal freedom?
As you have a freedom market, you get:
- constant growth of educational costs
- constant growth of health insurance costs ($28k/y for a family)
- no limits for mobile plans/TV plans (it can cost $100/m in NY and $200 for TV)
You can read more on that topic here:
The cost of property is so high, that you have to work 20 or more years to afford it if you are not a Googler.
The cost of US effectiveness is that one can easily get homeless. They say "our society tends to support mistakes and getting bankcrupt".
I've been in 10 countries during last year and never saw such amount of homeless people as in San Francisco, California.
And it can take 7 to 10 years to rebuild your credit score: https://www.experian.com/blogs/ask-experian/credit-education...
Eventually, everything is quite complicated, but in general during last 10 years many positive changes happen and this is noticed by all people who come to Belarus.
Our country has a big potential in many industries, not only IT, just not everyone has the right knowledge to make profit on that potential.
There were similar predictions in 2014
>"... Lukashenko does face problems. Russia is cutting its subsidies.
Belarus struggles to sell its outdated tractors and trucks in an age of global competition. The economy is deteriorating.
Russia's President Putin could engineer Lukashenko's removal simply by stopping subsidised oil and gas deliveries altogether. Belarus receives roughly four times more Russian oil than it needs for domestic consumption, refines the surplus and sells it on the open market for a profit. Putin must be tempted. He loathes Lukashenko, who has cleverly played Russia off against the EU over the past 20 years, reneged on promises to Moscow, and frustrated Russian attempts to gain control of the Belarusian state gas company, pipelines and refineries.
... " 
These predictions did not really turn out to be true in terms of regime change or Venesuela-like horror.
There are very few countries in the world, that in the last 100 years experienced what Belorussians did:
The Nazis killed more than two million Belarusians - a quarter of the population..
Chernobyl disaster of 1986, which contaminated a fifth of the country and millions of its people
In a way, it explains a bit of how people think there...
Basically, as long as it is not worst then before -- than we are ok. And one can see from above, the 'before' was really bad...
Belorussians are not going to revolt,
if there is a forced change in leadership, the transition will not be perfectly peaceful, but will not be bloody, And it will only happen to a person that Putin is ok with.
Russian is pretty much 'the language' in that country, and really the affinity to Russia goes far beyond the language.
In way of political views/desire to change -- Belorussian's are much milder than Russians'.
Comparing Belarus to Estonia or Lithuania, in terms of 'what-would-happen', I think are wrong. Those republics received a lot of help from the West, and are culturally (including language) were much more aligned with Finland/Norway.
Belarus would more likely compare to a land-locked countries like Armenia or Albania.
Many who did not like the regime, immigrated to Germany.
Lukashenko is not holding anybody from leaving.
Law enforcement in Belarus is one of the highest paid government-paid jobs. So state apparatus used to monitor opposition (but unlike in US, they do not need to cheat FISA courts, those things are already 'built-in')
Especially, when it comes to foreign-sponsored opposition
Organisers of the protest, linked to George Soros, called the march “Freedom Day”, evoking the independent Belarus that lasted just six months after the First World War, in 1918. They tried to march down one of the major streets in Minsk, but were blocked by police who arrested them, along with journalists covering the protest, Alexander Ponomarev told AP news agency.
In terms how Belarus is positioning itself in the worlds import/export markets
It is same way, as Politicians use their family members and charity foundations to do money loundring and bribes....
Basically a mechanism to avoid sanctions and laws...
The fact that Belarus is supplying the Russian market with the enormous amount of exotic tropical fruits cannot but sparked a massive public outcry. Although the fruit isn’t grown in the Eastern European country, the export of kiwis went up by 151%.
At the same time, the ban imposed by Russia clearly prohibits re-export, and that is exactly what Belarus is suspected of by Moscow.
The Belarusian Prime Minister claims that the fruits supplied should not be affected by sanctions.
Same goes, probably for military equipment exports...
Some speculate that Putin might want to turn this paper union into reality before his term ends and become president of the union. He would avoid neatly term limits for Russian president.
Fast forward to 2019, recently the Belarus' ambassador to Russia said that the presidents of Belarus and Russia approved plans to establish a common government and parliament. 
Their plans seem to be progressing. December 8th should be some kind of proclamation about the state of the union.
Belarus is just one military exercise away from Russians taking over. Every time these countries have a big joint military exercise in Belarus there is possibility that Russian troops might not leave when the exercise is over.
Why they would do that? Unless you organize a pro-West revolution like in Ukraine. It is possible but making people dirty poor and desperate can take a decade like in the latter case.
No it doesn't. It's by far the most likely outcome going forward.
"Putin’s Retirement Plan Depends on Belarus"
"To retain power, he is positioning himself as the leader of a closer union between Russia and its dependent neighbor."
That is by Leonid Bershidsky, one of the best columnists in the West re Russia. He essentially never strays into conspiracy theories or similar junk.
So they are showing off equipment produced by Capitalism? How does that work to prove their point?
But the reality is that most humans are fundamentally competitive and fundamentally awful creatures. Only thing they will do given all this is find ways to beat the system to give themselves advantage over others.
Dear communism, it's not you, it's us.
Any system that doesn't take into account the realities of the human condition is about as practically-applicable as the Borg Collective. No amount of self-loathing will change that, or solve our collective problems.
Otherwise, as you say, these comparisons are meaningless.
A bit of an aside, I know. But it is so frustrating how we've surrendered context for controversy so we can drum up rage and clicks instead of understanding they complicated reality. I hear Belarus is very clean and many of its citizens love their country, but that's probably propaganda.
Assume that's true: $55 a day to support a family still sounds like shit to me, depending on how you enumerate that.
for reference, that daily value multiplied out for an equivalent monthly wage covers about two thirds of my base monthly rent.
That is not counting heat, hot water, and electric bill. Also not counting food, internet, phone, clothes, health coverage, gas, insurance, etc.
i live in the US northeast; $19,800 a year is ~16% below the poverty line for a family my size this year https://aspe.hhs.gov/poverty-guidelines.
So sure. that sounds like poverty to me.
$19,800 a year ($55 a day) is, indeed, a fucking struggle to live and support a family on here. (urban area, new england)
The poster i was originally replying to was complaining that $1 US a goes further in other places and "could be like $10"; my point is that that's still pretty poor!
If people says that East Africa is China's 24th province, than Belarus would be double of that.