Belarus Blocked Websites and Shut Down StoresAdded: Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
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Belarus decided to impose draconian measures after its national currency was dragged down by Russian ruble slide. The country even blocked online shops and news websites, trying to stop a run on banks and shops when public rushed to secure their savings. Indeed, the Belarusian currency was dragged down by the slide of the Russian ruble, which made the country’s government forbid price increases even for imported goods and warn public against panic.
Popular independent news websites were blocked over the weekend without any warning. Apparently, the government took a decision to block the IP addresses, because in Belarus the authorities have a monopoly on providing IPs.
Website filtering started on 19 December, when the authorities imposed 30% tax on purchases of foreign currency and ordered all exporters to convert 50% of their foreign revenues into the local currency.
Along with news portals, online stores were also blocked. 13 major online shops were blocked for raising their prices or showing them in dollars. Unlike their Russian neighbors, the country’s government announced a moratorium on price increases for consumer goods. In addition, domestic producers of appliances were ordered to “increase deliveries” and keep prices the same. Top visited catalog site was closed too. But seems some part stay live now with new domain catalog-online.by
Just like the Russian currency (which is slowly restoring its positions), the Belarusian ruble has lost about 50% of its value over the year, having been hit hard by the depreciation of the Russian ruble. The matter is that Belarusian economy is heavily dependent on Russian. The most ironic fact is that Belarus easily helped Russia to avoid sanctions imposed by the western states: thus, according to the national statistics system, Russia imported from Belarus all its lemons, bananas, pineapples, coconuts, mussels and octopuses – in other words, everything that Belarus itself does not even produce.
In the meantime, Belarusians queued to clear out their bank accounts and swept store shelves: people stock up on foreign-made appliances and housewares. Actually, this made sense, because in Russia, for example, Apple has already raised its prices 35% – and this was not the first raise over the last month. Now iPhone in the country is 4 times average month salary or 5 times cheaper than the Russian car.
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Saturday, January 3rd, 2015No comments
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