By Maximilian Clarke

After almost two decades, the International Monetary Fund will no longer have a resident Belarusian representative.

The current envoy, Ms. Natalia Koliadina will conclude her term, which begun in 2009, and for the first time since the former Soviet Bloc state joined the IMF in 1992, her role will not be replaced.

Although the IMF stopped short of explaining their reasoning, Belarus have been enforcing a number of increasingly protectionist policies, and it lax stance on press and economic freedoms and on basic human rights has prompted pundits to dub Belarus the last dictatorship in Europe.

The IMF will continue to operate a regional office, but it will be locally staffed.

IMF staff will continue supporting the authorities’ efforts in macroeconomic stabilization and structural reforms. The IMF will remain engaged with Belarus in the context of six-monthly post-program monitoring and annual surveillance missions, regular visits from Mark Allen, Senior Resident Representative for Central and Eastern Europe, and capacity building through training and technical assistance.

Speaking about the end of her assignment, Ms. Koliadina said “I would like to express my deep gratitude to the Belarusian authorities for their cooperation and warm hospitality. I would also like to thank all of the people who have helped me during my time here for their friendship and their hard work on behalf of Belarus”.

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