Belarus - Domestic trade

In 1992, retail prices rose more than 1,000%. The same year a parallel national currency (called the ruble) was introduced and declared the only legal tender for purchasing goods such as food, alcohol, and tobacco. In 1998, the inflation rate was 182%. Though the government had initiated some capitalist reforms from 1991 to 1994, President Alexander Lukashenko (elected 1994) has significantly slowed efforts toward privatization through a program of "market socialism." The government has administrative control of prices and currency exchange rates and has also reestablished certain management rights over private enterprises. As of early 2003, nearly 80% of industry was state-owned. Independent banks had also been renationalized.

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