Belarus to keep sales up on Russian market with lower export prices
According to the National Statistics Committee, Belarus’ exports to the Russian market in January - October 2016 totalled 8.8 billion and increased by 0.7% as compared with the same period in 2015. Prices for most Belarusian export items on the Russian market fell as compared with 2015. The growth in export was mainly due to higher export volumes, including the biggest growth in exports of capital goods (machinery and equipment, means of land transport). The Russian Food Administration is likely to continue to control fruit and vegetable supply to Russia from Belarus in order to reveal re-exports. In addition, exports of non-food consumer goods from Belarus (clothing, footwear, household appliances) to the Russian market are likely to increase. Stagnation in the construction industry is likely to lower the demand for decoration and building materials from Belarus. Due to the increased share of the Russian rouble in the basket of currencies, Belarus will improve response to changes in prices in Russia, and if necessary, will step up the competitiveness of Belarusian goods by propping up the national currency.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.