Petroleum goods prices raised
As of 21 July the retail prices for petroleum products have been raised. Prices have increased by 3%. The “Belneftekhim” reported that “the revision of prices for petroleum goods is linked to gradual price adjustment within the Customs Union”.
At the same time “Belneftekhim” noted that “the current retail prices (subject to increase) remain below the level of prices in the Russian Federation by 2-8%.”
“the current retail prices (subject to increase) remain below the level of prices in the Russian Federation by 2-8%.”
While maneuvering between social (price) stability, and improvement of the financial state of the largest exporters, the authorities have chosen the latter.
The promise of the President of 8 June regarding unchanged petroleum prices in the coming quarter lasted just over a month.
Indirectly it confirms the sill critical state of the Belarusian economy. Moreover, increasing petrol prices by a symbolic amount the authorities make an attempt to test the loyalty of the public reaction (drivers are one of the most active part of the population). By hard-suppressing and preventing any kind of protests (an action “Stop: petrol” took place on the day the petroleum prices were increased) the authorities are preparing the population for future increases in prices and tariffs, which will affect the wealth of the average Belarusian to a greater extent than the increase of petrol price by 3%.
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.