Social housing with minimal support from Belarusian state
In 2017, housing construction budget is envisaged at BYR 3.8 billion, of which BYR 3 billion would make people’s own funds and funds of organisations. The housing construction programme will reduce the construction volume to 3 million square metres in 2017 and soft loans on construction for big families will reduce to BYR 54 million, which should balance out the housing construction market. As a result, prices on the primary and secondary housing market should stabilise, the volume of currency savings spent on improving the housing conditions should increase; housing construction companies should reduce in number, so as the employment in the construction industry, simultaneously, the number of migrant workers from Belarus in the EU and Russia is likely to grow. State building organizations will have a priority in the allocation of construction sites and in subcontracting under state programmes, which means that private companies will be forced either to stop their activities or to look for contracts outside Belarus.
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.