Amid Ukraine crisis, Minsk hopes to enhance pragmatic cooperation with Washington
Alexander Kasanof, director of the Office for Eastern Europe at the U.S. Department of State and Oleg Kravchenko, head of the American Directorate, discussed bilateral relations in Minsk.
Amid the crisis in Ukraine and the growing tensions between the Kremlin and the West, official Minsk is attempting to shape the agenda for negotiations with the US. It seeks to reduce the political conditions factor by talking about the need to strengthen the sovereignty and independence of post-Soviet countries, including Belarus. Official Minsk is committed to continuing the bilateral dialogue and enhancing pragmatic cooperation with Washington in humanitarian and economic activity, and to opening opportunities for financial assistance from international financial institutions. However, the Belarusian authorities have no plans to liberalise the political regime, meaning that the release of political prisoners, among other things, is off its agenda.
According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.