Belarus’ authorities use inauguration of Ukrainian president for breakthrough in international relations
On June 7th, President Lukashenko attended the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko as Ukraine’s new president in Kyiv.
Lukashenko’s visit to Kyiv was kept a secret until the meeting between Presidents Poroshenko and Putin during the D-Day 70th Anniversary celebration in Normandy. The Belarusian authorities seek to use the opportunities opened up by events in Ukraine to step forward onto the international arena – primarily to normalise relations with European capitals amid the currently trending de-escalation of the confrontation between the Kremlin and Kiev. The Belarusian government also hopes to gain economic benefits from the Russo-Ukrainian conflict by increasing the penetration of Belarusian products into Ukraine and mediating the penetration of Ukrainian goods to the EEC market and vice versa - Russian goods to the Ukrainian market.
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.