Leadership change in the official Union of Poles in Belarus
The most likely reason for the resignation of Stanislav Semashko is related to his inability to organize the efficient operation of UPB, especially during a crisis of the Belarusian-Polish relations in 2011.
On January 14, the Main Board of UPB accepted resignation of the Union Chairman Stanislav Semashko, offered by him on January 5. The Deputy Chairman and Head of the Minsk Regional Division of Poles Mechislav Lysy was appointed an Acting Chairman. The new Chairman should be elected at the Congress of the Union, which can be extraordinary, according to M. Lysy.
During the work and especially after the December 19, 2010 Semashko made ??some loud statements and announced several initiatives in the UPB work, but did not show significant results, and thus authorities no longer needed him. It is also very likely to be a personal initiative of Semashko, who got into the "black list" of banned to entering the EU in 2011, which threatened his business interests. Political reasons for the resignation are unlikely.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.