Lukashenko ignored the CIS Summit in Dushanbe
Belarusian president fails to get the necessary support from the Russian leadership therefore he sent Mikhail Maysnikovich to take part in the Summit. Myasnikovich is accumulating and developing Eastern contacts, however he is also blamed by the president for failures with regard to Russia.
Instead of President Lukashenko Belarus has been represented by Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich at the Anniversary CIS Summit.
A week ago in Sochi President Lukashenko had unsuccessful talks with Russian President Medvedev on the most pressing issues for Belarus therefore he was not interested in meeting him again. In particular, the parties have not agreed about a loan secured by the assets of “Belaruskali” or by the proceeds from the sale of government’s stake in Belarusian enterprises (first of all, “Beltransgaz”).
Therefore at the Summit Belarus has been represented by Prime Minister Myasnikovich, who continues gaining scores as a major Belarusian international negotiator. This Summit was the first highest level meeting he attended and could communicate directly with President Medvedev and other presidents of the CIS countries (the Summit was attended by 8 of 11 CIS presidents).
However, the authority of Myasnikovich is in the rigid frameworks set by the President Lukashenko and his inner circle of power structures. The president has the exclusive right to take decisions about the most crucial issues for the Belarusian economy (privatization, economic reforms). Work of Myasnikovich on the Eastern policy of Belarus will be interfered by the security forces close to the President.
For instance, the action plan made public on 30 August concerning stabilization of the currency market ignored the main requirement set by the main financial partners of Belarus (EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund and the IMF), i.e. to eliminate the multiplicity of exchange rates. Prime Minister Myasnikovich is responsible for negotiations with these organizations. However, the President appointed the State Control Committee and the Security Council, not the Government, as the principal implementers of the plan of action.
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.