Lukashenko reminded of himself in CIS information space
The main goal of Lukashenko’s speech was to produce a positive information impact in the mass media of the CIS countries, which will be chaired by Belarus from 2013. It is also likely that Lukashenko had as a separate goal to determine the scheduled for the following day address of Russian President Putin to the Federal Assembly.
On 11 December, Aleksander Lukashenko met with the members of the Club of editors-in-chief of the CIS media, the Baltic States and Georgia. The event took place in the framework of the 7th annual European and Asian Media Forum which took place in Minsk on 10-12 December.
The genre of the event-answers to the questions - predetermined also the nature of Lukashenko’s address. As far as the content is concerned, it turned out to be eclectic. Therefore, it should be assumed that the main purpose of this meeting was to create a PR effect in the broad information space of the CIS. Besides, President Lukashenko probably wished to get to this information field a day before President of the Russian Federation Putin, who on 12 December delivered his annual address to the Federal Assembly in Moscow.
In particular, Lukashenko in his responses separately underlined that he sees at the basis of his policy the strengthening of the morality and spirituality in the society, and he said that he wished to build socialism in Belarus along the example of France. On the following day President Putin expressed very similar ideas in his address about the social state and the role of values in the development of the society.
From the statements made by Lukashenko, the support of Kazakhstan on the issue of the formation of a single Euro-Asian Parliament presents the greatest interest: Lukashenko spoke against the creation of this body and demonstrated that Minsk could agree with Astana and together ignore the political interest of Moscow. Thus, the political initiative of Russia to create an Euro-Asian Parliament will be frozen for an indefinite time.
Lukashenko neither gave any reason for speculations about an early resolution of the conflict with the EU and the U.S. The President accused the West of applying the double standards, of an attempt to change in Belarus the constitutional order and to conduct the privatization of the state property in the interest of their business. Finally, Lukashenko once again rejected the suspicion of preparing a successor and made it clear that he would not leave his post.
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.