Lukashenko to restrict Russian presence in Belarus’ economy
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has dismissed statements on Belarus’ unwillingness to implement integration projects with Russia as nonsense.
He made this statement at a meeting with Yaroslavl Oblast Governor Sergei Yastrebov on January 30th. The tension between official Minsk and the Kremlin over the privatisation of Belarusian state property is growing. Privatisation is a condition for signing off a six-month Russian-Belarusian oil balance. The president is wary of the increased Russian presence in Belarus’ economy ahead of the presidential campaign. Lukashenko wants to reduce pressure from the Kremlin by using his long-standing contacts and connections in the Russian regions. In the coming year, Belarus’ government will do its utmost to restrict Russian business from penetrating the Belarusian economy, as it fears that the Kremlin might interfere with the 2015 presidential election.
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.