Minsk aspires for deeper economic cooperation with Kyiv

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November 14, 2016 11:09
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Minsk chooses to develop economic cooperation with Ukraine while keeping low-key political contacts with Kyiv. The Belarusian leadership aims to keep some distance from the Kyiv authorities in order not to provoke tension in relations with the Kremlin, especially in foreign policy, military cooperation and on international markets. The Belarusian authorities would rather develop long-term, stable and conflict-free economic relations with Kyiv without political rapprochement.

Belarusian Vice-Premier Vladimir Semashko said that Minsk and Kyiv had agreed to remove trade barriers.

Despite the fact that Minsk and Kyiv have stepped up contacts in recent years, Belarusian-Ukrainian political relations are less intense than attempts to develop a dialogue with the European Union and the United States, or than cooperation with Moscow. In the public rhetoric, the Belarusian leadership mentions Ukraine rather rarely.

Meanwhile, both, the Belarusian and Ukrainian authorities seek to avoid possible tension in bilateral relations. For example, following a note from the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, President Poroshenko initiated a telephone conversation with President Lukashenka to resolve the incident with the Belavia civil airliner.

Due to differences in foreign policy priorities and tension in Russo-Ukrainian trade relations, the Belarusian leadership is able to gain from cooperation with Kyiv. Minsk reckons that the Ukrainian market recovery will enable to reduce the export dependence on Russia and to offset the contraction of the Eurasian market for Belarusian products. In addition, the Belarusian authorities count on the interest of Ukrainian business to gain access the EEU market through cooperation with Belarus.

In sum, Minsk is likely to cooperate with Ukraine in trade and economy, while preserving modest bilateral political contacts.

 

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President ensures continuity of state administration with young middle-level personnel
October 02, 2017 12:08
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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.

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