Minsk not interested in full PACE membership
Last week, Chairman of the House of Representatives Vladimir Andreichenko said that Belarus had intensified her efforts to restore the special guest status in the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe. Official Minsk is nevertheless unwilling to meet conditions for the restoration of the guest status in the PACE and to impose a moratorium on the death penalty, hoping to confine to public debate on this issue. The Belarusian authorities are neither interested in full PACE membership, nor in implementing a number of political commitments. Belarus’ recognition of the jurisdiction of the Court of Human Rights is fraught with additional financial burden if Belarusians gain the right to file claims against the state. Restoring the special guest status in PACE, on the other hand, would significantly level up the Belarusian Parliament’s status on the international arena as a legitimate and democratically elected representative body and eventually would oust the opposition from the settlement process in Belarusian-European relations.
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.