Myasnikovich visits Azerbaijan
On 7-8 July a governmental delegation headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. During the visit the Prime Minister met with President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Artur Rasi-zade, inter alia with other officials and business representatives.
The Belarusian government and Prime Minister Myasnikovich continue gaining political weight and effectively assumed the functions of the Foreign Ministry. Each new foreign visit, organized by a team of Myasnikovich, serves to improve the international confidence in the government, which is carefully transformed into a major center of the country’s negotiations with the East. Bearing in mind the fact that Belarus hopes to come out of financial crisis with the assistance of foreign financial aid, the improvement of international credibility will result in increased domestic political impact of the Prime Minister’s new team.
While organizing the visit to Azerbaijan, press service of the government has particularly emphasized that the visit was taking place following an invitation of the Azerbaijani side, thereby the PM team sets off its bargaining authority against the Administration. The development of the Eastern policy by the government is a particularly positive move against the background of the de facto international isolation of Lukashenko and of his closest colleagues in the Presidential Administration. Development of the Eastern policy is virtually the only available direction, given visa ban on the majority of them.
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.