Authorities probe Belarusians’ readiness to pay for country’s stability
At a meeting on employment and migration issues in Belarus, President Lukashenko supported the Internal Affairs Ministry’s idea to introduce a “tax on parasitism”.
It is worth noting that the Belarusian officials have repeatedly made controversial proposals that would pick citizens’ pockets, including the “tax on the officially unemployed”. Amid the crisis in Ukraine, the Belarusian leadership is probing Belarusians’ readiness to pay a hefty price for stability in their country. However, in most cases, the authorities have not fully implemented their initiatives aiming to increase the tax burden on the population by introducing taxes that do not cause an open outrage. On the one hand, some initiatives may be blocked by President Lukashenko, in case of serious perturbations and growth of protest activity. On the other hand, in the face of shrinking government revenues, the Belarusian authorities may implement some tax innovations, ones that will be less painful for the ratings.
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.