Belarusian authorities show willingness to suppress anti-Russian activity
A rally has been held in Minsk in support for 25-year-old Eduard Palchis, an alleged author of www.1863x.com. This popular online resource published political texts with sharp anti-imperial statements and criticism of the Belarusian authorities and the opposition, primarily for their pro-Russian actions. The author worked on the website anonymously under the pseudonym John Silver. Previously, Eduard Palchis had attempted to escape from prosecution by the Belarusian authorities and was detained while crossing the Ukrainian-Russian border. In the Russia, Palchis also faced criminal charges. Palchis was extradited to Belarus in late May. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities are willing to suppress activities of anonymous activists who not only sharply criticize the Belarusian leadership, but also make anti-Russian statements.
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.