Belarusian government tries to appease citizens unhappy with housing privatisation
A presidential decree has been adopted that aims to address the most acute problems with residential housing privatisation, which should be completed by July 1st, 2016. As of January 1st, 2014, 360, 000 apartments still needed to be privatised in Belarus (8.8% of all apartments subject to privatisation). Throughout 2014, about 90% of the population have executed their right to privatisation. However, privatisation of apartments built in the Soviet era is still an issue which strongly resonates in Belarusian society and has a negative effect on the Belarusian authorities’ ratings. People who still live in non-privatised public apartments are those who are largely dependent on state support. With the decree, the government attempted to relieve the tension in this society group in view of the upcoming 2015 presidential elections.
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.