The Belarusian Parliament may allow relatives to occupy public office
President Lukashenko is forced to take measures to ensure the loyalty of his subordinates. Moreover, the controversial legislation amendment as usual could be used while bargaining with the West about the rule of law.
Realizing that the inevitable budget cost cutting will result in decreased wages of civil servants and increased discontent among the staff, the authorities open up new career opportunities for the officials and their families. If approved, the amendments will legalize nepotism in the public service and will unite the state apparatus to a greater extent, reducing the likelihood of internal strife of nomenclature – that is the apparent logic of this legislative initiative.
Nepotism is traditional for the Belarusian state. This is true not only for the top level officials, for instance, President Lukashenko is working hand in hand with his elder son Victor (Assistant for National Security), but also for the lower level officials. Namely, in 2008 the inspection held by the Presidential Administration revealed a number of regions with “family nests” of hereditary officials who shared managerial and business positions.
Nepotism is traditional for the Belarusian state. This is true not only for the top level officials, for instance, President Lukashenko is working hand in hand with his elder son Victor (Assistant for National Security), but also for the lower level officials.
It is very likely that the amendments will be approved by the Parliament. There is no fight for property among the officials in Belarus per contra the state tends to close ranks of officials, while selling the most profitable assets on ad hoc basis. Therefore, in the given circumstances, the most logical bonus for the civil servants is not to have the opportunity to do business, but vice versa, to be able to continue to serve and guarantee a public career to their loved ones.
Finally, as it often happens in Belarus, the amendments to the Law could provoke a critical reaction of the international community. In this case, they might become an additional stake in the negotiations between Belarus and the West on liberalization and democratization.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.