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The Belarusian Parliament may allow relatives to occupy public office

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April 22, 2016 17:48

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. 

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The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.

Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.

Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.

In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.

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