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.
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.