Belarusian president attempts to shuffle off responsibility for economic failures on public officials
Before April 15th, the Belarusian Government should submit the Draft Socio-Economic Development Programme for 2016-2020 and propose the date to hold the 5th All Belarusian People’s Assembly to the president. Previously, the Assembly was held before the presidential campaigns in order to mobilise state apparatus and public officials. However, due to the failure to implement the decisions of the 4th Assembly and the lack of the vision of socio-economic development in the government, the authorities have abandoned the idea of holding the 5th Assembly before the 2015 presidential elections. Meanwhile, the president has to justify the socio-economic policy for the next five years and present a bailout plan to the population before the parliamentary elections. The Assembly participants and the Government are likely to be prompted to assume responsibility for the failure of the previous five-year development plan in order to reduce pressure on president’s rating.
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.