Belarusian President did not succeed in gaining total control over elite leisure activities
On April 19, President Lukashenko held a meeting on hunting and fishing development, and demanded to improve control at the Belarusian Hunters and Fishermen Society.
Presidential efforts to control forest network in Belarus imply that Belarusian leader is concerned about the opportunities such facilities provide for informal communication inside elite. Hunting and fishing is a little advertised, but important part of life in the Belarusian elite.
For instance, a controversial investigation into illegal hunting in one of forests in the Gomel region in 2009 revealed that then-Defense Minister Yuri Zhadobin, as well as high ranking officials from the KGB and Interior Ministry could be involved in it. Today President Lukashenko is not so much concerned about the illegal hunting.
More importantly, he sends the elite a signal about their leisure and informal contacts being controlled at the highest level.
That is why in 2010 President Lukashenko personally supervised the reform of the Belarusian Hunters and Fishermen Society and in 2012 tried to initiate the creation of a special body to exercise state management in hunting and fishing (during a meeting on 19 April).
However, President’s initiative caused elite’s reaction. Deputy Prime Minister Rumas, who chaired the working group on this issue, reported that the establishment of a single supervisory authority was impractical, and the President was forced to agree.
According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.