Belarusian president resumes populist rhetoric and starts mobilising public sector for local election campaign
President Lukashenka has resumed field trips to mobilise officials in anticipation of the autumn-winter political campaign. In addition, the president is attempting to boost ratings of public institutions through fuelling pay rise expectations in the regions. That said, the authorities have already fulfilled their promise of a pay rise in the key city, Minsk, to relax protest tension.
The president is back in the spotlight of the media with populist talks and focus on the economic activity due to a series of field trips and visits to state-run and successful private companies. Apparently, the authorities are expecting the economic recovery in rural areas and enhanced ratings of public institutions due to additional cash injections.
In addition, the president has promised to raise wages to BYN 1,500 throughout 2018 by raising the income of low-paid workers. Probably, President Lukashenka was prompted to respond to the growing economic inequality in society and the widening gap between high- and low-paid workers, especially in the regions in comparison with Minsk. Earlier, the president attempted to mobilise the leadership in three regions, so as not to derail the harvesting campaign.
That said, the authorities raised people’s wages to USD 500 twice - during the 2010 presidential and the 2012 parliamentary elections after the wave of silent protests in 2011. Not just once the state apparatus and security forces were able to ensure the necessary official results of elections and cope with protests. Apparently, the president’s major task is to boost the ratings of public institutions during political mobilization in society for electoral campaigns.
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.