The Belarusian system of governance faces staff shortage
The number of reports in the Belarusian media about the staffing shortage in the government, associated with low salaries in the public administration, has increased.
The devaluation of the national currency in 2011 dropped the wages in the public administration to being among the lowest by the end of 2011 – Br 2.15 million, which is less than in the field of science (Br 2.65 million), education (Br 2.58 million) and healthcare (Br 2.6 million). It had an impact on the prestige of the public services and on the staff outflow. In January - September 2011 more than 12% of employees of the Office of the Council of Ministers have resigned.
The emerging new institutions within the Common Economic Space also affect the outflow of qualified management personnel. For instance, the Eurasian Economic Commission announced a competition for managerial positions (to be filled by July 2012), which is supervised by the Belarusian Government. The creation of the Eurasian Parliament of Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan is being discussed at the level of Russian Presidential Administration. This initiative was well received by the Belarusian House of Representatives, which expressed readiness to expand cooperation between the parliamentary delegations.
All these processes will negatively impact on the loyalty of civil servants to the Belarusian system of governance: similar to the labor migration from Belarus, officials will also “vote with their feet”. So far the government failed to invent a more effective way to counteract such trend, than pay increases. However, a number of commitments undertaken by the authorities on the economic policy, inter alia, cooperation within the Anti-Crisis Fund of the EurAsEC, will make implementation of these measures particularly difficult.
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.