“Doctors’ case” will complicate Belarusian experts’ participation in international exchange programs
The Belarus’ General Prosecutor’s Office carries out large-scale inspection of leading medical care staff on corruption suspicions, Narodnaya Volya newspaper reports.
The pressure on the Belarusian doctors will complicate the development of international expert dialogue and exchange programmes in Belarus. Simultaneously, the Belarusian security forces demonstrate a high interest in international cooperation issues.
The newspaper reports, that since early 2013 more than 150 medical healthcare experts, including eminent physicians, were summoned to the prosecutor’s office. The investigation is based on the European Anti-Monopoly Committee’s inquiry materials and refers to the facts of malicious cooperation between state healthcare employees and foreign pharmaceutical companies in public procurement.
In particular, the prosecutor’s office is interested in Belarusian medical specialists’ participation in international seminars and conferences organized with the support of major pharmaceutical corporations. The information about launched criminal cases has not yet been disclosed and the General Prosecutor’s Office refused to comment on the inspection.
On the one hand, whether criminal cases are launched or not, the ongoing inspection will objectively reduce the opportunities for development of international exchange programmes for specialists and government officials in Belarus. In particular, professional exchange programmes making a part of the Eastern Partnership Programme and the “European Dialogue on modernization with Belarusian civil society” and affecting energy, public administration, privatization, and other spheres.
On the other hand, the Prosecutor General’s Office checks, based on the European Anti-Monopoly Committee’s materials, confirm the Belarusian law enforcement agencies’ interest in international cooperation. In particular, On May 20th-24th Minsk hosted a meeting of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, and the international association of financial intelligence services ‘Egmont’.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.