Lukashenko continues chairing meetings of the “security top brass” club
On February 28, President Lukashenko held a meeting on the state border policy and border security of the Republic of Belarus in 2012. Along with the leadership of the State Border Committee, the meeting was attended by representatives from all law enforcement agencies.
Mr. Lukashenko resumed regular meetings with the security forces officials, started in spring 2011, which implies there is a conflict in the highest circles of power. The first meeting of the “security top brass” club was held after the explosion in the Minsk metro on April 11. After that, the President held meetings with the leadership of the MIA, the KGB, the Prosecutor General, the State Border Committee and other law enforcement agencies twice a month and discussed, inter alia, non-core issues with them: export regulations and labor discipline.
On February 14, the board meeting of the KGB with the President was also attended by the top brass of all law enforcement agencies.
Frequent meetings of the President with the security forces reveal the president’s desire to form one single elite “support team” and as an attempt to overcome traditional interagency conflicts within the law enforcement bodies of Belarus that threaten presidential power.
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.