Lukashenko posts top brass members on civil positions
Belarusian President keeps the dismissed members of the top brass in the public service: Lukashenko’s main goal is to minimize political risks if economy destabilizes and to secure his own power.
On October 31st, President Lukashenko appointed former Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations A. Shamko as Sports and Tourism Minister, and nominated former State Border Committee Chairman I. Rachkovski for the First Vice-President of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus.
The main goal of the President’s personnel policy is to improve the manageability of the state apparatus and to reduce risks in case of financial crisis recurring in Belarus. Law enforcement staff, from the State Border Committee, the KGB, the Presidential Security Service, Interior Ministry, and others, who are better disciplined compared with civilians, and also the most dangerous for Lukashenka’s family (if he loses control over them) fit this purpose the best.
Publicly the President explains his staffing policy by “discipline and honesty” of the law enforcement officers, who are supposedly less prone to corruption. Chief Curator for sports in Belarus has become Vice Prime Minister A. Tozik (former Chairman of the State Control Committee). Lukashenko has publicly procrastinated former (civil) leadership of the Sport Ministry and NOC, inter alia, accusing them of corruption, which has been aired on the national television. Rachkovsky’s nomination (he was sacked last summer in connection with the so-called ‘teddy bear drop’), was likely due to Rachkovsky’s friendship with the President’s eldest son Victor.
Finally, there is a ‘historical’ reason for Lukashenko’s behaviour. It has been frequently noted, that after the 2010 presidential election, security forces have increased their influence in the government, first of all, - according to the official version – because they prevented the “coup d’etat”, secondly, they detected terrorist attack in the Minsk metro in a field investigation and prevented a ‘social networks revolution’ in Belarusian cities, etc. The law enforcement agencies have the right to count on some favours from the President, for their - albeit controversial - achievements. And Lukashenko has to provide them with such favours.
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.