Lukashenko’s PR Managers Introduce his Middle Son into the World of Business
On May 16, Dmitry Lukashenko, the middle son of President Lukashenko, and businessman Yuri Chizh were among the Belarusian BelAZ factory delegation to Russia.
The method chosen to introduce Dmitry Lukashenko into public life proves that this was an initial step to appointing him as curator of a major Belarusian business. Dmitry has been described by Russian journalists as \"a son of the President\". His connection with the BelAZ company and the purpose of the delegation remained a mystery. Nevertheless, the fact that Dmitry appeared in public in the company of a top Belarusian businessman indicates that President’s PR managers are attempting to ascribe him natural and indisputable business qualities. In an interview, Dmitry frankly said that he felt at home in the cab of a BelAZ truck. Lukashenko’s four-year-old illegitimate son Nikolai was introduced into public life in a similar way in 2000. He accompanied Lukashenko at public events and initially kept officially incognito. Then, on a TV programme, he wrote his name on the school board and thus introduced himself to the viewers. The official media avoided asking the President any questions about the birth of his child and simply took it for granted.
The professional interests of 32-year-old Dmitri Lukashenko are far from the production of BelAZ trucks or the mining industry. He heads the Presidential Sports Club and organizes sports events. However, it is clear that he is gradually going into business. The visit of the Belarusian delegation to the Kemerovo region in Russia was a response to the visit of the Kuzbass delegation to Minsk in 2011, in which Dmitry also took part. The President’s eldest son, 36-year-old Victor, is said to be an informal curator of the Belarusian security services. Out of the President’s sons, he remains the most veiled to the public attention.
There are no grounds for treating the actions of the President’s PR-managers as a strategy aimed at adding political weight to his sons. The two elder sons are likely to appear more on Belarusian TV. Also, there is no evidence to suggest that Lukashenko is preparing a successor. At present, Lukashenko does not feel the need to hand over power to anybody in the near future.
According to Decree No. 221 of June 23rd, 2017, deadlines for the completion of foreign trade operations have been extended from 90 to 180 days for exports and from 60 to 90 days for imports. Delayed payments entailed a fine up to 2% of the transaction cost for each day of the delay, but could not exceed the total cost of the transaction. Most companies, when working with new counterparties, require a deferred payment for a period of three to six months. Due to the new regulation, violations are likely to reduce in number, so as the fines. Trade enterprises are likely to expand the assortment list due to the supply of new products in small lots, and the assortment list of exported Belarusian goods could expand, too. The new terms for completing foreign trade transactions would enable medium and small companies on the foreign trade market, exporters and importers are likely to grow in number and the geography of export-import operations could expand.