Myasnikovich is lobbying Russian interests

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April 22, 2016 18:18

On the eve of President Lukashenko’s urgent visit to Sochi, Prime Minister Myasnikovich entered the Belarusian-Russian negotiations on Moscow’s side. Nevertheless, it was hardly the PM’s initiative: privatization and investment issues are entirely under the President’s control.

On September 14th, Prime Minister Myasnikovich said that in 2013, Belarus will give priority to Russian investors while implementing the National Investment Programme for at least USD 4.5 billion

Such a frank statement by Myasnikovich before Lukashenko’s visit to Sochi on 15 September,- a visit of great importance for the Belarusian economy - was yet another move in the complex Belarusian-Russian negotiations. It is highly unlikely that Myasnikovich did not agree his statement with the President in advance: otherwise he would be looking at near retirement. Myasnikovich’s statement allows Minsk to make promises without obligations, exercising “good faith”.

With the acute financial situation, and the final stages of the elections campaign in sight, President Lukashenko was forced to make a difficult decision in Russia’s favour. The situation is similar to the one before the elections in 2010, when he signed the agreements on the Common Economic Space.

It is likely that this time round, the decision will be to transfer control over the Belarusian Potash Company to the Russian company “Uralkali”. In particular, on September 13th, Belarusian state TV Channel broadcasted a show about privatization, with obsessive visuals from the “Belaruskali” mines. Also as a result of negotiations for a new potash trader “Soyuzkaly”, Russia will get to own the majority of stakes.

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According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.

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