Parliamentarians start re-election campaign
Statement of Speaker of the Belarusian Parliament Andreychenko implies support to the Presidential Administration during the autumn Parliamentary election campaign. Given that the Belarusian Parliament has no real levers of influence on the economic policy, the statement of the Speaker has only a propaganda implication.
On 26 January while visiting the JSC Poultry Factory “Friendship”, Speaker of the Belarusian Parliament Vladimir Andreychenko said that by the end of the year incomes of Belarusians should reach the end of 2010 level.
There could be only one reason for making such populist statements, i.e. to indicate support to the Presidential Administration during the election campaign, which could guarantee the re-election to the new Parliament. Against the backdrop of the continuing crisis in the world and in Belarus, a 4-year parliamentary mandate becomes a very attractive employment contract. Within the political system of Belarus, status of an MP is associated with minimum liability and the Parliament per se has become a place where Belarusian nomenclature representatives finish their careers.
It is highly probable that Andreychenko’s colleagues in the Parliament will support the Speaker’s populist programme. The more so, some governors have already expressed their wish to take part in such “salary conspiracy”. On January 27, the governor of Mogilev region Mr. Rudnick said that by December 2012 the average wage in the region was expected to increase by 64% as compared with December 2011. Previously, similar plans to ensure an average wage of USD 500 by the end of 2012 have been voiced by Vitebsk region governor Alexander Kosinets.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.