Personnel shifts in the President’s circle: how much longer PM Myasnikovich will stand?
Mr. Tkachev is most likely to be promoted. Temporary uncertainty about his future career increases the probability of further developments in the staffing policy, which weakens the Prime Minister Myasnikovich’s team or results in his resignation.
On August 17, President Lukashenko dismissed his Assistant for Economic Affairs Mr. Tkachev, who was transferred to another job and replaced him with Mr. Prokopovich.
The President did not disclose the reasons for Mr. Tkachev’s transfer which implies he is likely to be promoted. Presidential Aide for Economic Affairs position is of great importance and Mr. Tkachev occupied his post since 2001 and was reporting directly to the President.
Therefore after leaving this position, one would occupy a position which is not less significant. Given Tkachev’s professional background and economic qualifications, for 3 years he was a Deputy Economy Minister, he is likely to be transferred to the Government. If so, the most appropriate administrative post would be the Prime Minister’s chair.
The probability for such personnel decisions is high, given the marked weakening of the Prime Minister Myasnikovich’s position: his deputies were consistently transferred to other posts. Moreover, the ideological and personal conflict between Tkachev and Myasnikovich would not allow them to work together effectively, if, for example, Tkachev was appointed Deputy Prime Minister or Economy Minister.
Tkachev was responsible for the development of projected economic development targets, approved in November 2011, and imposed on Myasnikovich and his Government team. Another position corresponding to Tkachev’s current status in the Administration could be a leading position in the State Control Committee.
Appointment of the former National Bank Head Mr. Prokopovich as Presidential Aide should be regarded, first of all, as Lukashenko’s desire to have a competent and trusted advisor on economics and finance close to him. In 1996-1998 Prokopovich was Deputy Head of Presidential Administration for economic issues.
Contrary to popular believes that Prokopovich is a liberal economist, it should be noted that his main motivation is to lobby the construction industry interests, were he made his main career. This motivation has very special economic effects: for example, his desire to reduce the refinancing rate, to an outsider may appear as market liberalism.
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.