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.
The Belarusian authorities regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.