Prime Minister Myasnikovich lost two Deputies this year. Is he the next one?
Resignation of Sergei Rumas as Deputy Prime Minister further weakens the position of Prime Minister Myasnikovich and his team in the government. If such staffing policy continues, supporters of conservative economic development will hamper market reforms.
On July 31st the President agreed to the appointment of former Deputy Prime Minister Rumas as Chairman of the Board of JSC “Development Bank of the Republic of Belarus”.
Occupying the Deputy Prime Minister position, Mr. Rumas was one of the main negotiators with international credit organizations such as the IMF and the EurAsEC Anti-Crisis Fund. Therefore, his transfer to head the newly created Development Bank, first of all, weakens the negotiating position of the Government and Prime Minister Myasnikovich.
Moreover, the replacement of the second vice-premier in the Government demonstrates that the President’s Administration replaces supporters of market reforms in the Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich’s team with more conservative officials from the President’s team. In February 2012 Deputy Prime Minister Ivanov from Myasnikovich’s team was appointed as CEO of Belarusian Potash Company and former Minister of Agriculture Mr. Rusy replaced him in the Government in April.
Consequently, further weakening of the Prime Minister Myasnikovich’s position will result in Belarusian economic planning being transferred to the Presidential Administration. In 2011 Myasnikovich’s Government managed to create a competition with Administration in the economic planning, but in November the Administration managed to insist on its conservative scenario for the economic development targets.
Current personnel policy of the Presidential Administration in the Government aims to consolidate these positions and will progress. Therefore, in the medium term, resignation of Prime Minister Myasnikovich could not be ruled out. The most likely candidate for Prime Minister’s post could be Deputy Prime Minister and a former Presidential Aide Alexander Kalinin.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.