Quango Belaya Rus offers a pre-election deal
On March 22, in a meeting of the Presidium of the quango Belaya Rus [White Russia], Chairman Mr. Radkov said that during the parliamentary elections in the autumn the organization would support “like-minded” candidates along with candidates affiliated with the organization.
The upcoming election campaign will try the mobilization capacity of Belaya Rus. Mr. Radkov said, the organization intended have an extended impact on the campaign: including appointment of its members to electoral commissions, establishment of election headquarters and agitation.
Such plans are feasible: Belaya Rus has 128 219 members, including senior officials, for instance, Mr. Radkov (Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration), Mr. Guminsky (Vice-Speaker of the Parliament), as well as directors of enterprises and government agencies, where the voting takes place.
Statement of Mr. Radzkou suggests that the scale of participation of Belaya Rus in the campaign will depend on a clear signal from President Lukashenko regarding the most important issue for the organization, namely, its transformation into a political party. That is why during the meeting of the Presidium Mr. Radkov announced the creation of a working group, headed by Mr. Guminsky, which will address the issue of transformation.
For information, all previous attempts of the leadership of Belaya Rus to lobby the issue of transformation were unsuccessful: Lukashenko is not interested in changing the political and particularly electoral system of Belarus.
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.