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.
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.