Industry requires accelerated devaluation in Belarus
Belarus’ First Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko, who is responsible for industry, said on October 31st that the Belarusian rouble needed to be devalued more quickly.
Since early 2014, the Russian rouble has devalued by more than 30%, which means that Belarusian products have lost their competitiveness on the Russian market. Nevertheless, the National Bank is unlikely to listen to the industrial lobby – it does not plan changes to the currency exchange rate policy, which is tied to the US Dollar and a currencies basket, not to the Russian rouble. In order to help the industry, the National Bank might increase the volume of available loans, the government will restrict wage growth in the economy, and the number of enterprises operating part-time might grow. Devaluation processes in Belarus might accelerate only if the US Dollar weakens against other hard currencies.
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.