The Belarusian system of governance faces staff shortage
The number of reports in the Belarusian media about the staffing shortage in the government, associated with low salaries in the public administration, has increased.
The devaluation of the national currency in 2011 dropped the wages in the public administration to being among the lowest by the end of 2011 – Br 2.15 million, which is less than in the field of science (Br 2.65 million), education (Br 2.58 million) and healthcare (Br 2.6 million). It had an impact on the prestige of the public services and on the staff outflow. In January - September 2011 more than 12% of employees of the Office of the Council of Ministers have resigned.
The emerging new institutions within the Common Economic Space also affect the outflow of qualified management personnel. For instance, the Eurasian Economic Commission announced a competition for managerial positions (to be filled by July 2012), which is supervised by the Belarusian Government. The creation of the Eurasian Parliament of Russia Belarus and Kazakhstan is being discussed at the level of Russian Presidential Administration. This initiative was well received by the Belarusian House of Representatives, which expressed readiness to expand cooperation between the parliamentary delegations.
All these processes will negatively impact on the loyalty of civil servants to the Belarusian system of governance: similar to the labor migration from Belarus, officials will also “vote with their feet”. So far the government failed to invent a more effective way to counteract such trend, than pay increases. However, a number of commitments undertaken by the authorities on the economic policy, inter alia, cooperation within the Anti-Crisis Fund of the EurAsEC, will make implementation of these measures particularly difficult.
Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.
Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.
For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.
Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.
The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.