“Doctors’ case” will complicate Belarusian experts’ participation in international exchange programs

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April 22, 2016 18:31

The Belarus’ General Prosecutor’s Office carries out large-scale inspection of leading medical care staff on corruption suspicions, Narodnaya Volya newspaper reports.

The pressure on the Belarusian doctors will complicate the development of international expert dialogue and exchange programmes in Belarus. Simultaneously, the Belarusian security forces demonstrate a high interest in international cooperation issues.

The newspaper reports, that since early 2013 more than 150 medical healthcare experts, including eminent physicians, were summoned to the prosecutor’s office. The investigation is based on the European Anti-Monopoly Committee’s inquiry materials and refers to the facts of malicious cooperation between state healthcare employees and foreign pharmaceutical companies in public procurement.

In particular, the prosecutor’s office is interested in Belarusian medical specialists’ participation in international seminars and conferences organized with the support of major pharmaceutical corporations. The information about launched criminal cases has not yet been disclosed and the General Prosecutor’s Office refused to comment on the inspection.

On the one hand, whether criminal cases are launched or not, the ongoing inspection will objectively reduce the opportunities for development of international exchange programmes for specialists and government officials in Belarus. In particular, professional exchange programmes making a part of the Eastern Partnership Programme and the “European Dialogue on modernization with Belarusian civil society” and affecting energy, public administration, privatization, and other spheres.

On the other hand, the Prosecutor General’s Office checks, based on the European Anti-Monopoly Committee’s materials, confirm the Belarusian law enforcement agencies’ interest in international cooperation. In particular, On May 20th-24th Minsk hosted a meeting of the Eurasian Group on Combating Money Laundering and Financing of Terrorism, and the international association of financial intelligence services ‘Egmont’.

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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.

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