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September 18 – September 24, 2023
The ruling elite

Lukashenka is cutting back on social benefits in education, and the regime’s enforcers are cracking down on workers in the agricultural sector

The situation has not changed
Lukashenka is cutting back on social benefits in education, and the regime’s enforcers are cracking down on workers in the agricultural sector
Фото: klennik.smoledu.by

The government is aiming to address the shortage of personnel in public organizations by mandating the placement of recent graduates. At the same time, security forces are conducting systematic sweeps of state-owned companies to remove employees who are not politically aligned. The regime’s enforcers are expanding their involvement in reallocating budget resources through an anti-corruption campaign in the agricultural sector.

Lukashenka is setting a trend of reducing social guarantees in the education sector and increasing the obligations of citizens to the state. It’s likely that the government will address the rising personnel shortage by requiring young specialists to undergo mandatory placement. However, this may lead to dissatisfaction among parents and potentially trigger a new wave of young people leaving the country for more favorable educational opportunities in places like the EU or Russia.

The Belarusian leadership intends to enhance the redistribution of human resources through the education system, expand compulsory labor for those who pay, and extend the terms of compulsory labor for state employees and targets. Additionally, educational authorities are imposing substantial fines and compensation on individuals who refuse to comply with mandatory placement.

At the same time, the regime’s enforcers continue their efforts to remove disloyal employees from the public sector, worsening the personnel shortage. In Gomel, bank employees were detained after their smartphones were checked at work. “Hrodnaenergo” is persisting in its efforts to remove employees, even those who are rare specialists.

The ruling class is limiting society’s influence on the education sector by gradually adopting a more Belarusian-style and ideologically oriented approach to the education of new citizens, aligning it with the interests of Lukashenka’s regime. Prosecutor General Shved is advocating for a reduction in the number of English teaching hours and making ideological adjustments to certain textbooks.

Lukashenka does not see any issues with collecting money from parents for school-related expenses. However, centralized management and the state’s interference in various sectors, including education, often result in an imbalanced system due to conflicting decisions. For instance, in 2021, the Minister of Education Karpenko opposed collecting funds through parents’ committees. Statements from top management could push the education system back towards practices of charging fees from parents, potentially causing further societal tension. In the event of excessive public outcry, Lukashenka may have to publicly intervene and appease parents by shifting responsibility for the deviations onto Ministry of education officials and local authorities.

Lukashenka is issuing threats to the government and the agricultural sector for poor performance in agriculture. Security forces have initiated a crackdown on agricultural officials to instill discipline and mobilize the sector following the disappointing 2023 season.

In conclusion, the ruling class is reducing the state’s responsibilities toward its citizens while increasing the role of security forces in managing and controlling public dissent.

 

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.
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