January 28 – February 3, 2019
The ruling elite

The president optimized public spending on education; law enforcers enhance pressure on business and state corporations to replenish the state budget

The situation has not changed
The president optimized public spending on education; law enforcers enhance pressure on business and state corporations to replenish the state budget

The Belarusian leadership further reduced the burden on the state budget by cutting public spending on education. Law enforcers continued to milk business and to threaten state corporate managers with criminal prosecution.

The president held a meeting on the national education system last week where he criticized secondary and higher education curricula. He spoke in favour of simplification of the school curriculum, in particular, in relation to Maths and Biology. In addition, he proposed to reduce higher education costs by reducing the training time to four years, instead of the existing five.

Should these proposals materialize, a reduction in Maths and Biology teaching staff is likely to retain pay rises for the remaining staff. The president further emphasized the need to make training more practical and labour-focused. That said, President Lukashenka reassured teachers and parents who were often discontent with frequent changes in approaches, that there were no plans to reform the education system. In many cases before, changes in education approaches were introduced without broad public debates, which made large social groups discontent.

Last week, law enforcers detained Vyacheslav Bursky, CEO at BelOMO state holding. In Novogrudok, the hearing of a criminal case against former director of the Neman glass plant started. Furthermore, law enforcers demanded some BYN one million from businessman Yury Averyanov and his top managers as a compensation for damages to the state. The Prosecutor General’s Office announced that 63 persons were involved in the so-called ‘case of doctors’, including owners (founders), managers and employees of commercial health organisations.

The state requires additional funds to implement the projected industrial modernization in the regions. Despite National Bank’s concerns about the fate of loss-making state giants, the Belarusian leadership decided to allocate BYN 2.4 billion until 2023 to implement the Orsha District Regional Development Programme. In the past, the president repeatedly lashed out at public managers for their failures in the industrial modernization in Orsha.

Law enforcers are likely to retain their leading positions in the redistribution of dwindling public funds. In addition, the authorities have set de facto forbidding prices for political protesters on state services during mass rallies.

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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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