Who may take over Makiej’s chair?
Only Makiej’s office is said to share the same floor with the President’s one. The head of the Presidential Administration is one of the closest to the President persons.
The appointment of Uladzimir Makiej in 2008 was met with enthusiasm: there was a "thaw" after it.
The economy was liberalized, "witch hunting" was mitigated and political prisoners were released. The EU–Belarus relations were improved. Even Berlusconi and Grybauskaite paid the visit to Minsk. And it all was said to be the achievements of Uladzimir Makiej.
But then came the 19th of December, 2010. After the winter events, Makiej tried to contact Europe via his old connections: his German colleague told about this. However, Makiej made several harsh statements on sanctions and political prisoners this year. It showed he was not an angel.
Now, the new talks on the normalization of Belarus–EU relations have arrived, and this mission, probably, requires a new person. But normalization is not the point. The point is rotation: Lukashenka do not like keeping officials on the positions that do not require special knowledge or skills. He keeps them "fit" this way.
And if here comes the rotation, who will replace Makiej?
Before becoming the chief of the Presidential Administration, Makiej was a presidential aide. Of all presidential aides, Valiancin Rybakou looks the most suitable candidate. His career resembles the career of Uladzimir Makiej. Rybakou, a graduate of Minsk State Linguistic University, was an ambassador at large. Rybakou was appointed the presidential aide in 2006. However, he seldom went public, just like Makiej. The former colleagues of Rybakou say he and Makiej make a pair. Rybakou is also said to be a brilliant interpreter, what explains his being close to Lukashenka.
Wikileaks has recently published dozens of diplomatic dispatches mentioning Rybakou. He was the person to contact the US Embassy. It is possible that he has also contacted with Europeans, too.
Furthermore, Rybakou has made several public statements recently while he preferred to keep in the background. If such a replacement is going to take place, then it will be a technical one.
Other pretenders for the high position among the presidential aides may be Natallia Piatkievich and Viktar Lukashenka.
However, the candidacy of Natallia Piatkievich is hardly possible even considering the fact she has already had the experience of work in the Presidential Administration and has been Makiej’s deputy. However, she is banned to travel to the EU and the USA, so it will probably be difficult for her to negotiate.
Lukashenka’s son Viktar also might be considered as the future head of the Administration. Some also mentioned the ex-presidential aide on economy Tkachou, but here is a place reserved for him in the government.
Another clever guess would be saying that some of Makiej’s deputies could take over his position. If so, let it be Aliaksandr Radzkou, the Chairperson of governmental NGO Bielaja Rus, the organizer of signature collecting campaign for Lukashenka in 2010.
When Padzkou was the Minister of Education, the History of Belarus ceased being a Belarusian-language subject, and dozens of students became expelled due to political reasons. Still, Radzkou has never been independent in decision-making.
By the way, Andrej Tur is also known as "weathercock": he acts according to the wind blowing from the very top.
If we take into account not the EU possible preferences but Russia’s one, Moscow would probably be in favour of appointing Vadzim Zajcau, the chief of the Committee for State Security. He can be accuses neither of supporting Belarusian nationalism, nor of pro-European sentiments: in the EU “black list” he is holding one of the top lines.
Minister of Economy Mikalaj Snapkou was sitting next to Lukashenka during his address to the Nation in May. He came to the Presidential Administration in 2009 and just in five months became the Minister of Economy not holding any top position previously. Analysts call Snapkou the advocate of market economy. Snapkou was born in 1969. All six ex-heads of the Presidential Administration are the generation of the 1950’s. Snapkou could become the Prime Minister in the future, but this way up might also be done through the Presidential Administration.
Rachkouski and Dauhaliou
If we look at the military, Ihar Rachkouski, the ex-head of the Customs Committee and a protégé of Viktar Lukashenka seems the right man. He has been recently dismissed from his position over the teddy bear drop, but he is not to blame, is he? However, after such celebrated dismissals, Lukashenka usually takes his times before letting a reliable person to be back at top position again.
The former Belarus Ambassador to Russia Vasil Dauhaliou was also considered a possible option, but he has received a position in Belgazprombank recently.
The previous heads of the Presidential Administration were Lieanid Sinicyn, Mikhail Miasnikovich, Viktar Shejman and Hienadz Niavyhlas.