Alyaksandr Lukashenka has, by his presidential edict, appointed Barys Svyatlow as culture minister.
The 54-year-old Svyatlow, who holds a doctor's degree in philosophy, served as rector of Belarusian State University of Culture and Arts since April 2008, according to the presidential press office.
Dr. Svyatlow and Henadz Davydzka, head of the Belarusian State Television and Radio Company, were named among the most likely candidates for the position of culture minister.
On November 16, Mr. Lukashenka appointed Culture Minister Pavel Latushka to serve as Belarus' ambassador to France.
Mr. Latushka, currently 39 years of age, became culture minister in June 2009 after 14 years of service with the foreign ministry. He has the reputation of being almost the only Belarusian-speaking high-ranking government official.
Alyaksandr Lukashenka insisted that Mr. Latushka had been relieved of the position of culture minister because of his own wish to return to diplomatic service
"There should be no insinuations here," Mr. Lukashenka said. "I'm by no means firing Pavel Pawlavich. He's not a bad minister. But this is his wish. I think that a person has the right to have his own opinion and wishes. And as the head of state, I should try to act in accordance with them and satisfy these wishes, if possible."