Updated at 11:25,18-04-2018

State Personnel Policy: staff and loyalty shortages


Analysis of the President Lukashenkos government staffing policy reform in 2013 shows its two features.

Firstly, officials close to President Lukashenko have increased their influence and so-called Prime Minister Myasnikovich group weakened. Secondly, ruling elites authority is not sustainable and could change rapidly. State powers sustainability is increasingly dependent on President Lukashenko and a small group of his closes health.

In Q1 2013 the most distinct feature of the personnel policy is Deputy Prime Minister Petr Prokopovichs administrative weight sharp increase. In particular, once appointed, he was introduced to 10 different state boards and high level commissions, as a head in 7 of them. Thus, today Prokopovich formally oversees a broad variety of public policy areas: from entrepreneurial development and taxation simplification to industrial modernization and public assets privatization.

Most likely, President Lukashenkos confidence in Prokopovich is due to the crisis of confidence within the ruling group. Empowering one person with numerous responsibilities primarily indicates there is a deficit of loyal and trusted aides. In these circumstances, President Lukashenko has to turn a blind eye to the age and health of 73-year old Prokopovich, who in 2011 had a major heart surgery and retired.

Simultaneously to Prokopovichs strengthening positions, since 2012 Sergei Rumas from Prime Minister Myasnikovich team has been losing his positions in government decision-making. Since early 2013 Rumas, who in July 2012 was appointed Chairman of the Board at Development Bank, was consistently taken out of various inter-agency councils and commissions (state statistics, price control, Logistics, stock trading, international financial reporting standards and others). In this context, Prime Minister Myasnikovichs appointment as Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Development Bank in January 2013 is yet another prove of this trend.

Therefore, Belarus public policy is far more personalistic than clan-based. Influence groups size within Belarusian ruling elite are relatively small and limited to the most senior officials inner circle (the President or Prime Minister), which makes them relatively easily replaceable. On the contrary, confidence deficit significantly increases the burden on officials from the presidents inner circle, increasing managerial risks during crisis or in case of Presidents or his current favourites potential health problems.