Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made new appointments on 5 April.
The head of state appointed:
Vitaly Drozhzha Forestry Minister of Belarus;
Vladimir Zhevnyak Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration;
Irina Akulovich Director General of BelTA News Agency.
According to Alexander Lukashenko, though there were many candidates for the Forestry Minister position, he did not want to delay the appointment. “You know better than me that the forest cannot be neglected even for a week,” the President stated.
Vitaly Drozhzha’s advantage is that he is new to the Forestry Ministry’s senior staff, Alexander Lukashenko added. “You are not tied to any circles. You have not gone finishing or hunting with anyone here. This is why you have a clean reputation and good experience. Act and don’t look around. If anyone wants to get you into something wrong, please find an opportunity to inform me about it. By no means should you ever join some schemes. Everything should be honest,” the head of state remarked.
The President stressed that control has been increasing over the work of the heads of the Belarusian government bodies and agencies, especially members of the government and ministers. “Make sure everything is done in a decent and honest way. We have been increasing control over the work of the heads of government bodies and agencies, especially members of the government and ministers, because some people have got too far. We deal with them immediately,” Alexander Lukashenko underlined.
When appointing Vladimir Zhevnyak as Deputy Head of the Belarus President Administration Alexander Lukashenko said: “We need to build a good system in the sphere of ideology. We need a system to work with people directly. We also need to update it. Because going to talk to labor collectives, to have a dialogue with them is very important. It is necessary to always talk to people. But it is not enough today. One cannot talk to all the workers and to ten million people. But everyone starting with the President and ending with the heads of enterprises should take care of ideological work. You will have to work with the head of the administration and your subordinates to reshape the system.”
The President remarked that they had been searching long and hard for a person able to fill this position taking into account peculiarities of ideological work. “Such people are unique. They are few and far between. There are only a handful of them. If we talk not only about your administrative work, but ideological work, too. A very delicate approach is needed in this regard,” stressed Alexander Lukashenko.
The head of state told Vladimir Zhevnyak: “One can say you are a military man. Such people never leave the army behind. It is good, too. We have already talked too much about various matters instead of simply going and doing something, building a system and making demands. In order to make it beautiful and good. And we already need to talk less and act more.”
Alexander Lukashenko underscored the need to work together in these areas with other high-ranking officials of the Belarus President Administration. At the same time he mentioned it is important to have one’s own opinion on various matters. “After your appointment you will have only one boss — the President. If you disagree with the head of the administration on something — it is difficult to not agree with her, she has state interests at heart — if the President’s press secretary starts dropping hints for you, you should have your own point of view,” said the head of state. “If they tell you things that fit judging from our life, then go ahead and implement them. If you disagree, pick up the phone and tell me. Because your errors — if you commit any — will be solely your errors. Not errors of the head of the administration, not errors of the press secretary or heads of BelTA, television or radio channels. Those will be your errors. It is probably the most difficult position with the most difficult kind of work.”
The President also noted that they had been considering getting rid of the position of the deputy head of the Belarus President Administration in charge of ideology and shifting the workload onto the first deputy head of the administration. “But frankly speaking, I and the head of the administration don’t like the idea today. We need someone, who knows how to talk to people and will talk to them. We need someone, who will take care of mass media, organize them, and see to other matters concerning the ideology of our state. It is ideological work, it is the main thing,” stated the Belarusian leader.
It was noted that the new deputy head of the Belarus President Administration will have to oversee ideological work, mass media, and public organizations. In turn, the first deputy head of the administration will continue overseeing education, culture, sport, and international affairs.
When appointing Inina Akulovich as the BelTA Director General, Alexander Lukashenko said that BelTA should reach new heights in its development.
The President said: “If there are any problems and so on, you will often run into the president. Tell me directly then or via the press secretary or the Head of the Belarus President Administration. But instead of simply continuing the trend set by [BelTA’s previous director general Dmitry] Zhuk before your time I would like you to advance the agency to new heights. I think you will manage to accomplish it. It is good that you’ve risen from lower ranks. It is very good. You will feel the nation’s mood even better than I do although I get to meet people all the time.”
“I wouldn’t say your job will be difficult. I would like it to be just another step where we can, frankly speaking, see your work here because your work in Mogilev is one thing and your work here is a totally different thing,” noted Alexander Lukashenko. “Moreover, it is a mass media outlet. You are going to hear a lot of criticism. You will hear things you didn’t know about yourself in the past. You will have to calmly deal with it.”
“Your know the policy of the state and the President. Since you accept this job, it means you support the policy. I am not talking about the President but about the policy you and I should implement as of today in order to preserve the country, its independence, and sovereignty. We need this land to be ours, to be the land of our children and grandchildren, the land of all the people, who live here today,” added the Belarusian leader.