Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko made new appointments on 18 September.
The head of state appointed:
Vitaly Vovk Aide to the President of the Republic of Belarus – Inspector for Vitebsk Oblast;
Vasily Markovich Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Latvia;
Alexei Samosuyev Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Finland with a concurrent accreditation to the Kingdom of Denmark;
Vasily Gerasimov Deputy Chairman of the State Control Committee;
Vyacheslav Bril Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Republic of Belarus to the Republic of Cote d'Ivoire with a concurrent accreditation.
The President also approved the appointment of:
Igor Brilevich as Chairman of the Pinsk District Executive Committee;
Alexander Bodanin as Chairman of the Braslav District Executive Committee;
Mikhail Kiselevich as Chairman of the Lepel District Executive Committee;
Valery Rebkovets as First Deputy Chairman of the Brest Oblast Executive Committee;
Boris Yefremov as Deputy Chairman of the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee;
Ivan Markevich as Deputy Chairman of the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee;
Oleg Stolyarchuk as a member of the Vitebsk Oblast Executive Committee;
Dmitry Reutsky as a member of the Minsk Oblast Executive Committee and Minsk City Hall.
While appointing new regional officials, Alexander Lukashenko studied the experience gained by the nominees at their previous posts, the situation on the ground, and progress made in different economic sectors.
“These specialists are not random people. It would be great to have more such people to achieve better results,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
According to Head of the Belarus President Administration Natalya Kochanova, two nominees out of three were selected from the special talent pool compiled recently by the President Administration. The group comprises executives of regional level under 40.
“We need to pass the country on to new hands [the program to train and promote a new generation of promising civil servants] and make sure it remains really independent and sovereign. Not in words but in deeds,” the President noted.
Examining the situation in Pinsk District, the head of state asked about the experience of mergers in the agricultural sector, warning against advancing this process artificially. On the one hand, a bigger enterprise should give an impetus to the enterprise it takes over. On the other hand, it is important not to ruin the both companies. “Make sure there are no artificial mergers, partitions and so on,” the Belarusian leader noted.
“This is a very large district. We need to apply the same approach as we did in Orsha District and look into enterprises. The situation is not as bad as in Orsha. Nevertheless we need to take this approach. Please pay attention to this and take this trend into account. We need to spruce up large cities (we call them medium-sized on the national scale) and, if needed, raise them to a higher level. But the main thing is production. People need jobs and salaries,” the President noted.
Other similar cities include Orsha, Borisov, Baranovichi, Lida, Mozyr, Polotsk, and Bobruisk. “I would like to highlight Pinsk. This is our southern stronghold, especially in terms of population. I will visit you next year, and we will examine the program you will draw up together with the governor. We will either support you or keep you on your toes to make sure we avoid the things that happened in Orsha,” head of state said.
As regards Braslav District, Alexander Lukashenko noted that a lot of decisions had been taken to promote the development of the district.
“These decisions seem to be working more or less. Make sure every piece of land is utilized. I saw this year that it is possible. It is clear that Miory District and Braslav District cannot be compared to Slutsk District. They have other issues – rugged land and lower soil quality,” the President noted.
The head of state recalled that he had suggested promoting farming enterprises more actively in Braslav District taking into account area-specific features. “They listened, but approached it halfheartedly. Therefore, think how to utilize every piece of land,” the Belarusian leader instructed.
Alexander Lukashenko emphasized that northern regions of Belarus are not so well positioned to develop agriculture compared to southern regions. However, northern regions can boast beautiful nature and other things that can be monetized. “We need to advance Braslav District. It is a pearl of our Belarus,” he said.
Lepel District also needs an area-specific approach in agriculture, just like Vitebsk Oblast in general. “Of course, we need to have a clear view what we will do there. We have set out to tackle the situation in Vitebsk Oblast, in particular in agriculture,” the head of state noted.
Alexander Lukashenko revisited the targets related to optimal crop rotation and selection of cultivated crops. “If grain crops do not grow well there, if we cannot sow them and harvest in time, the crop cultivation targets should be revised downwards. Grain cultivation should not be a goal in itself. We should sow as much grain as we need. The rest – grasses, corn – should be cultivated to feed the livestock,” the President noted. The same pertains to pig breeding, poultry farming, and cattle breeding. Priorities and specialization should be clearly determined taking into consideration natural and climatic conditions.
When appointing a new ambassador to Latvia, the President Alexander Lukashenko said that cooperation with Latvia has great prospects.
“You know that we are a landlocked country. So if Lithuania is reluctant to cooperate with us, we should focus on Latvia. We should act in a way that will make this country enjoy working with Belarus. We are decent people, we keep our promises, and they know it. If they meet us halfway across many proposals of ours, they will benefit from it handsomely,” the Belarusian leader said.
“They have realized that not everything is decided in Brussels. Maybe, they are doing well in the European Union. However, not everything can be settled. The European Union will provide support for some time, but after that one should earn money on their own. Together we can do it. The most important thing for us is securing an unobstructed access to the sea through Latvia to our own advantage. We should work in this direction,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
The President noted that Belarus’ relations with Latvia are generally not bad. “They understand that they should live peacefully with Belarus and cooperate with it, because there are many things that keep us together. Latvia’s economy is closely intertwined with Belarus’ economy. We need to come to grips with all this, so we need a competent person there,” he said.
Belarus should adopt Finland’s best economic practices, Alexander Lukashenko said as he appointed a new ambassador to Finland.
“Our positions are bad in Finland. Meanwhile, the country is very interesting for us. Some economic sectors are similar, especially woodworking industry. Belarus definitely needs to learn from Finland’s economic experience. We should work on the political rapprochement. But the most important thing is to have results in the economy,” the Belarusian leader said.
He asked Belarus’ Minister of Foreign Affairs Vladimir Makei whether the new Belarusian ambassadors will cope with their tasks. The minister assured that the professionalism and experience of the diplomats will be a key to efficient work.
Alexander Lukashenk also explained the reasons for the appointment of Vitaly Vovk as the Aide to the President of the Republic of Belarus – Inspector for Vitebsk Oblast.
“Vitaly [Vovk], you should know that there will be much talking everywhere. Some people will be happy, others will be disappointed,” the President said. “But remember that Orsha will remain a priority for you. This is your zone of responsibility. And I think in this position you will have an opportunity to take many issues under control, help solve problems and organize things. The main thing is to use experience there.”
“After the appointment you should do your best to implement the President’s resolutions in Vitebsk Oblast and fulfill your duties regardless of any opinions. Yes, there is a governor with his own tasks in Vitebsk Oblast. Help him if you can and monitor the fulfillment of all instructions regarding the development of Vitebsk Oblast,” the Belarusian leader emphasized.
The head of state said that the post of a presidential aide is equal to a minister, and the post of an inspector is even higher because inspectors are in charge of personnel issues. “It seems that the Presidential Administration has finally realized what personnel work means. I hope for it. Therefore, we need to pay attention to Vitebsk Oblast. It is essential to create a personnel pool there without waiting for other people from Minsk Oblast or Minsk to come and work in Vitebsk Oblast,” the President said.
“I think this work will not be difficult for you with your experience. You used to be a good director of an enterprise [Vitaly Vovk worked as the director of Minsk Wheel Tractor Plant from September 2011 till December 2014]. A very good plant and a very smart person. And now you should do your best for the benefit of Belarus. This is very important for me. It is easy to lose a specialist and very difficult to find or train a new specialist of this caliber. This is an open and honest answer,” Alexander Lukashenko said.
“I do not have any doubts that you have a good head on your shoulders,” the Belarusian leader added.
The President remarked that certain errors made by Vitaly Vovk as a minister did not fully depend on the leader of the industry. “I think that was a lesson for you. And I think your work on this post (maybe not the last post) will benefit the country,” he said.