Belarusian President makes new appointments

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  • 10:41

Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko made new appointments on 21 March.

The head of state appointed:

Leonid Zayats Deputy Prime Minister;

Valery Baranovsky Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary pf Belarus to Nicaragua with concurrent accreditation.

The President also approved the appointment of:

Aleksandr Bykov as Chairman of the Chashniki District Executive Committee;

Aleksei Skraga as Director General of Belarusian Potash Company;

Viktor Filatov as Director General of the Managing Company of Bobruiskagromash Holding Company;

Igor Zhuk as Rector of the Grodno State Medical University;

Alesya Abramenko as Deputy Economy Minister;

Ruslan Varankov as Consul General of Belarus in Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam);

Tatyana Kharlap as Consul General of Belarus in Hong Kong (China);

Mikhail Gurinovich as Head of the Secretariat of the Council of the Republic.

The President outlined the key tasks for Leonid Zayats who was appointed vice premier.

“Frankly speaking, almost all the appointments are unconventional, from my point of view and based on my style of work with the personnel,” the head of state said.

“Your main task is to promote exports. You know it very well. Great opportunities open up in our major markets, Russia and China, and in other countries as well. I think you will do well in your new role,” the President told the new deputy prime minister.

"Your second task (and I say it openly) is to find someone who will take over from you," Aleksandr Lukashenko continued. "Together with the head of the President Administration, please suggest a nominee who will replace you in your post. Meanwhile I would like you to continue working in this post as long as you will deem necessary.”

The head of state did not set the time frame for Leonid Zayats: "I want you to work for a very long time, as long as the Lord allows. But you understand that we are mortal so we must have a replacement. If the President is elected by people, the deputy prime minister is appointed by the President. I would like you to prepare such a replacement."

The head of state thanked Leonid Zayats for agreeing to take the responsible post of deputy prime minister where the workload is great: "This solution is unconventional. Thank you again for agreeing to help in this difficult period which is also a time of great opportunity, primarily in the economic sector that you will supervise.”

The head of state promised the new chief of the Belarusian Potash Company, Aleksei Skraga, that the enterprise will get all kinds of support and assistance.

“As for the Belarusian Potash Company, it took me a long time to make up my mind about new appointments here. I hesitated as I considered your candidacy, because I am not very familiar with you. After all, this is a very demanding job, especially during this period of time. Yet, the prime minister and many others suggested you for this role. I made all the necessary checks and did not find any obstacles for this appointment. If you handle it, you will get all the respect. You can do it,” the head of state said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that Aleksei Skraga is familiar with foreign trade. “You know the economy. It doesn’t matter what product to sell - potash, equipment, weapons… [Aleksei Skraga was head of Belspetsvneshtechnika company]. You know, selling potash fertilizers will be akin to trading in weapons and other special equipment. Everything should be quiet, calm,” the Belarusian leader said.

The President emphasized: “The only requirement for you is to work honestly. All eyes will be on you, and not only my eyes. You know, there are a lot of interested parties in this area. You understand what we are talking about.”

“The devil is not as black as he is painted. You can count on unconditional help and support. You can call me directly, speak if you need to address some issues,” the President assured.

He also noted that the new head of the Belarusian Potash Company should be given contacts of all those who are ready to buy fertilizers from Belarus. “We need to trade everywhere, including in the European Union. They are already complaining that they do not have enough fertilizers. Go ahead and take them. They are nearby. It is necessary to find points of contact and work. Business is business. Sometimes little depends on politicians, especially in the countries around us,” the head of state stressed.

Aleksandr Lukashenko gave a number of instructions to Viktor Filatov, the new director general of OAO Managing Company of the Bobruiskagromash Holding Company.

“Quality is my only request. As a tech-savvy person you know better than I do that we still have things to work on. It is necessary to improve quality a bit in order to get good value for money results. It is necessary to understand that your prime costs will not rise due to the craziness on the market of energy resources, metals, and the rest. Because after all we buy cheaper energy resources, hydrocarbons, and so on than our competitors do, particularly in the West. Prices are higher everywhere than the prices you will pay. This year and the next one,” he said.

Aleksandr Lukashenko said he had been in two minds about transferring the previous Bobruiskagromash head to another position. Nadezhda Lazarevich has been appointed deputy head of the Minsk city administration. “You are great guys after all. According to my information, your company did quite well. And I certainly was afraid of breaking this work. But then again it is a time of great opportunities. Because imported ‘shareholders’ – Germans, Americans, French, and the rest – have left our main markets. We are getting an additional niche. Although you’ve been working quite well as it is,” the President noted.

Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that the new head of the company will always be able to count on Nadezhda Lazarevich’s help and advice if need be. “Invite over there right away. A concrete task. May they work. Because it was my condition. We were going to transfer her but over the course of one year, as long as necessary. So that she wouldn’t step away from things right away. She should provide support and help. If you need it. It is up to you,” he said.

As he was approving the appointment of Aleksandr Bykov as chairman of the Chashniki District Executive Committee, the President pointed out: “You are up to date on things, you know that it won’t be easy and the chairman of the district executive committee will have to work a lot.”

Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “About ten years ago I suggested reviving some structures in district administrations and oblast administrations if things are too difficult and giving them the functions that district committees of the Communist Party used to do: personnel, ideology, and so on. In order to reduce your workload. Nearly everyone said unanimously we shouldn’t do it because you can handle it on your own. You understood correctly that certainly control and pressure would have been greater.”

According to the President, he has abandoned that idea and it is not under consideration now. Practice demonstrated that heads of the district administrations manage to do their jobs. They did their jobs during election campaigns among other things. “The last few campaigns – the heavy presidential one and the not exactly easy referendum one – proceeded decently and beautifully as I always say. The system works, this is why there is no need to break it or introduce some additional areas of work for some bodies to take care of it,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.

On the whole, the President thanked the newly appointed officials for choosing a civil service career in the complicated times. “Guys, I am very grateful to you that you choose public service during this difficult time and become civil servants. Although it seems you’ve been doing good, calm work that the nation and the state need before the appointment as well. But time is very challenging now. This is why I am grateful to you for taking the risk to become civil servants. And you were statesmen enough before the appointment,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.