18 Aug 2018 14:15

Lukashenko appoints Sergei Rumas new Belarusian PM, makes changes in govt

MINSK. Aug 18 (Interfax) - Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has replaced the leaders of the government.

The president voiced relevant personnel decisions, the Belarusian presidential press said on Saturday.

Sergei Rumas, who had headed the Development Bank until now, has been appointed the Belarusian prime minister.

Andrei Kobyakov held the prime ministerial post until now. He was the seventh prime minister in history of the sovereign Belarus. He headed the government since December 2014.

In addition, Alexander Turchin, who had previously headed the office of the Council of Ministers, was appointed the first deputy prime minister. Vasily Matyushevsky held the post before him.

Igor Lyashenko has been appointed deputy prime minister. "He [Lyashenko] is on a trip now, he was informed about the situation. He will be in charge of the issues, which Vladimir Semashko used to deal with. Igor Lyashenko headed the Belneftkhim concern until now," Lukashenko said.

Vladimir Kukharev was also appointed deputy prime minister. He headed the State Monitoring Committee until now. "He will be in charge of construction, utility services, transport. This is the basis," the president said. Anatoly Kalinin was in charge of this sector until now.

"And then the government determines how you divide these duties," Lukashenko said.

Igor Petrishenko, who had been the Belarusian ambassador to Russia before that, has been appointed another deputy prime minister. He will be responsible for the social sector: healthcare, education, culture, and sports. Vasily Zharko headed this post before; the president criticized him for corruption in healthcare earlier this week.

Dmitry Mikulenok was appointed architecture and construction minister.

Pavel Utypin, who was a deputy economy minister before, has been appointed industry minister. "You know this sector. I believe, you worked in it for about five years. And that's a good thing you also worked at the Economy Ministry. It will be just wonderful for your new job," the Belarusian leader said.

Konstantin Shulgan, the deputy head of the Presidential Operative Analytical Center, was appointed communications and informatization minister. "[He's] a disciplined, military man, who knows this field very well, and especially development prospects, related to information technologies, creating a significant gravity in the IT field," the president said, describing the new minister. Sergei Popkov headed the Communications Ministry before.

Dmitry Krutoy, who was the first deputy economy minister, will now head the Economy Ministry. "I would really like the Economy Ministry, which you have examined well, to acquire a new breath and be adapted to a new reality. That's very important," the president said. The ex-Economy Minister is Vladimir Zinovsky.

Roman Golovchenko was appointed the chairman of the State Military-Industrial Committee. He served as the Belarusian ambassador to the United Arab Emirates before that. "You've worked there, you know this field well. It's really good that you'd worked as an ambassador in various countries. And you have everything else to work in the Military-Industrial Committee," Lukashenko said. Oleg Dvigalyov previously headed the committee.

As reported, earlier this week, the Belarusian president had paid a working visit to the Orsha region, where he held a meeting on the comprehensive development of the region. He harshly criticized both the local authorities and heads of the government during the meeting.

Anatoly Cherny and Vitaly Vovk have been dismissed from their positions as architecture and construction minister and industry minister, respectively. Chairman of the Vitebsk Region Executive Committee Nikolai Sherstnev was strictly reprimanded. State Secretary of the Belarusian Security Committee Stanislav Zas and Chairman of the State Military-Industrial Committee Oleg Dvigalyov were warned about the inadequacy of their service.

Lukashenko said on Saturday that personnel reshuffle in the Belarusian government was not only caused by the situation in the Orsha region, but also by disagreements in pursuing the policy of the country's development in general.

"When I adopted the decision in Orsha, many or certain people in the society perceived that as some spontaneous decision. And some thought that maybe the government should not be subjected to such severe criticism for the single event in the Orsha region. So, I want to say it's not only about Orsha," the state news agency BelTA cited the Belarusian president as saying.

"It was the last straw that broke the camel's back. The most important thing is in depth. And you, the people, who are distant from the government, although some of you held these posts, even though not in key roles, understand that there can be no disagreements and discrepancies while pursuing the policy of our country's development," he said.