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Government shakeup and international space congress – Belarus State Press Digest

Belarus hosts 21st International Space Congress. Alexander Lukashenka visits Uzbekistan. Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei welcomes the new Russian Ambassador. Lukashenka shakes the government amid the poor inspection of the Orsha region. New Prime Minister Siarhei Rumas names the key...
Belarus space program

Belarus hosts 21st International Space Congress. Alexander Lukashenka visits Uzbekistan. Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei welcomes the new Russian Ambassador.

Lukashenka shakes the government amid the poor inspection of the Orsha region. New Prime Minister Siarhei Rumas names the key obstacles to Belarusian-Chinese economic cooperation. Lukashenka promises to modernize Uzbekistan’s Soviet military equipment.

Hrodna and Homiel celebrate their anniversaries. All of this and more in the latest edition of State Press Digest.

Politics and foreign relations

Lukashenka reshuffles the government amid the unsuccessful inspection of the Orsha region, reports the official Internet Portal of the President of Belarus. According to Lukashenka, the major faults of the fired officials included the “over relying on the market hand” as well as the “inclining to the fast privatization of state assets”. Nevertheless, Lukashenka’s new appointments also possess close ties to the “market hand”. In particular, the top-banker Siarhei Rumas became the new Prime Minister and the Deputy Minister of Economy Pavel Utiupin became the Minister of Industry.

Alexander Lukashenka visits Uzbekistan, reports Belarus Segodnya newspaper. On 13-14 September Alexander Lukashenka met Shavkat Mirziyoyev, the President of Uzbekistan. Lukashenka and Mirziyoyev conducted talks on political and economic cooperation, including boosting Belarusian investment into Uzbekistan and creation of joint enterprises. According to Lukashenka, Belarusian-Uzbek relations reached a “new quality level”. Shavkat Mirziyoyev, in his turn, ordered to create favourable business conditions for Belarusian enterprises.

Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei meets the Russian Ambassador Mikhail Babitch, reports Belarus Segodnya. On 11 September, Uladzimir Makei held a meeting with Mikhail Babitch, the newly appointed Russian Ambassador to Belarus. Makei and Babitch discussed the strengthening of strategic relations between Minsk and Moscow and the improvement of inter-state integration processes.

Alexander Lukashenka congratulates Petro Poroshenko with Ukraine’s Independence Day, reports the official Internet Portal of the President of Belarus. In his address to Poroshenko dated 24th August, Lukashenka expressed hope on further intensification of Belarusian-Ukrainian cooperation.

Economy

Lukashenka expects the growth of Belarusian-Iranian turnover up to 1 billion, reports Belarus Segodnya. On 7 September, Alexander Lukashenka conducted talks with Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Parliament of Iran, on Belarusian-Iranian economic cooperation. Lukashenka praised “excellent” political Belarussian-Iranian relations, yet regretted the low scale of economic cooperation. According to Lukashenka, instead of 300-400 million, Belarusian-Iranian turnover could “easily” reach 1 billion, should both sides follow “strictly” the agreed inter-state trade agenda.

Hrodna Belarus

Hrodna celebrates its anniversary. Source: vgr.by

Prime Minister Siarhei Rumas names the key obstacles to Belarusian-Chinese economic cooperation –  reports Belarus Segodnya. On 7 September, the newly appointed Belarusian Prime Minister Siarhei Rumas met Chinese Ambassador Cui Qiming to discuss the actual state of economic cooperation.

According to Rumas, while the political relations between Belarus and China stayed “extremely good”, the inter-state trade relations suffered at times. Among the key obstacles to Belarusian-Chinese trade Rumas named financial barriers faced by Belarusian companies at the calculation stage and the recent quarantine restrictions for Belarusian agricultural products.

Belarus and Russia slowly limit transactions in US dollars, reports Soyuznoye Veche newspaper. According to the interviewed experts from the banking sector, the de-dollarization process has slowly begun in Belarus and Russia and cannot reverse. The experts maintain that further de-dollarization should strengthen Belarusian and Russian economies.

Security

Lukashenka promises to modernize Uzbekistan’s Soviet military equipment, reports Belarus Segodnya. The parties reached the respectable agreement during Lukashenka’s visit to Uzbekistan on 13-14th September. Apart from that, Lukashenka assured Mirziyoyev of Belarus’s capability to establish military equipment modernization plants in Uzbekistan.

Minsk hosts the 21st International Space Congress, reports Soyuznoye Veche. On 9-15 September, Minsk hosted the 21st International Space Congress – one of the world’s major conferences on space exploration. In his address to the participants of the Congress, Alexander Lukashenka expressed satisfaction with the development of space industry in Belarus, reports Belarus Segodnya. According to Lukashenka,

We successfully produce high-resolution optical systems for satellites, cosmic mirrors with special smoothness, and equipment for remote sensing. […] We also plan cooperation with the international program “Sirius”.

Apart from that, Belarusian scientists intend to participate in Moon’s exploration programs and develop medicines for space use.

Homiel Belarus

Homiel celebrates its anniversary. Source: https://newsgomel.by

Russian MGIMO withdraws the scandalous monography with a violent prognosis for Belarus, reports Belarus Segodnya. MGIMO’s monography “The world in the 21st century: the forecast of international security development by countries and regions” issued in September contained a violent prognosis for Belarus.

According to the monography, Alexander Lukashenka had to “be removed beforehand” as “not pro-Russian enough” in order to avoid the repeat of the “Crimea scenario” in Belarus. Due to the upheaval of public discontent, MGIMO immediately apologized and stopped the monography’s circulation.

Culture

Brest hosts an international theatre festival, reports Brest Courier newspaper. On 11-16 September, Brest hosted international theatre festival “Belaya Vezha”. The spectators watched 28 theatrical performances from 10 countries. The festival’s Grand-Prix award went to Kyiv’s academic dolls theatre.

Hrodna celebrates its 890th anniversary, reports Vechernij Hrodna newspaper. On 15 September, Hrodna celebrated its 89oth anniversary with food courts, dances, music, and fireworks. Founded in 1128, Hrodna played an important role in the Belarusian history. So far, Hrodna remains one of the most influential cultural and economic centres of Belarus.

Homiel celebrates its 876th anniversary, reports Gomielskie Vedomosti newspaper. On 15 September Homiel celebrated its 876th  anniversary with concerts, processions, and festivals. Founded in 1142, Homiel got seriously affected by the Chernobyl disaster in 1986. Nevertheless, Homiel actively develops as an important Belarusian regional centre.

The State Press Digest is based on the review of state-controlled publications in Belarus. Freedom of the press in Belarus remains restricted and state media convey primarily the point of view of the Belarusian authorities. This review attempts to give the English-speaking audience a better understanding of how Belarusian state media shape public opinion in the country.

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Olga Hryniuk
Olga Hryniuk
Olga Hryniuk holds degrees from Coventry University and the European Humanities University. She is based in Minsk, Belarus.
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