Thursday 19 September 2019 | 14:22

Barys Zhaliba vs. Aleh Volchak: Why do corrupters get back to responsible posts?

05.02.2016  |  Society   |  Aliaksei Jurych,  EuroBelarus
Barys Zhaliba vs. Aleh Volchak: Why do corrupters get back to responsible posts?

The economist Barys Zhaliba and lawyer Aleh Volchak talk about the new practice of returning ex-officials convicted of corruption back from prison to new responsible positions.

Lukashenka has invented a new Belarusan bicycle, says Barys Zhaliba, Professor of Economics, about the situation with pardoning, release, and appointment to senior positions former public officials convicted of corruption. The professor believes that the personnel reserve of the acting authorities has become so exhausted that we have to get new leaders straight out of prison.

Barys Zhaliba told the EuroBelarus Information Service about the reasons and the economic feasibility "of a new personnel policy".

- Belarusan authorities have acquired a new fashion: the former high-ranking officials convicted of corruption, are pardoned, get early release, and get appointed to leadership positions once again. What, in your opinion, has caused a new personnel policy?

- The situation can be described as a new Belarusan bicycle. The first infamous case was the release of the former Chief of "Belneftekhim" Concern Aliaksandr Barouski and appointment him as a new manager of MAZ. People were mocking at him in the Internet, and rightly so.

Now this practice has been continued. The Deputy Prosecutor General Aliaksandr Arkhipau got released and was appointed to be the Chair of the collective farm in Minsk region. Such policy undermines the credibility of prisons and makes them seem meaningless in the people’s eyes. The President releases high officials from the prison, demonstrating super-rational approach: during the economic recession these people can put their brains into practice and improve the well-being of collective farms, for example.

- What Chair of the collective farm the former Deputy Attorney General Arkhipau will make?

- One cannot become Deputy Attorney General without any experience; Aliaksandr Arkhipau has abundant legal practice, he can sort things out, find his bearings in the rural economy, and even improve things in one specific farm. But this is a bad practice; the personnel reserve of the Chairs and managers of collective farms has become so exhausted that we have to get the personnel directly from prisons.

If the person is smart by nature, erudite, and educated (not necessarily in this area), such people can find their bearings. Such pragmatism is present in Belarus.

- If the convicted are hired for leading positions, does it mean that we don’t have highly qualified staff at large?

- Quite rightly so. Lukashenka is switching places of the personnel; we see one and the same faces everywhere; whereas he fears to introduce new progressive people, who do not fully share his guidelines, to the government. If an expert is highly qualified, let them work! Even Putin appointed new people, who didn’t fully agree with him, to the government. Russia has principled independent ministers! But we don’t: we see gray mass of officials lacking individuality, who take notes after Lukashenka’s words on TV. I think that we don’t see any disputes neither in the government, nor in the parliament, even though the truth is born in dispute. Hence, we see the results of such situation in the current Belarus’ "achievements".

***

Aleh Volchak, the head of the center Legal Aid to the Population (Kyiv, Ukraine) talks about the causes and consequences "of the new personnel policy".

- People who get out of prison with the help of the authorities and are put back to new responsible positions have been tested by our system. Now all the flaws, mistakes can be put on their account when the economy completely collapses. Officials are not experts in the sphere they get to work in; therefore, they wouldn’t be able to create competitive enterprises out of loss-making ones. The authorities simply lack personnel to appoint new managers to manage the economy.

All businesses are already at the bottom and went bankrupt, and now the former corrupt officials have reappeared, and they won’t ask for a big salary: for the pardon they were given they are ready to manage these enterprises basically for nothing. The authorities understand that hardly anything can be improved at such enterprises, so let the workers prey on the new chairs for unpaid wages.

How can we appoint former officials implicated in corruption crimes to the leading positions? After all, the verdict on corruption cases contains a direct reference: "... with the deprivation of the right to hold positions related to the implementation of organizational-administrative and administrative duties for 5 years?" Under the law, it is strictly prohibited for them to take up leading positions. Especially because they all were prosecuted for bribery, for spending budget funds for personal purposes, for distortions, for forgery... Are they going to become the law-abiding leaders? Of course, not.

Such tossing around demonstrates that the government just doesn’t know what to do during a severe economic crisis, and to prevent the complete stoppage of enterprises it appoints corrupters as the heads of these enterprises.

- What effect will such “personnel policy” have?

- The IMF will definitely "appreciate" the appointment of the former corrupt officials and won’t give the loan Belarus asks for, as it won’t be sure that the authorities will use the funds as intended.

I call such a policy the "carousel of corrupters". The corruptor will never become a freeloader, because the system will always need people who are ready to go to jail again if something goes wrong. Corruption in the field will become even more widespread, because a corrupter, just as a leopard, cannot change its spots.

New schemes with old friends of how to use budget funds for personal gain will resume. Our system of governance is completely discredited by such decisions not only in the eyes of the voters, but also in the eyes of the investigators, who have put a lot of effort in order to prove the criminals guilty; but now they are released, and put in leadership positions again. The investigation knows that it does paper work rather than stops organized crime.

These appointments are not the last. The return of the former corrupt officials to power will continue.

Other news section «Society»

“It is our big joint work”
“It is our big joint work”
It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The “Agenda 50” campaign was finalised by the Regional Development Forum
The Forum was devoted not so much to the outputs as to the challenges and prospects after the creation and signing of local agendas.
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool
To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
“If a person cannot leave the apartment, he or she does not need an accessible Opera House”
In Stoubcy, they talked about universal design and conducted pilot monitoring of two urban sites accessibility.
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
Local agenda in Valożyn: mission accomplished
"Specificity is different, but the priority is general." In Valożyn, a local strategy for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
How Ščučyn was proceeding towards the solution of problems of people with disabilities
The campaign "Agenda 50" was summed up in Ščučyn, and a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed there.
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
A program to improve the quality of life of people with disabilities was designed in Stolin
The regional center has become the second city in Belarus where the local plan for the implementation of the principles of the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities was signed.
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
“Agenda 50” in Belarus: from strategies to implementation
Representatives of the campaign “Agenda 50” from five pilot cities discussed achievements in creating local agendas for implementing the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
In Stoubcy, a local action plan for the implementation of the Convention was signed
It is noteworthy that out of the five pilot cities, Stoubcy was the last to join the campaign “Agenda 50”, but the first one to complete the preparation of the local agenda.
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
The monitoring of accessibility was presented in Stolin
On May 28, the city hosted a presentation of the results of the project "Equal to Equal" which was dedicated to monitoring the barrier-free environment in the city.
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
“They think if the legs don’t function, neither functions the head.”
In Babruysk, wheelchair users are fighting discrimination.
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
The real work of the Convention depends on all interested communities and organizations
What results has the campaign "Agenda 50" given, what helps to implement the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities in the regions?
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
The Convention is a fight against fears, barriers and stigmata
Experts in Valožyn have determined that the quality of people’s life depends on their awareness.
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
The Convention should become a "living tool”, rather than remaining just an ordinary document
On March 3, members of the campaign "Agenda 50" from different Belarusian cities met in Minsk. The campaign is aimed at the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
The main thing is one’s personal motivation for full active life (PHOTOS)
There are being implemented three projects under the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities campaign in the city of Babruysk.
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
One man does not make a team, but united we are able to do a lot
In Ščučyn, people with disabilities learned to be leaders and to advocate their interests.
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
Barrier-free environment – it is not a ramp, but a means of independence (PHOTOS)
In Stolin, social organizations and local authorities are implementing a project aimed at independent living of persons with disabilities, and creating local agenda for the district.
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Polish experts: We say “equality” and you say “inclusion”
Will creation of local agendas be an effective tool in ensuring rights of persons with disabilities in Belarus, just as it was in Poland?
“It is impossible to talk about persons with disabilities separately from the rest of the country”
“It is impossible to talk about persons with disabilities separately from the rest of the country”
The understanding that all people have equal rights has been the basis for social changes, including those related to disability issues, in Poland.
Andrei Yahorau: Everything depends on people in the regions
Andrei Yahorau: Everything depends on people in the regions
A social project "Equal to Equal" has been launched in Stolin district under the campaign "Agenda 50".
Gintautas Mažeikis: The relation of political field and arena in the framework of information war

In his report, philosopher Gintautas Mažeikis discusses several concepts that have been a part of the European social and philosophical thought for quite a time.

“It is our big joint work”

It is impossible to change life in cities just in three years (the timeline of the “Agenda 50” campaign implementation). But changing the structure of relationships in local communities is possible.

Shhh! Belarus Wants You to Think It’s Turning Over a New Leaf

Minsk’s muddled media clampdown could jeopardize warming of relations with the West.

Mikhail Matskevich: How to create a local agenda and make it a problem solving tool

To achieve changes, you need to be interested in them and stop pinning all hopes on the state.