Makey has so far served as head of the Presidential Administration of Belarus. Jurkonis points to the fact that "formally, Makey was demoted."
"Optimists say it's a signal to Brussels that Belarus is looking in the EU direction as Makey has been called one of the supporters of rapprochement with Brussels in the neighboring country. Braver ones even call him one of the ideologists of the 2008-2010 liberalization," Jurkonis told BNS on Monday.
"Nevertheless, one has to realize that the country has one and only ideologist and decision-maker - Alexander Lukashenko. Therefore, it would be too early to consider this replacement as an indication of moving closer to Europe. Yes, Makey is considered to be a more liberal official than Martynov, but even the ministerial position has clear limits in Belarus, so there should be no major foreign policy changes," he said.
"It's not clear whether it's a consequence of the so-called teddy-bear scandal, preparation for evaluations of the upcoming general election, or real efforts to find stronger channels of communication with Brussels. This replacement will be undoubtedly followed by other decisions revealing real goals behind this individual decision," the political expert of the Eastern European Studies Center said.
Lukashenko's office has so far not explained the decision to replace the foreign minister. The move follows a diplomatic row with Sweden and souring relations with the European Union over human rights situation in Belarus.
Born in 1958, Makey graduated from the Institute of Foreign Languages of Minsk State Pedagogical Institute. He studied at the diplomatic academy of Austria's Ministry of Foreign Affairs between 1992 and 1993.
Makey has held various official positions at Belarus' state institutions. He represented Belarus at the European Council and served as an advisor at Belarus' embassy in France between 1996 and 1999. He served as head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs' board for the cooperation with Europe in 1999-2000.
Makey worked as a presidential assistant since 2000 and was appointed head of the Presidential Administration of Belarus in July 2008.