Minsk: Belarussian strongman Alexander Lukashenko on Saturday sacked his prime minister as the tightly-controlled ex-Soviet state struggles with the effects of Russia`s economic crisis next door.
Lukashenko dismissed Mikhail Myasnikovich, who had served in his post since December 2010, and appointed his chief of staff Andrei Kobyakov as his new head of government, his administration said.
Lukashenko also replaced the head of the central bank as well as several other top officials including ministers of economy and industry.
Ahead of the cabinet shakeup, Lukashenko issued a stern warning to the government on Friday, saying several officials might have spent too long at their posts.
"That can be fixed," he said.
Although the Belarussian ruble is not officially pegged to the Russian currency, Belarus is highly dependent on its former master Moscow and is hugely sensitive to its economic woes.
The collapse of the Russian ruble this month sparked panic in the neighbouring country, where Belarussians rushed to convert their savings into dollars.
The run on the Belarussian ruble forced the central bank to announce a "temporary" tax of 30 percent on all purchases of foreign currency and raise interest rates to 50 percent.
Lukashenko has admitted that his country`s economy has been hit hard as around 40 percent of its exports are bound for Russia.
Under the pressure of falling oil prices and Western sanctions over Ukraine, Russia is sliding into a full-blown economic crisis complete with the collapse of the ruble and growing inflation.