Security: influence of army and China in Belarus have enhanced
Trends of the last week: the army has enhanced its influence through new appointments; the authorities have improved management of the power block; the security and defence sectors have not yet resolved the pressing issue with rational use of resources (financial and human); Belarus and China have expanded cooperation in the security field.
On July 25th, 2017, the Belarusian Interior Ministry and the Chinese Public Security Ministry signed a protocol aimed to expand anti-terrorist cooperation (including information exchange, joint operations and technical assistance from China). Beijing expects that Minsk ensures safety of the industrial park "Great Stone" and other facilities within the framework of the Chinese initiative "One Belt, One Way", as well as related cargo traffic flows.
On July 7th, 2017, Lukashenka appointed Major-General Sergey Novikov as Deputy Chairman of the State Border Committee. Earlier Novikov headed the Department of Transport Support at the Belarusian Defence Ministry. He has no experience in border security.
On the same day, during a meeting with the leadership of the Security Council State Secretariat, Lukashenka pointed to the need to optimize the leadership of the power block and elaborate a new mechanism for coordination between the president and the State Secretariat and other power agencies. In addition, according to Lukashenka, power bodies’ frameworks should be defined this year: the staffing and funding policies for each body and in each field. Heads of department would redistribute physical and human resources within this framework based on current priorities and tasks.
For more than 20 years, Russia was a guarantor of internal stability and external security for Belarus. Obviously, the situation is changing and the Belarusian authorities are prompted to look for new pillars in the security field, both, inside and outside the country. In this regard, Lukashenka may find the military leadership most suitable due to its loyalty, discipline and the habit (at least in theory) to give more than receive. China is oriented towards pragmatic interests, not abstract values, which suits Minsk perfectly. The growth in the army's influence and the expansion of security cooperation with China are stable trends. However, they have their limits: Lukashenka would like to avoid dependence on both, internal and external forces.
According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.