The Belarusian authorities will tighten their grip on the situation in the country
The anti-corruption purge in some government bodies is politically motivated. It aims to strengthen the overall control by the top political leadership of the domestic situation in Belarus.
In the last three months, law enforcers carried out three large-scale campaigns against abuse of power by different officials on various levels. At first, officials of the State Inspectorate for the Protection of Fauna and Flora were under attack. Then, a bunch of healthcare officials were detained on corruption-related charges (more than 50 people were detained, 33 of whom were public officials). The latter was an unprecedented by scale anti-corruption operation.
The specifics of the political regime in Belarus imply a tight control over the activity of high-level officials. The fact that corruption in healthcare existed for years only means there was no political will to curb it, hence, it was not due to the failure of the law enforcement agencies.
Recent large-scale anti-corruption campaigns, broadly covered by the media, are politically motivated. The top political leadership aims to discipline and ensure the loyalty of the bureaucratic machine through intimidation, as well as to strengthen the overall control over the situation in Belarus. In particular, such efforts could be due to the upcoming political campaigns (presidential and parliamentary elections) and the threat of Russia’s interference in them. Simultaneously, the authorities are likely to step up pressure on civil society, the first signs of which have manifested through the pressure on the independent media.