Amid increased speculations about change of power in Belarus, importance of security forces enhances

January 16, 2017 11:56
Image: TUT.BY

A debate in the independent media and expert community about the prospects for change of power in Belarus may cause tension among various state departments and prompt President Lukashenka to intervene. In the Belarusian nomenclature, the fight between supporters of Belarusian-Western normalisation and those advocating for tougher role of the security forces has exacerbated. In addition, part of the Belarusian opposition would like to regain influence on the Belarusian-European relations by weakening the authorities’ pro-Western policy.

Next week, President Lukashenka will debrief the law enforcement agencies.

Some independent media outlets published speculative reports about the change of power in Belarus, President Lukashenka’s possible successor and dispositions among nomenclature groups. Apparently, media and expert community anticipates enhanced imbalances in the Belarusian nomenclature.

Amid lingering tension in the Russo-Belarusian relations and speculations about Lukashenka’s inability ‘to solve political issues with the Kremlin’, the controversy about a successor could actually bolster some contradictions in the Belarusian government. Some analysts still believe that the Belarusian officials preserved dual loyalty to Minsk and Moscow yet from the Soviet times, which is unlikely so. Nevertheless, some state agencies, the security forces and industrialists in particular, are rather oriented towards preserving a special relation with the Kremlin and regard the lingering tension between Minsk and Moscow as Moscow's dissatisfaction with Belarusian-Western normalisation.

Belarusian Foreign Ministry, led by Makey, was also subjected to information attacks, so as he was regarded as the chief architect behind the improvement of relations with Western capitals. It is worth noting that if the Belarusian authorities fail their new Western policy, the positions of street activity supporters will strengthen and the opposition may regain the influence on the Belarusian-European agenda.

In the near future, due to information attacks and speculations about the change of power in Belarus, the president is likely to lose confidence in some state agencies and strengthen the role of the security forces.

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The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.

In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.

The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.

There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.

That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.