Authorities increase attention to public safety in Minsk
The Minsk city underground stopped working for three hours on February 26th following a terrorism alert.
It is noteworthy that the number of news reports about incidents in the Minsk metro increases when socio-economic tensions grow in Belarus. In recent months, large population groups have been cut off some state social benefits, resulting in discontent with ongoing socio-economic policies. Furthermore, the recent events in Ukraine have exposed a deep rift in Belarusian society and amplified the radicalization of views in the opposition and the government. If social tensions in society continue to grow, the authorities will demonstrate their control over the infrastructure in Minsk more often.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.