Belarusian authorities bolster anti-corruption campaign to discipline local authorities
Last week, the Investigative Committee detained chairs of Chashniki and Rogachev district executive committees on suspicion of corruption. In the midst of the presidential campaign, the Belarusian authorities have initiated another round of the anti-corruption campaign against the authorities in the regions. Anti-corruption cases have been launched against the most unpopular regional leaders, which will certainly have a positive effect on the ratings of the Belarusian leadership. In addition, before the campaigning stage starts, the central authorities will attempt to discipline local authorities and encourage their active involvement in ensuring the necessary elections results.
Following crackdown and arrests of participants in the spring protests, the authorities resumed arrests as punishment for participating in street protests in addition to fines, which for some time were the only punishment for political activity. On September 22nd, 2017, the riot police detained the Belarusian National Congress leader Nikolai Statkevich, the opposition politician was placed in detention centre on Akrestin street. On the same day, after serving seven days of arrest, another BNC leader, Vladimir Neklyaev, was released. He was sentenced for organising a street protest on September 8th against the West-2017 exercises. Other participants in the protest have been fined too. The authorities are likely to continue to use fines and arrests against political activists to punish for their protest activity.