Belarusian authorities strengthen anti-corruption pressure on officials and business
Law enforcement agencies have made an inquiry to verify facts of medical equipment purchases for hospitals and polyclinics at inflated prices. In addition, law enforcers revealed a criminal scheme for the purchase of inventory items by housing and communal services from private traders at inflated prices in more than 30 districts in all regions in Belarus. Languishing state resources prompt the state to step up the anti-corruption pressure on state enterprises and businesses engaged in public procurement. Apparently, different business groups close to the nomenclature have stepped up competition for dwindling state resources, including in collaboration with security officials, in order to redistribute budget flows. The authorities are likely to enhance the anti-corruption pressure on state employees and some private businesses engaged in public tenders, which could lead to criminal investigation, in order to raise additional budget revenue and cut budget expenditure.
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.