Belarusian President reinforces executive branch before elections
Last week, President Lukashenka relieved Aleksander Mezhuev of his duties as the Security Council Secretary “in connection with difficult family circumstances”. In addition, the president has reshuffled staff in the Belarusian army, some ministries and in the regions, inter alia, replaced some deputy chairmen at regional executive committees and chairmen at district executive committees. Ahead of the presidential campaign, President Lukashenka is attempting to strengthen the weakest, in his opinion, links in the executive branch, which will be responsible for organizing and conducting the electoral campaign. In addition, the Belarusian government has focused on keeping the army on high combat alert in the face of possible political tension in the country. Staff changes are also likely in the power structures before the election date is announced.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.