KGB continues manipulating using terrorism threat
On May 25th, the Belarusian KGB informed about a criminal case on terrorism charges initiated against a man who unsuccessfully tried to blow up a police station in Zhlobin.
As before, when explosions in Gomel and Kobrin occurred, the KGB sent detailed operational reports about the incident to the media and shared working leads, which was unusual until 2011. Intelligence services believe all these terrorist acts could involve criminal groups that smuggle illegal immigrants from Asian countries into the EU via Belarus. Regarding the Zhlobin incident, the KGB stated that the alleged terrorist was wearing a mask with an inscription in Arabic and the National TV Channel showed a corresponding report.
Our previous assessment should be reiterated, that such information policy of the intelligence agency and the media objectively increase the feeling of danger in the society. Most likely, that above all, it is the KGB, who is interested in such disclosure, as high risks to public safety increase this body’s importance as the country’s main anti-terrorist shield.
It should be emphasized that the number of terrorist threats has increased in the Gomel Region. A likely explanation for this phenomenon could be that regional security forces staff could thereby attempt to counteract the ongoing reform in the security agencies, particularly in the KGB. Earlier, President Lukashenko made a number of new appointments in the central offices the KGB and in Vitebsk regional KGB Department.
The Belarusian authorities could to step up the opposition representation in local councils, should party members demonstrate potency. The Belarusian leadership is unlikely to have the resources to ensure 100 percent pro-government candidates in the local elections. The authorities have exhausted the grassroot support and have no funds to pay for the loyalty.
The Belarusian Central Election Commission has proposed to hold the elections to the local Councils of Deputies on February 18th, 2018.
The president has repeatedly emphasised the importance of the local councils in the power system and the state machine always tried to ensure the necessary local election results. Candidates have been decreasing in number with each elections and the authorities dealt with that by reducing the deputy corps. That said, during the rule of President Lukashenka, his electoral base has changed substantially. Over the past decade, most Belarusians have moved to cities and lost their local roots. The rural population is ready to support the president, but rural residents are constantly decreasing in number.
The Belarusian leadership is likely to permit broad participation in the election campaign and an increase in alternative representatives in the local councils. However, the opposition would have to boost its activity, so as so far it has been passive in defending its interests. In addition, the authorities, while determining the date for the local elections, have taken into account the fact that the opposition is usually the least active in the winter time.
Overall, both, the opposition and the local authorities have exhausted their grassroot support, however new local leaders may still come on political stage, although the party opposition has not yet shown sufficient aspirations.