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 regard the Catholic conference as yet another international event to promote Minsk as a global negotiating platform. Minsk’s proposal to organise a meeting between the Roman-Catholic Church and the Russian Orthodox Church is rather an image-making undertaking than a serious intention. However, the authorities could somewhat extend the opportunities for the Roman-Catholic Church in Belarus due to developing contacts with the Catholic world.
Minsk is attempting to lay out a mosaic from various international religious, political and sportive events to shape a positive image of Belarus for promoting the Helsinki 2.0 idea.
Belarus’ invitation to the head of the Holy See for a meeting with the Patriarch of the Russian Orthodox Church should be regarded as a continuation of her foreign policy efforts in shaping Minsk’s peacekeeping image and enhancing Belarus’ international weight. The Belarusian authorities are aware that their initiative is unlikely to find supporters among the leadership of the Russian Orthodox Church in Moscow. In Russia, isolationist sentiments prevail.
In addition, for domestic audiences, the authorities make up for the lack of tangible economic growth with demonstrations of growth in Minsk’s authority at international level through providing a platform for religious, sportive and other dialogues.