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.
President Lukashenka continues to rotate staff and rejuvenate heads of departments and universities following new appointments in regional administrations. Apparently, new Information Minister Karliukevich could somewhat relax the state policy towards the independent media and introduce technological solutions for retaining control over Belarus’ information space. New rectors could strengthen the trend for soft Belarusization in the regions and tighten the disciplinary and ideological control over the student movement in the capital.
President Lukashenka has appointed new ministers of culture and information, the new rector of the Belarusian State University and heads of three universities, assistants in the Minsk and Vitebsk regions.
The new Information Minister Karliukevich is likely to avoid controversial initiatives similar to those former Minister Ananich was famous for, however, certainly within his capacities. Nevertheless, the appointment of Belarusian-speaking writer Karliukevich could be regarded as the state’s cautious attempt to relax environment in the media field and ensure the sovereignty of national media.
The Belarusian leadership has consolidated the trend for mild Belarusization by appointing a young historian and a ‘reasonable nationalist’, Duk as the rector at the Kuleshov State University in Mogilev. Meanwhile, while choosing the head of the Belarusian State University, the president apparently had in mind the strengthening of the ideological loyalty among the teaching staff and students at the main university in order to keep the youth movement at bay. Previously, Korol was the rector of the Kupala State University in Grodno, where he held purges among the disloyal teaching staff.
The trend for the renewal of mid-ranking executives and their rejuvenation has confirmed. The age of the Culture Minister and three new rectors varies from 39 to 44 years old.