KGB makes public excuses
Belarusian KGB issued a formal denial of documents published by an international hacker group Anonymous. The documents imply that Belarus could be involved in supplying weapons to Pakistani terrorist groups.
The fact that the KGB reacted to the scandal around the probable cooperation of the Belarusian authorities with the international terrorist network, increases suspicions against Belarus. KGB’s entry into public debate also indicates its weak position, implying it has no other means to influence the situation.
Analysis of the documents made public by Anonymous, only a small part of which applies to Belarus, casts doubts about them being fake. Otherwise, we are talking about very large-scale falsification of thousands of electronic documents. However, the reaction of the Belarusian diplomats and security agencies in this regard makes suspicions against Belarus stronger.
From the diplomatic point of view a joint response of the Foreign Ministry, KGB and the military industry of the State Committee of Belarus to an anonymous hacker group is totally asymmetrical, and unprecedented. In March 2011 the UN accused Belarus of supplying two military helicopters to the Ivory Coast. Following the reaction of the Foreign Ministry against such accusations the issue was finally resolved and the UN had to apologize.
Finally, the scandal has revealed a serious hole in the structure of information security of Belarus. Anonymous say the documents they made public were obtained from hacked servers of the Italian Cyber-Police. If confirmed, the Belarusian secret services will be responsible for leaking confidential government information to hackers as well as to their Italian colleagues.
The most likely consequence of this internal scandal would be the resignation of Foreign Minister Sergei Martynov, whose name appears in one of the published documents. However, it could happen at a later stage, when the resonance of the scandal goes down.
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.