Most loyal officer was appointed as State Secretary of Belarusian Security Council
Major-General Stanislav Zas was appointed as the State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus. Despite the formation of the Russian-led military bloc (CSTO) and close Russo-Belarusian military integration, Zas is a supporter of greater independence for the Belarusian army. He is an asymmetrical warfare theorist, which is particularly relevant for Belarus due to rising tension in the region and the protracted conflict in eastern Ukraine. In addition, Zas is one of the most loyal officers to the Belarusian state, who has repeatedly emphasised his commitment to moderate development of the Belarusian culture. The Belarusian authorities will continue their prudent personnel policy and carefully replace senior officers in the security forces and the army with those loyal to the Belarusian state.
The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.
In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.
The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.
There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.
That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.