MPs promise to soften the draft law on special services

April 22, 2016 17:48

Belarusian authorities used the usual trick to distract the attention. The news about the “draconian” amendments to the law on special services spurred political environment and distracted the attention from other draft laws, which in the meanwhile have been adopted by the Parliament.

On 18 October a member of the Standing Committee on National Security of the House of Representatives Mr. Kot stated that the controversial amendments to the Law “On state security agencies” would not be adopted as proposed.

Comment

The Belarusian authorities use the usual trick to distract the attention. The news about the “draconian” amendments to the law on special services spurred political environment and distracted the attention from other draft laws, which in the meanwhile have been adopted by the Parliament.

Therefore, having no other instruments of influence on its external partners, Belarus uses the demonic image of the KGB to inflate the “bubble of threat” artificially.

Statement by Deputy Kot suggests that the amendments to the security agencies Law has been used to distract the attention, meant for external observers. As we have already mentioned earlier, the Belarusian secret services do not need to legalize their de facto wide influence. Therefore, having no other instruments of influence on its external partners, Belarus uses the demonic image of the KGB to inflate the “bubble of threat” artificially. Then the bubble is supposed to blow out and bring extra points while bargaining with the West.

The reaction of the West followed the proposed scenario. The information about the amendments to the Law “On state security agencies” immediately brought Belarus to the top of the lists on the EU agenda. Their concerns about the potential impact of the amendments on human rights in Belarus voiced spokeswoman of Catherine Ashton, the Bundestag (eg, Marie-Louise Beck) and prominent human rights defenders (eg, one of the authors of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights St?phane Hessel).

The information about the amendments to the Law “On state security agencies” immediately brought Belarus to the top of the lists on the EU agenda.

Perhaps those who invented this strategy assumed that the news about the likely non-acceptance by the Belarusian Parliament of the proposed amendments to the security agencies Law would persuade the international community of Belarus’ intention to commence reforms. On the other hand, the “courageous” initiative of the parliamentarians opens the door of opportunity for them to become advocates of the Belarusian citizens, which is particularly important in order to improve the domestic and external image of the Belarusian legislature prior to the parliamentary elections in 2012.

In the meanwhile, against the backdrop of the debate about the amendments to the Law on “State security agencies” the Belarusian MPs have adopted not less controversial amendments to the Law “On mass events” (requiring pre-approval by the city authorities of staging of flash-mobs) and a number of laws regulating political and social activities (tightening of the liability for financial transactions abroad, etc.).

The Belarusian authorities continue believing in the effectiveness of this uncomplicated combination: “create a threat” – “remove the treat” – “achieve a short-term relief”.

Moreover, the statement of Deputy Kot does not end of the issue with the amendments to the laws. There will be a long lasting game between the Belarusian authorities and the West due to the fact that Belarus sill threats the Kremlin with a possibility of “recognition” of the legitimacy of the Belarusian regime by the West. The Belarusian authorities continue believing in the effectiveness of this uncomplicated combination: “create a threat” – “remove the treat” – “achieve a short-term relief”.

 

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The Belarusian authorities are attempting to strengthen some elements of the ‘Soviet’ education to ensure the ideological loyalty of new generations to the state. Most likely, one of the major tasks of the educational reform is to prevent growing discontent with the existing education system among the population. The educational reform aims to strengthen centralisation and adjust the system to the needs of the public sector.

In Belarus, the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection and the Ministry of Economy would determine the university enrolment figures.

The Belarusian authorities do not seem to have a long-term vision of the educational reform. The education system changes depending on who leads the Education Ministry and has access to President Lukashenka. For instance, former head of pro-government communist party and Education Minister Igor Karpenko reintroduced some "Soviet" elements to the school and strengthened ideological components along with the de-politicisation of the curricula. Current generation of students and youth have not spoken against the authorities, unlike previous generations raised during the Gorbachev thaw and socio-political transformations of the 1990s.

In addition, the Belarusian authorities are attempting to adopt measures aiming to prevent discontent among the population with the Belarusian education system. The authorities are mobilizing those nostalgic for the USSR and propose to return to 5-marks grading system, school uniforms and reduced curriculum. The Belarusian leadership also aims to blur the growing social stratification in society and to relax social tension due to the growing income gap between the richest and poorest.

Should the authorities adopt plans to reduce university enrolment, they would re-certify universities in order to close some of them and would reduce competition from private educational institutions. The Belarusian leadership is attempting to adjust the education system to the needs of the real economy, to reduce pressure on the labour market and to cut government spending on higher education for specialists low in demand by replacing them with graduates of secondary vocational schools requiring less time to train.