MPs promise to soften the draft law on special services
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.
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”.
Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.
The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.
Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.
For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.
Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.
The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.