Officials unable to organize active resistance to state apparatus reform
On July 2nd, the National Intellectual Property Center staff published an open letter on the Centre’s website, expressing regret about striping them off civil servants status.
The state apparatus reform is painful, but it is totally under control of its initiators in the ruling group. Rare resistance cases to the reform reflect the overall inability of officials to actively oppose it.
In an open letter the Center’s staff deplored the deprivation of their civil servant status and called the decision ‘insane’, since the Center deals with national importance issues (development and adoption of standards in the national intellectual property system). The letter also stated that on June 28th management and some Center staff resigned, refusing to continue working in the new environment.
On the same day information came through that the government is preparing a special resolution to increase the salaries the Centre’s staff and that the government will not revise its decision regarding Centre’s staff status. The open letter soon was taken off the Centre’s website.
This case is demonstrative of how Belarusian officials react to the ongoing state apparatus reform. Firstly, officials’ protests are passive: people prefer resigning quietly to contesting reforms’ principles. Secondly, the most active protest form is public appeals, which is a clear sign that the situation is hopeless and that the issue had failed to be resolved behind the scenes.
Thus, the ruling group is firmly in control of the reform progress and may not worry about the organized resistance and sabotage by the dismissed officials. Simultaneously, the government has an effective compensation tool – pay rises to those whose interests were harmed and who protested mildly.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.