The power elite elaborate defense mechanisms
New type elite are formed in Belarus from security forces: from representatives of the Investigative Committee and the KGB in particular. This small elite group is concentrated around President Lukashenko.
On June 28th, police offices, which will work for the Investigation Committee, have graduated from the Police Academy. The alumni were welcomed by the IC Chairman Mr. Vakulchik personally. However, the Academy is not planning to open admission for new students to study “investigative activity”.
Exclusion of the Police Academy from the number of schools providing training for future staff of investigative bodies confirms the previously marked trend: the formation of an elite group from Belarusian law enforcers around President Lukashenko’s family. To date, the security forces the most influential and close to the President are the newly created Investigative Committee and the KGB.
Training of investigators will be carried out by the ‘elite’ Management Academy under the auspices of the President, not by the Police Academy. This educational institution will train future staff of the Investigation Committee, Mr. Vakulchik said earlier. Following the reform of law enforcement agencies in 2011, the IC, and partly the KGB have the exclusive right to investigate corruption cases, which has dramatically increased these agencies’ importance and upgraded the status of its employees.
Finally, an attempt to narrow the power elite circle is observed in the judiciary. Earlier, Belarus’ Supreme Court Deputy Chairman Mr. Kondrat’ev proposed to transfer cases against security forces staff under the military courts’ jurisdiction. If successful, this initiative will make Belarusian power elite even less transparent and “safer” from the security forces’ perspective.
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.