President appointed top management of the Investigative Committee
The major challenge President Lukashenko faces while deciding on the personnel of the Investigative Committee is how to keep the balance among the power elites. The key for the continuation of the political career of Lukashenko is not to become a hostage of the elites, close to his eldest son, Viktor.
On 28 November President Lukashenko appointed three deputy heads of the Investigative Committee and 5 heads of its regional offices. Heads of the IC branches of Mogilev and Gomel have not been appointed yet.
As anticipated, while deciding on the staffing of the IC, Aleksandr Lukashenko rests upon the law enforcement agencies the least influenced by his eldest son, Viktor, i.e. on the General Prosecutor’s Office and the Ministry of Interior. Representatives of these two agencies occupied the above mentioned positions in the IC.
Another agency which is not influenced by Viktor Lukashenko, where Alexander Lukashenko seeks for additional support, is the Ministry of Defense. Since summer 2011 the President has been increasingly and cautiously active in this regard, for instance, he discussed with military officials an idea of creation of an informal “Captains’ Club”, as well, he promotes career advancements of officers of the military justice.
As we have noted, the desire of Lukashenko to ensure support inside the military was reflected in the appointment of a former military judge A. Konyukov as the Prosecutor General and a curator of the IC on 20 September. Lukashenko’s stake on the military is indirectly manifested by the appointment of the top management of the IC on 28 November, when he also stated that the IC should become a paramilitary structure ensuring the national security of Belarus.
Last week, Belarusian Foreign Minister Makei participated in the foreign ministers’ meeting of the Eastern Partnership and Visegrad Group initiative hosted by Warsaw. The Belarusian FM emphasized Belarus' interest in cooperation in the transport sector, which could be due to Belarus’ desire to export electricity surplus after Belarus finished construction of the nuclear power plant in Ostrovets. Minsk expressed concerns about Warsaw’s stance on the Belarusian NPP, as it refused to buy electricity from Belarus and supported Vilnius’ protest on this issue. Following accusations by the Belarusian leadership and the state media against western states, including Poland, of training "nationalist militants", Minsk did not agree on the visit of the European Parliament deputies from Lithuania and Germany to Belarus and to the NPP construction site near Ostrovets in particular. In addition, the Belarusian authorities have stepped up efforts to enforce education in Russian in Polish-language schools in Grodno and Vaukavysk. Should a rift in Belarusian-Polish relations persist, the Belarusian authorities are likely to step up the pressure on the Polish-speaking minority in Belarus.