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.
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.