President reinforces ideological foundation for security forces

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April 22, 2016 18:33

On July 1st President Lukashenko spoke at a meeting to celebrate Belarus’ Independence Day.

President Lukashenko remains dependent on the law enforcement bodies’ support. Simultaneously, Lukashenko’s increased defensive rhetoric opens new possibilities especially for security officials.

In his speech, Lukashenko put emphasis on a range of threats in contemporary Belarus. If in 2012 the president spoke mostly about historical perspective – Minsk liberators’ heroism against the Nazi invaders – in his recent speech he focused on political, economic, informational and ideological threats in the modern globalization era.

In particular, in his usual manner Lukashenko said that Belarus, led by him, will firmly defend its sovereignty in foreign policy, will fight for new markets and will pay particular attention to information security, including developing cooperation with China in this field. In this regard, the most interesting was Lukashenko’s statement about his coming meeting with Chinese President.

Today such typical of Lukashenko ‘defensive’ rhetoric has a very specific effect: the law enforcement agencies’ influence in the Belarus’ government is growing. The announced by the President ideology aiming at protection against external and domestic threats fits the best the security agencies, which based on this ideological foundation, improve their status in the Belarus’ political system and expand their powers.

Recently, during his visit to the Operative and Analytical Center (OAC), Lukashenko demanded from its staff to strengthen the fight against corruption. Noteworthy, the primary purpose for creation of the OAC in 2008 was telecommunication networks and data protection. In addition, the State Security Committee (KGB) has recently been empowered to control potash fertilizers’ international trade in and to carry out a large-scale inspection in the Belarus’ construction industry.

Also there is a possibility that the law enforcement agencies will be empowered to supervise other non-core areas of social and economic activity. For example, the Interior and Defense Ministries active involvement in activities to prevent and eliminate the outburst of African swine fever may well result in somewhat institutionalization of cooperation between the power and veterinary authorities.

These tendencies are part of a broader trend, implying strengthening of the security forces’ role in the decision-making in Belarus. This process has been consistently gaining momentum after the presidential election in 2010. Consequently, country’s law enforcement agencies grow in number at a pace one new structure per year, and the degree of interdependence between the president and the security forces is only increasing.

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According to Belstat, in August 7,600 people were dismissed, including 4,800 civil servants. Dismissals of civil servants were due to the optimisation in the public administration by up to 30%. Some civil servants would retain their job however would lose the status of a civil servant. Vacancies on the labour market are likely to reduce in number, thanks to the optimisation, the state administration would increase wages for public servants. The payroll fund for retained employees is likely to increase and some former state employees are likely to get jobs in affiliated organizations. The optimisation of the state apparatus should complete by January 1st, 2018, and some former civil servants are likely to join the ranks of the unemployed.

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