As the Risk of Terrorism Grows, the KGB Strengthens its Position
An explosive device detonated in a shop in Gomel city center on 19 April, no casualties have been reported. On April 26, the KGB reported a blast in Kobryn, two people died.
The KGB continues to compensate for the weakening of its position in the fight against corruption by strengthening the citizens’ security. The downside of this process is an increased risk to public safety, especially after the terrorist attack in Minsk subway.
Two explosions in public places continue the 2011 trend of increased risks to public safety. The risk has significantly grown after the terrorist attack in the Minsk subway April 11, 2011 and after the Ministry of Internal Affairs employed plain-clothed officers to prevent street protests in the summer of 2011. Also, they strengthen the domestic position of law enforcement bodies, especially of the directorate of military forces of operational designation.
There are no grounds to link the increased activity of the KGB with the growing risk for public safety. In the end, however, the law enforcement agencies benefit most as bodies entitled to prevent terrorist attacks.
The increased activity of the KGB since 2011 may also be due to the reform of the Belarusian law enforcement bodies, which took place in the second term of 2011. Thus, the powers of the KGB in conducting investigative activities were substantially limited: from 50 to 17 Articles of the Criminal Code. It is highly probable that the KGB increased their activity to compensate for the loss of power. They have significantly increased their activity aimed at protecting the regime (they supervise the unfolding parliamentary election campaign in autumn), counteract revolutions through media (classified recruitment of \"Social Network Revolution\" activists), as well as the fight against illegal migration. The main cause of the two explosions in Gomel and Kobryn is said to be a fight for control over illegal migration channels.
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.