Security forces gain more influence on redistribution of languishing state resources

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April 22, 2016 19:44

Amid weakening influence of large businessmen from the president’s inner circle, the security forces have enhanced their positions. In all likelihood, the government has decided to redistribute increasingly scarce resources and strip businesses of some profits nesting on public resources. As the economic situation deteriorates, the competition for resources is likely to increase along with the influence of security bodies.

Last week, at a briefing, KGB Chairman Valery Vakulchik said that further criminal inquiries and arrests were to come.

Amid several devaluations, economic recession and languishing public resources, business environment in Belarus has deteriorated, which has bolstered withdrawal of capital from the country. In all likelihood, redistribution of increasingly scarce resources may affect the president’s inner circle. And security forces are likely to play a major role in such a redistribution.

Security forces have somewhat lost their influence as Belarus engaged in normalization of relations with the EU. According to some analysts, the MFA’s weight has been growing consistently. Despite occasional tough actions against journalists, a more systematic attempt to disrupt the Belarusian-European relations could end in dismissals in the law enforcement leadership.

Nevertheless, the law enforcement is beginning to recover its lost positions. Instead of fighting against the possible "colour revolution" and persecuting the opposition, the security forces have focused on tracing financial flows and engaged in the redistribution of public resources.

Some analysts believe, that detention of businessman Yuri Chizh was the KGB’s independent initiative. According to them, head of ‘Triple’ holding Yuri Chizh was not a member of the inner circle, requiring the security forces to obtain the president’s consent for prosecution, which is unlikely.

Most likely, the KGB head provided President Lukashenka with evidence that Yuri Chizh had attempted to transfer his assets abroad and had a plan to move his businesses to a more favourable environment in Lithuania or Poland. KGB Chairman Vakulchik revealed some details about the detention of the disgraced businessman, who was attempting to escape from the country at 220 km per hour, which, incidentally, could be a figurative statement, "an ‘Interception’ plan was applied. He was driving firstly to the west towards the Lithuanian border, then towards the Brest highway”.

That said, last year’s detention of Yuri Chizh’s close business partner, Yaprintsev, who was well aware of all ‘Triple’ affairs, could have indeed been a signal to Chizh to accelerate withdrawal of his capital.

Recently, the Belarusian security forces have held several arrests of large businessman and more are likely to come. In addition, status and belonging to the highest echelons of power are no longer guarantees against prosecution in Belarus.

In October 2015, the third member of the Council of the Republic, the owner of Biokom company, Andrei Pavlovsky, was stripped of parliamentary immunity. However, within a month, he was released and recently pardonedby President Lukashenka after repaying USD 20 million to the state. In addition, media reported about the detention of yet another major businessman, the owner of Servolux group of companies, Evgeny Baskin.

Apparently, the law enforcement agencies have received the green light to reshuffle all large and medium-sized businesses, which nests on public resources. The security agents are likely to have sufficient information to strip most businesses of ‘excessive’ revenues.

Image: Sputnik.by

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Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries entangle in confrontation spiral
October 02, 2017 11:57
Фото: RFRM

Over the past year, military-political relations between Minsk and Kyiv have become complicated. Due to their high inertia and peculiarities, this downward trend would be extremely difficult to overcome.

The root cause of the crisis is the absence of a common political agenda in the Belarusian-Ukrainian relations. Minsk is looking for a market for Belarusian exports in Ukraine and offers its services as a negotiation platform for the settlement of the Russo-Ukrainian war, thereby hoping to avoid political issues in the dialogue with Kiev. Meanwhile, Ukraine is hoping for political support from Minsk in the confrontation with Moscow. In addition, Ukraine’s integration with NATO presupposes her common position with the Alliance in relation to Belarus. The NATO leadership regards the Belarusian Armed Forces as an integral part of the Russian military machine in the western strategic front (the Baltic states and Poland). In addition, the ongoing military reform in Ukraine envisages a reduction in the number of generals and the domestic political struggle makes some Ukrainian top military leaders targets in politically motivated attacks.

Hence, the criticism of Belarus coming from Ukrainian military leadership is dictated primarily by internal and external political considerations, as well as by the need to protect the interests of generals, and only then by facts.

For instance, initially, the Ukrainian military leadership made statements about 100,000 Russian servicemen allegedly taking part in the Russo-Belarusian military drill West-2017. Then the exercises were labelled quazi-open and military observers from Ukraine refused to provide their assessment, which caused a negative reaction in Minsk. Further, without citing specific facts, it was stated that Russia was building up its military presence in Belarus.

Apparently, the Belarusian and Ukrainian Defence Ministries have entangled in a confrontational spiral (on the level of rhetoric). Moreover, only a small part of the overly hidden process has been disclosed. That said, third states are very likely to take advantage of the situation (or have already done so). This is not only about Russia.

The Belarusian Defence Ministry officials are restrained in assessing their Ukrainian counterparts. However, such a restraint is not enough. Current military-political relations between Belarus and Ukraine are unlikely to stabilise without the intervention of both presidents.

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