Security officials strengthen anti-corruption control and their role in redistribution of state resources
Security officials have enhanced their influence on the redistribution of state resources and their role in financial and economic sectors. In addition, some nomenclature representatives with business interests have attempted to use power bodies to redirect state resources amid budgetary cuts and revision of state support programmes. Perhaps, the top leadership has authorised the anti-corruption persecution against some state managers in order to renew staffing in the public sector.
The Financial Investigation Department said that it was completing investigation of several corruption crimes committed by state officials.
The Belarusian leadership fights corruption in annual or bi-annual cycles and usually, a peak in the revealed anti-corruption crimes is followed by a decline. That said, anti-corruption persecution peaks occur during crisis years, when the resource potential of the Belarusian state is the weakest.
The state has continued to revise the budgetary policy and state support programmes for the coming years, which has affected the interests of businesses close to the state. For instance, the president has adopted and is revising plans for new large-scale state investments, eg a programme aimed at restoring urban settlements and modernization projects for depressed regions with a pilot project in Orsha.
Most likely, the state's large-scale investment plans are causing attempts to redistribute influence among the nomenclature and related business with the persecution of high-ranking officials. Corruption scandals and financial conflicts are beginning to affect retirees, former prominent officials from the presidential hierarchy, who apparently have lost their influence and contacts in the security block after leaving their posts.
After the final approval of state programmes and redistribution of state resources, the wave of anti-corruption persecution against public managers is likely to decline, especially if the economy resumes growth.
The Belarusian authorities have launched a discussion on the moratorium or abolition of the death penalty under the pressure of Belarusian human rights activists and international community. Apparently, the authorities are interested in monitoring public sentiments and response to the possible abolition of the capital punishment. The introduction of a moratorium on the death penalty would depend on the dynamics in Belarusian-European relations, efforts of the civil society organisations and Western capitals.
In Grodno last week, the possibility of abolishing the death penalty in Belarus or introducing a moratorium was discussed.
The Belarusian authorities are likely to continue to support the death penalty in Belarus. During his rule, President Lukashenka pardoned only one person, and courts sentenced to death more than 400 people since the early 1990s. Over the past year, Belarusian courts sentenced to death several persons and one person was executed.
There are no recent independent polls about people’s attitude about the death penalty in Belarus. Apparently, this issue is not a priority for the population. In many ways, public opinion about the abolition of the death penalty would depend on the tone of the state-owned media reports.
That said, the Belarusian Orthodox Church and the Roman-Catholic Church stand for the abolition of the capital punishment, however their efforts in this regard only limit to public statements about their stance. Simultaneously, the authorities could have influenced public opinion about the death penalty through a focused media campaign in the state media. As they did, for example, with the nuclear power plant construction in Astravets. Initially unpopular project of the NPP construction was broadly promoted in the state media, and eventually, according to independent pollsters, was accepted by most population.