Briefly

  • The role and political weight of the security forces in Belarus has grown significantly over the past two years.

  • This was manifested both in the personnel policy, and in the decree on the transfer of power to the Security Council in the event of the death of the head of state, and in the practical embodiment of the slogan "sometimes against the law."

  • Public opinion feels this situation very well.

    According to Belarusians (and even loyalists), Lukashenka relies primarily on the security forces.

  • A very notable incident is the objections of Prosecutor General Andrei Shved during a meeting with Lukashenka about amnesty.

    The Swede showed himself to be a "royalist bigger than the king", but outlined a separate position.

  • Perhaps Shved's demarche was a spectacle, a game of good and evil investigator, but Lukashenka had no need for such games before.

  • However, this demarche can also be a demonstration that the security forces have felt their power and Lukashenka's dependence on them.

  • Historically, authoritarian rulers got rid of the perpetrators of their dirty deeds - both to prevent their political consolidation and to be able to start another policy with a clean slate.

So far

, Alexander Lukashenko

is not in a leadership position by decision of a narrow circle of high-ranking security forces, as happens in military juntas.

But the fact that after August 2020 the influence and even the political weight of people in epaulettes has increased significantly is beyond doubt.

On whom does Lukashenka rely?

Since then, appointments of security forces to high civilian positions have become more frequent.

The loudest examples are the appointments in October 2020 of the former heads of the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the KGB, Yury Karaev

and

Valero Vakulchyk

, as Lukashenka's assistants as inspectors for the Horadzen and Brest oblasts .

True, these appointments could also be honorable dismissals of persons to whom Lukashenka owes his salvation in August 2020.

But in any case, these are examples of the promotion of members of the power corporation into civilian power.

And these appointments are by no means isolated in the last two years.

Perhaps more symbolic, but revealing was last year's decree on the transfer of power in the event of the sudden death of the head of state, not to the prime minister, as it was previously according to the Constitution, but to a collective body - the Security Council, in which the security forces play a key role.

Later, this decree became part of the new Constitution.

It is not that the transfer of the current power to the security forces: Lukashenka is not going to die suddenly (although it is God's will), but this designation itself is symbolic - who are the most important, most important persons in the state.

By the way, public opinion feels this very well.

In November of last year, Chatham House, in its regular survey of the urban population of Belarus, asked the question: "On whom, in your opinion, does Alexander Lukashenko primarily rely?".

The largest share of respondents - 70% - answered "To the military, the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the KGB".

For comparison: the option "on the presidential vertical" was indicated by 37%, "on ordinary people" - only 13%.

It is interesting that in that survey, even the ardent supporters of Lukashenka expressed the view that their idol mainly relies on the security forces.

The consensus that Belarusians have on this issue, even with opposing political views, is very telling.

What does the slogan formulated by Lukashenka in the midst of the protests mean - "Sometimes laws are not up to par"?

That the only limitation for people in epaulettes is his supreme will.

She still remains to them, but only her.

But Lukashenka simply can't get his hands on everything.

And that's why in many issues the law is made by the will, or rather, the will of the security forces.

From all that has been said, it does not directly follow that the security forces already have not only influence, but also power, that they, and not Lukashenka, are the power.

"Loyal rebellion" of the Prosecutor General

But, perhaps, the situation is approaching such a state.

In this sense, the demarche made by the Prosecutor General

Andrei Shved

at the meeting in Lukashenka on the issue of amnesty and deprivation of citizenship of political refugees is very interesting.

At the meeting, Lukashenka spoke about the expediency of amnesty, including "protest oriented" offenses.

And the Prosecutor General publicly stated that the position of his department was different, at least it was different: "

Despite the rather principled position of the Prosecutor General's Office, that the amnesty act should not be extended to those persons who encroached on the sovereignty, independence, and constitutional order of our country in 2020- In 2021, the head of state instructed to approach this issue carefully, individually and first of all through the institution of amnesty.

That is, those persons who committed crimes related to extremism, who attacked our state, who raised their hand against law enforcement officers, can go free

.

In this speech, Mr. Shved showed himself to be "a bigger royalist than the king."

Interpretations of his statement may be different.

According to political scientist, academic director of BISS

Piotr Rudkovski

, this "loyalist riot" was just a show for the public.

"Lukashenka wants to cool down the passion of the "hawks" a little, to show that he is not so bloodthirsty compared to others," Rudkovsky suggests.

But even if we agree with such a "theatrical" interpretation, it should be noted that Lukashenka had no need for such "performances" before.

Of course, different thoughts were expressed earlier in closed discussions, but outwardly, publicly, the unity of both will and thought was always demonstrated.

And all the speakers praised the leader's wisdom.

And here was demonstrated (perhaps artificially) the absence of at least unity of thought, a certain subjectivity of at least one law enforcement agency, a certain departure from the principle that there is only one politician in the country.

And so it is, even if it was a performance.

Well, there is another, less fanciful interpretation - that the security forces, at least the prosecutor's office, felt their power, the first person's dependence on them so much that they announced it through the mouth of Andrey Shved urbi et orbi.

Yes, in a super-loyal form, they say, the "father-father" is too merciful, and we cannot afford it, we protect the state and the mercy-giver himself from fierce enemies.

Now yes.

And tomorrow, something else may become an excuse or a reason for objections.

And power will pour out like sand through fingers.

In connection with this, by the way, different interpretations of the arrest and police detention of

Evelina Shults, head of the EZ representative office, are admissible.

In theory, one of the goals of the amnesty, which will also affect political prisoners, is to provoke some kind of positive reaction from the West in return.

The West is not yet ready for this.

But if someone in power (perhaps in the ranks) wants absolutely no positive reaction to the amnesty, then what could be better than spitting in the face of this West by sending its representative to the police station?

A simple two-wheeler.

Greetings from Comrade Yazhov

From a historical point of view, it should be noted that events can turn out in different ways.

Authoritarian rulers very often used security forces to do the dirty work and then cleaned them up.

And not for disloyalty, but for the fact that in the course of events they gained power and influence, some kind of political subjectivity, the ghost of an independent political role or even a relatively independent role.

And the leaders sense the danger in this with their animal "detector".

Kliment Varashilov, Vyacheslav Molotov, Joseph Stalin and Nikolai Yazhov, July 1937

Plus, it's easier to make a new policy with new people who don't create "track dependency".

Maybe it's a myth, but allegedly in 1937, at the height of terror, Stalin, in a conversation with someone who compassionately pointed out the excessive scale of genocide, said: "Everyone is equal before the law, the NKVD can arrest me too."

And he smiled in his mustache.

And in 1938, the downfall

of Nikolai Yazhov began

.

Stalin decided to adjust the policy, to silence the terror (not to stop it, of course).

And remove the person with whom the peak of terror was associated.

The Moor has done his job, the Moor must go.

It is useful for Andrey Shved, like other security forces, to remember this plot.

Although it is possible that he remembers it like no one else.

And his demarche was really a role in a play, the script of which he did not write.

And who will have the next act - the slaughter of the chosen victim.

As with Yazhov.

With time correction, of course.

You wouldn't wish Yazhov's fate on anyone, not even Mr. Shved.

The opinions expressed in the blogs represent the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editors.