Lukashenko posts top brass members on civil positions
Belarusian President keeps the dismissed members of the top brass in the public service: Lukashenko’s main goal is to minimize political risks if economy destabilizes and to secure his own power.
On October 31st, President Lukashenko appointed former Deputy Minister for Emergency Situations A. Shamko as Sports and Tourism Minister, and nominated former State Border Committee Chairman I. Rachkovski for the First Vice-President of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus.
The main goal of the President’s personnel policy is to improve the manageability of the state apparatus and to reduce risks in case of financial crisis recurring in Belarus. Law enforcement staff, from the State Border Committee, the KGB, the Presidential Security Service, Interior Ministry, and others, who are better disciplined compared with civilians, and also the most dangerous for Lukashenka’s family (if he loses control over them) fit this purpose the best.
Publicly the President explains his staffing policy by “discipline and honesty” of the law enforcement officers, who are supposedly less prone to corruption. Chief Curator for sports in Belarus has become Vice Prime Minister A. Tozik (former Chairman of the State Control Committee). Lukashenko has publicly procrastinated former (civil) leadership of the Sport Ministry and NOC, inter alia, accusing them of corruption, which has been aired on the national television. Rachkovsky’s nomination (he was sacked last summer in connection with the so-called ‘teddy bear drop’), was likely due to Rachkovsky’s friendship with the President’s eldest son Victor.
Finally, there is a ‘historical’ reason for Lukashenko’s behaviour. It has been frequently noted, that after the 2010 presidential election, security forces have increased their influence in the government, first of all, - according to the official version – because they prevented the “coup d’etat”, secondly, they detected terrorist attack in the Minsk metro in a field investigation and prevented a ‘social networks revolution’ in Belarusian cities, etc. The law enforcement agencies have the right to count on some favours from the President, for their - albeit controversial - achievements. And Lukashenko has to provide them with such favours.
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.