Quango Belaya Rus offers a pre-election deal
On March 22, in a meeting of the Presidium of the quango Belaya Rus [White Russia], Chairman Mr. Radkov said that during the parliamentary elections in the autumn the organization would support “like-minded” candidates along with candidates affiliated with the organization.
The upcoming election campaign will try the mobilization capacity of Belaya Rus. Mr. Radkov said, the organization intended have an extended impact on the campaign: including appointment of its members to electoral commissions, establishment of election headquarters and agitation.
Such plans are feasible: Belaya Rus has 128 219 members, including senior officials, for instance, Mr. Radkov (Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration), Mr. Guminsky (Vice-Speaker of the Parliament), as well as directors of enterprises and government agencies, where the voting takes place.
Statement of Mr. Radzkou suggests that the scale of participation of Belaya Rus in the campaign will depend on a clear signal from President Lukashenko regarding the most important issue for the organization, namely, its transformation into a political party. That is why during the meeting of the Presidium Mr. Radkov announced the creation of a working group, headed by Mr. Guminsky, which will address the issue of transformation.
For information, all previous attempts of the leadership of Belaya Rus to lobby the issue of transformation were unsuccessful: Lukashenko is not interested in changing the political and particularly electoral system of Belarus.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.