November 27 – December 3, 2023
The ruling elite

Lukashenka Bolsters Ratings: Nomenclature Faces Anti-Corruption Crackdown

The situation has not changed
Lukashenka Bolsters Ratings: Nomenclature Faces Anti-Corruption Crackdown

Lukashenka is making moves to boost his own ratings by distancing himself from officials and spearheading anti-corruption measures. This includes reshuffling certain regional groups within the nomenclature through the prosecution of agrarian barons and affiliated officials.

Ihar Brylo, Lukashenka’s assistant and inspector in the Vitsebsk region, got the boot from his position and is likely in custody due to the “milk case.” Preceding this, the KGB nabbed 15 individuals as part of anti-corruption efforts in the food sector.

Throughout his three decades in power, Lukashenka has intermittently focused on high-profile hearings and arrests related to anti-corruption articles. During his initial election campaign in 1994, his anti-corruption stance garnered societal support, propelling him to become the country’s first president. However, despite his strong anti-corruption rhetoric during the campaign, Lukashenka retained most nomenclature officers in their positions after his inauguration.

Officials convicted on anti-corruption charges often reclaim leadership positions post-imprisonment. Some are relegated to overseeing neglected agricultural enterprises. For instance, Lukashenka pardoned the director of the Haradzieja sugar factory, who received a 13-year prison sentence in 2021, appointing him as head of an agricultural enterprise in a regional area.

Lukashenka revisits the anti-corruption theme periodically to maintain favorable ratings among the population. Criticizing officials also enables politicians to distance themselves from unpopular regional leaders and state sector representatives.

Anti-corruption prosecutions serve as a means for Lukashenka to refresh leadership in regions and state-owned companies. These criminal cases are integral to the rotation of the ruling class and social mobility, especially when the electoral mechanism is impeded by widespread falsifications.

Furthermore, in a resource-constrained environment, security forces and regulatory bodies play a significant role in resource redistribution, expropriations, and budget replenishment. For example, officials plan to collect record fines from the population and businesses in 2024.

Thus, in 2024, designated as the Year of Quality, an escalation in high-profile and large-scale anti-corruption cases across various sectors of the national economy is anticipated. Lukashenka will once again attempt to portray himself as a champion in the fight against corruption to the public.

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