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April 15 – April 21, 2024
The ruling elite

Regime’s Guardians — Who Are They?

The situation has not changed
Regime’s Guardians — Who Are They?
Photo: elements.envato.com

Security forces remain among the main beneficiaries of Lukashenka’s rule. They have solidified their bureaucratic influence in the ruling class following the political crisis of 2020. The regime’s guardians play a significant role in regulating economic relations and redistributing state resources.

The parliament has granted security personnel extraordinary access to population data without the consent of the individuals themselves. At the same time, employees of the regular and junior management of the Investigative Committee receive privileges: they are exempt from the obligation to submit annual income and property declarations.

Lukashenka continues to appoint individuals from his close circle and from the security sector to political positions. As a result, they consolidate their bureaucratic weight and gain increasing access to executive positions in “civilian” agencies, as well as in state and private enterprises.

One of the pilots of presidential aircraft No. 1 became a delegate of the All-Belarusian People’s Assembly. Lukashenka also confirmed the appointment of a high-ranking security official to the Central Election Commission. The company MTS was headed by KGB officer Vladimir Kozyr.

Since 2020, there has been a trend of strengthening the bureaucratic weight of security forces in the ruling class. This trend began with the replacement of the technocrat Prime Minister Sergei Rumas with the former head of the military-industrial complex, Roman Golovchenko.

Security forces play a crucial role in regulating the economic activity of the public sector both at the national level and in the regions.

Lukashenka personally focuses the attention of the security sector on priority areas—for example, in agriculture. The politician held a four-hour meeting on rural development and improving the efficiency of the agricultural sector. In the regions, joint consultations of security officers and officials are held on the situation at agricultural enterprises, such as in Baranovichi.

In recent years, there has been a trend of reallocating resources in favor of the security agencies. This negatively impacts budgetary expenditures in other areas.

Security forces take measures to motivate and discipline regional agricultural barons through anti-corruption prosecution. In particular, the attention of the regime’s guardians is drawn to the leaders of agricultural enterprises at the middle and lower levels. Thus, security agencies began a coordinated campaign in the regions. Two directors of agricultural enterprises in the Grodno region were detained after frequent visits by one of them to a currency exchange office. In the Minsk region, two heads of agricultural organizations were detained for bribery. Another case of bribery in the agro-industrial complex was sent to court in the Mogilev region.

Thus, on the eve of the presidential elections, Lukashenka will continue to place individuals from the security forces in executive positions in the state sector and civilian agencies.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.
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