Analytical Report: June 2012.

587

In comparison with past periods there weren’t significant changes in the situation in June. All the factors contributing to the weakening of the stability of Belarusian state and its security still exist. They are the following:

— Inconsistent foreign policy of the government does not allow Belarus to rely on an effective international support;

— Lack of unity among the ruling class (on the issues of economic development);

— Repressive regime in an unstable social and economic situation isolates the authorities from the folk;

— High vulnerability of Belarusian exports on foreign markets. The situation tends to deteriorate. And this trend most likely will be long-term one, like the other.

In addition, the true miserable nature of the Collective Security Treaty, which was previously declared to be an analogue of NATO for the CIS countries, was revealed in June. Russia showed, that it wouldn’t provide military equipment for Belarus even on concessional terms, and would protect only its own commercial interests.

In this situation, the growing influence of China in Belarus is quite interesting. However, China is acting as making statements quite cautiously. At this rate, it can’t be determined whether China has long-term interests in Belarus or Belarus is just a part of more important geopolitical game, aimed at the Chinese dominance in the CIS region at the expense of lowering of Russian influence. To our mind the latter variant is more possible. In this situation, participation in the “Chinese game”, even if it will be well paid (which is doubtful) can lead to deepening isolation from the West and the confrontation with Russia.

In general it may be noted that normalization of relations with the EU and the U.S. as well as the establishment of strategic partnerships with other countries becomes critically important for national security of Belarus in order to guarantee non-interference of the external forces in the internal affairs of our country.

The internal situation: stability of state power.

Major Events of the month. In our opinion, the most significant event of the month is the meeting of Alexander Lukashenko and President of Bashkortostan Mr. Khamitov during his visit to Belarus. The visit itself is not interesting, as it is related primarily to the development of economic cooperation between the two parties. The interesting thing here is the public and a detailed explanation of the Belarusian view on the problems of relations with Russia and integration processes in the CIS by Alexander Lukashenko on June 14, 2012. In fact, it was a response to earlier comments by Russian Ambassador to Belarus Alexander Surikov on the same topic. Here are the highlights of Alexander Lukashenko’s speech:

— Russia’s ambassador was accused of interference in the internal affairs of Belarus;

— Russia was accused of not being ready to create a single market within the Eurasian integration initiatives and of actions for the destruction of the Eurasian integration;

— Russia was stated to have no willingness for considering its partners in the Common Economic Space as equal;

— A transparent allusion to the unconscionable actions of the Russian partners in the integration projects;

— A statement about conducting the privatization of state assets only according to Belarusian conditions, the main of which is the price;

— The requirement to compensate Belarus possible costs associated with Russia’s joining the WTO;

— Russia was accused of being involved in a financial crisis in Belarus in 2011 by increasing energy prices by five times in five years, despite the alliance between the countries;

— An unambiguous rejection of adopting a common currency with Russia.

And the statement of the Belarusian president was finished with quite clear allusion to the fact that the infringement of the interests of Belarus can lead to destruction of not only economic network but also of political framework of the Eurasian integration. Mr. Lukashenko also said, that it’s necessary to involve into this integration other countries of the former Soviet Union. The latter is quite interesting: any new entrants will undermine the dominance of Russia in integration associations. This will allow the official Minsk to “sell” its support for the Kremlin at much higher price. The Russian authorities, being the initiator of the latest wave of integration within the CIS, won’t be able to let these projects fail just because of the prestige and will have to pay for the loyalty of the participants.

The development of the situation over the month. On June 5, 2012, despite public protests, according to our predictions made in the Note of April this year, Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree “On Chinese-Belarusian Industrial Park” (hereinafter referred to as CBIP). Currently, the Belarusian authorities can not afford to miss the opportunity to receive foreign direct investment and as a result, political support from China, simply because of the fact that they can get no other sources of investment and political support in the near future.

However, the problem is that CBIP is originally created as an export-oriented industrial cluster. The weakness of the project is the lack of guarantees for Park’s products to access the markets of the EU and Russia. The first one may be blocked, primarily for political reasons, and the Russian direction may be blocked as well just according to the scheme implemented during so-called “milk wars”.

The Chinese investors are unlikely to begin to implement their projects before resolving the issue of the availability of key regional markets, even in spite of the benefits provided by Belarus. Speaking about the technical side of the project, it should be noted that, under section 2.10 of the Decree Belarus is to create transport and engineering infrastructure (construction and engineering services for electricity, heat, gas and water supply and sewerage, telecommunications, television and radio, roads and other communications) outside the boundaries of the Chinese-Belarusian industrial park, which is necessary to ensure full and fast development of this territory. This means, that at first it is necessary to prepare a platform for the Chinese investment.

Thus, in case of project failure Belarus may get complications in uneasy relations with Russia and suffer serious losses from unused infrastructure created for budget funds. On the other hand, the success of the project in terms of access to EU markets depends on the normalization of relations with the West.

Belarusian delegation attended the informal summit of “Eastern Partnership”, participated by foreign ministers and held in Chisinau on June 5, 2012. For the first time in a long time the event was not accompanied by demarches by the official Minsk. This can be seen as a sign of Belarusian authorities’ readiness to gradual normalization of relations with the EU. However, due to internal problems, it can’t be stated that the relations with Belarus are important for the EU except the ideological aspects related to the presence in the country of political prisoners and the repressive actions of the authorities against dissidents. An attempt of Mr. Lukashenko to strengthen his position with the help of West is doomed to failure: it is unlikely that after the events following December 19, 2010 he could be considered as a reliable partner.

At the same time the authorities have openly stated that the elections to the House of Representatives will be held at the most stringent scenario, and possible protests will be suppressed. It should be noted that the National Assembly is the de facto convulsive body having neither independence nor power. At this rate, the election of deputies and the mandate of deputy itself can give opposition politicians nothing more than a platform for public statements.

On June 24-28, Alexander Lukashenko visited Cuba, Venezuela and Ecuador. The main objectives of the visit were the diversity of Belarusian export and propagandistic activity in order to prove the stability of the international positions and the absence of external insulation of Belarus. Despite the claims of Belarusian officials no breakthrough agreement on the visit has been achieved: Belarus will continue to serve as a supplier of skilled manpower for the needs of economic development projects in Venezuela. The share of the Belarusian side in the multibillion-dollar projects in infrastructure and industry of this country will be equal to the payment for Belarusian specialists. Of course, it is also positive result, but it does not require the participation of head of the state.

Conclusions. As we pointed out earlier, Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belarus at the end of last month wasn’t a breakthrough despite the release of the next tranche of the EurAsEC AF loan to Belarus. There still sharp contradictions between the two parties: Belarusian authorities are trying to get Russian support without taking on mutual obligations, Russia has in Belarus rather limited interests (both public and economic). At this rate there is no basis for strategic alliance. An attempt to build integration between the two parties is largely a coercive measure, the reasons of which for Russia are ambitions in foreign policy and the desire to increase its influence in the international arena, and for Belarus the main reason is the absence of other potential allies.

The official Minsk quite logically tries to involve the maximum number of states in relations with Belarus, offering each of them strategic partnership and promotion of their interests both in Europe and in the CIS. Because of the variability of the mood of Belarusian authorities and the limited capacity of our country, it is unlikely that Belarus can become a center of attraction of “heavyweights” of international politics. However, if such policy if successful, the Belarusian authorities will be able to rely on the support of the various states in order to expand the room for maneuver in opposition to Russia and / or the West.

At this rate, the attention should be paid to the degree of interest of the Chinese party in the development of the CBIP project. In an effort to ensure the access of the products of their resident companies of the Park to Europe, China may encourage the Belarusian authorities to meet the requirements of the West. As a result, a paradoxical situation, in which China will act as a catalyst, if not for the democracy, then for a significant reduction of the repressions by the regime and its partial political liberalization in order to ensure the effectiveness of Chinese investment, may take place.

However, at the same time in the domestic field there is just the opposite trend: it’s most likely that the new members of the House of Representatives will be only candidates from the government. If among the members will not even be representatives of the “constructive” opposition controlled by the authorities, it can be seen as a sign of uncertainty of the regime in its ability to control the situation in the country with a tendency to strengthen the repressive actions against opposition. Taking into consideration the fact that the existing system is extremely vulnerable to external pressure, it can be stated that the authorities are in such a way preparing to internal political problems, imposed externally. In the situation of absence of interest of other powerful states in Belarus, the factor of engaging China in the “Belarusian issue” is one of the few benefits for the official Minsk. However, China has its own interests, and it is unknown whether it wants to play by the Belarusian rules.

The internal situation: the opposition and the protest movement.

Major Events of the month. In June there were two events that may have an impact on the situation in the Belarusian opposition movement in the future. Firstly, it is getting of the leader of the United Civil Party Anatol Lyabedzka into Russian information field. Belarusian politician gave a press conference at the biggest Russian news portal Lenta.ru, the audience of which is comparable with the entire audience of Belarusian Internet. Representatives of the Belarusian opposition aren’t frequent visitors to the Russian media. As opposed to the authorities systematically working with the Russian mass media, the Belarusian opposition in general hasn’t paid much attention to promotion their views in the east. It is too early to judge whether this is a single event or a new strategy of the UCP in the external relations. It’s necessary to note that this party traditionally has contacts among Russian liberals, but until recently this hasn’t resulted in concrete actions like some media support.

The fact, that the most Russian liberals are in opposition to the Kremlin, limits the possibilities of broad cooperation with Russia for the UCP. In order to widen these possibilities it is necessary to establish contacts with the pro-Kremlin political organizations and expert centers. At the moment, besides the UCP, only Liberal Democratic Party has some contacts with Russian political actors, but the result of such contacts isn’t significant.

The second most important event of the month was a split in the coalition of leading opposition organizations in the country, the so-called Six. The formal reason for the differences in opinions was the issue of participation in the election campaign this year. But the Six hadn’t unity of positions on this issue in the past as well. In general, it won’t affect the activities of the opposition. The split became a stage, after which some kind of broad coalition of opposition can’t be expected.

The development of the situation over the month. In June, the activity of opposition groups was mainly focused on two areas: participation in the election campaign to the House of Representatives and increasing the efficiency of the activities. Regarding the latter it should be noted, that in May and June a training course for party activists was held by UCP and BCD. In addition to the capital, the course was organized in the regions of the country as well. In general, the scope of activity was small, each of the courses was attended by 10-15 people. The level of attendance in the capital and the regions was almost the same. It’s necessary to admit, that the BCD has paid attention to training its activists to hold effective campaigns at the local level. In fact, this an example of the trend, that appeared much earlier, when much of the political activists were also involved in social work not directly related to political goals. Such activities may be conducted in the framework of political associations, as well as non-political non-governmental organizations or campaigns.

Speaking about the elections to the House of Representatives it’s necessary to note that the main opposition organizations consider it to be only a stage of the presidential campaign in 2015. At the same tame the issue of a single candidate from the opposition is being discussed. But according to our information this is more honouring the political tradition than actual readiness to compromise. The main obstacle to unification is not only ideological differences, but interpersonal relations of opposition leaders. That latter was the reason for refusal of appreciation of election to the House of Representatives as illegitimate right now. Although there are no signs of government’s liberalizing the practice of electoral law. Moreover, there are no signs of reduction in repressions against political opposition. This is confirmed by the preventive arrests of political activists of the opposition and the refusal of the authorities to amnesty the political prisoners.

During a press conference on the portal Lenta.ru Mr. Lyabedzka announced the idea of creation of a “national parliament” which can be based on a Supreme Council of the 13th convocation. We can’t consider this statement as a plan to be implemented: the Supreme Council of the 13th convocation was unable to conduct the political struggle in the autumn 1996. So it is doubtful that after 16 years it is possible at least to collect all the deputies of that Council together. This statement can be rather considered as a kind of counterbalance to the activity of Colonel Borodach, who wanted to form an independent political center, able to consolidate the existing opponents of the regime. So, it is another sign of competition among the opposition.

Conclusions. It should be noted that in spite of the unfavorable situation the political opposition in whole doesn’t reduce the activity. Although this activity is generally not very wide, it is necessary to take into account the limited resources and low human resource capacity of the opponents of the authorities. Now we can talk about some “bottom” in the development of the opposition, which may be followed either by a complete cessation of the activities of some political actors, or by the some development (even if it is very slow).

The tendency to start some activity in the public sector should be considered as negative one. In the situation of having limited human resources, carrying out social campaigns can negatively reflect on political activity. Here we consider social campaigns to be not only speaking about the problems and developing ways to solve them, but also immediate steps to implement the proposed solutions. In addition, the concentration of political actors on the social campaigns may lead the public associations to being repressed by the of government. And many of them are forced to work in an extremely hostile environment, and most are already under pressure. It’s necessary to note that the involvement of political organizations in social activities is mainly the result of low availability of financial resources for waging the political struggle.

With the collapse of the attempts to from a coalition in the Belarusian opposition, in our opinion it would be wise to abandon the creation of political chimeras in the future and focus on specific projects for increasing the scope of activities of political opposition organizations.

 Economic situation.

Major Events of the month. The continuing growth of oil refining, chemical and mechanical engineering causes considerable concern for the stability of the economic situation in these sectors because of the trend for reduction in price of oil.

In addition to the risk in the world markets, the producers of solvents, diluents and lubricants from Belarus also have another threat from Russia. Russian Ministry of Finance is investigating the situation with possible re-export in the guise of the latest Russian oil and avoiding paying of export duty to the Russian budget. The decision of Russian authorities to stop or limit specified schema can be a shock for the Belarusian foreign trade.

The dynamics of the situation over the last month. According to the official data, in May there was some acceleration of economic growth from 2.9% in January-April 2012 to 3.1% in January-May 2012.

Overall economic growth is still far from the level planned by the Government (5.5%). The achievement of this level has once again been demanded by Alexander Lukashenko. Taking into consideration the situation developing in the global and Russian markets, the possible sources of such acceleration could be the following:

— The growth of domestic consumer demand due to rapid income growth. This source of economic growth also poses a certain threat of deterioration of the situation in the external sector and the weakening of national currency. The fear about that had already been expressed by the Chairman of the National Bank Mrs. Ermakova.

— Increase in housing construction, which is currently the most depressed among the major industries. However, in the current situation in the financial market of Belarus the only real source of growth in the construction can only be a government investment, which requires either reallocation of budget expenditures or using emission sources, the amount of which in 2012 is limited at the level of Br $ 7 trillion by the agreement with the AF EAEC.

— The growth of production and value of exports of potash fertilizers, connected with the launch of two new mines and the stabilization of the global potash market.

The situation in the foreign exchange market in the first half of 2012 (National Bank redeemed nearly USD 960 million in 5 months) allowed the authorities to fulfil its domestic and foreign currency commitments (for example, in April-May, foreign currency debt to commercial banks in the amount of about USD 500 million was repaid), while preserving the volume of international reserves. However, the Government recognizes that in 2013 it will be necessary to refinance part of the additional debt not covered by the next tranche of the loan AF EAEC (this is not guaranteed), and hopes to resume talks with the IMF on a new program and the possibility of entering the market of Eurobonds.

Belarusian authorities hope partially to solve the problem of finding the sources of external debt refinancing due to the growth of foreign direct investment, especially the Chinese one. But there is also no clarity in this issue. For example, if originally the planned total investment in CBIP was stated to be about USD 30 billion, at the present time the sum of USD 5 billion is being discussed.

At the same time in June the decision to impose a special tax in the innovation funds for organizations of all types of property in the amount of 10% of the profits starting from 2013 was taken, which increases the tax burden on businesses and clearly is an interruption for entering the top 30 of Doing Business ranking. Moreover, the introduction of this tax is evidence of serious plans of authorities to continue to use the tools of government programs, which is ineffective in the absence of structural change. In general, despite the ambitious plans, the results achieved are quite low: in January-May 2012 only USD 605.7 million dollars of foreign direct investment were attracted.

Conclusions. The negotiations with major creditors (the IMF and the AF EAEC, which in fact is negotiating with Russia) will undoubtedly be complicated by the position of the authorities on a broad privatization of state property (in June, a debate on this issue between the Russian Ambassador Alexander Surikov and Mr. Lukashenko occurred), which creates additional risks for the Belarusian economy in the coming year.

As the result of the month it is possible to state the progressive implementation of the scenario, proposed by experts of the IMF in its latest report on the results of monitoring the economy of Belarus: the weakening of the monetary and fiscal policy in order to stimulate economic growth and raise incomes. The development of this scenario, accompanied by the abandonment of structural adjustment policies (especially privatization) significantly increases mid-term risks due to imbalance of foreign trade, and because of conflicts with the major creditors.

The situation in the field of national security and defence.

Major Events of the month. It’s necessary to admit, that June has been eventful. Summing up the most important of the events, it can be said that the plan of the Belarusian authorities to rely on Russia in order to ensure the security of the country is becoming less and less convincing.

A significant event, although not directly related to security issues in Belarus, was another aggravation of the situation in the zone of the Armenian-Azerbaijani conflict. So, from 4 to 6 June, the Azerbaijani army has made numerous attempts to break the Armenian border, which resulted in deaths and injuries on both sides. We are talking about committing aggression against a member-state of the Organization of Collective Security Treaty (hereinafter CSTO), which should cause a corresponding reaction from the organization and its members by virtue of Art. 2 and 4 of the Collective Security Treaty signed on 15.05.1992. However, there was no response. The CSTO showed their inability to neutralize the threat to the security of its members at least politically. It should be noted that the CSTO more and more looks like a “safe harbour” for military officers near retirement age. The only factor that somehow justifies the participation of Belarus in this organization is the possibility of getting Russian military hardware on preferential terms. However, this could be achieved within the framework of bilateral relations, without assuming some liabilities in Central Asia.

In addition, the supply of hardware on preferential terms, in practice very easily turns into a supply on general terms, without taking into consideration the participation in the CSTO. On June 20, 2012 it was reported that 18 Su-30K planes, previously owned by the Indian Air Force, may be purchased by Vietnam. Belarus has also repeatedly expressed its wish to purchase the aircraft, hoping to attract the Russian loan for their purchase. However, Russian Finance Ministry has refused to Minsk. It should be noted that at present the Belarusian authorities are able to find the necessary sum of money for purchasing the aircraft (USD 270 million) on their own. In the situation of high cost of modern aircraft the purchase of 18 Su-30K is a good opportunity to supplement new hardware to Belarusian Air Force. The refusal of Russia to help the formally closest ally in the purchasing of arms shows the real relationship between official Minsk and Moscow.

In this situation, the deepening cooperation between Belarus and China is especially important. Thus, on June 19, 2012 it was announced that 22 light-armored special vehicles “Dongfeng Mansion”, which went into service in Special Operations Forces, were provided to Belarus as a gratuitous military aid. The plans to create and launch a communications satellite with the help of Chinese loan by the two countries for three years were also announced. Announcing a new project, the head of the State Military-Industrial Committee of Belarus (hereinafter referred to as SMIC) Mr. Gurulev admitted that Russia has nothing to do with these plans.

The development of the situation in the month. The Belarus SMIC Chairman Mr. Gurulev suggested the idea of ​​creating an industry holding company based on enterprises of defence complex. In the opinion of Mr. Gurulev such a union would improve the national defence industry. However, in his own words, 3 holdings, already established within SMIC (“Communication and Control”, “Geographic information systems management” and “Radar Systems”) are not really successful. In the situation of uncertainty about the efficiency of a business coalition, working on the same subject, the creation of a multisectoral military holding seems to be premature. But another initiative of the SMIC head is quite interesting: he proposes to create centers of development of essential technologies in the field of defence and to reform the system of state military purchases in order to replace the purchase of the product with the purchase of the whole production cycle including direct manufacturing and repair, upgrading and utilization of the product. Such a scheme will give producers a guarantee of capacity utilization over a long period, and will encourage investment in the development of products for the needs of national defence.

On June 15, 2012 Alexander Lukashenko returned to the idea of ​​reform of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, which was announced in his address to the nation and the National Assembly on May 8, 2012. The concept of reform isn’t yet known, it is about optimizing the structure and objectives of the Ministry of the Internal Affairs. Reducing the number of MIA officers is likely to be made by eliminating the existing vacancies, like it has been previously made when Vladimir Naumov has been the Minister. At those times the number of officers in the Ministry was reduced by 4-5% by eliminating vacancies. It would be better to optimize the structure of the MIA, where there is unreasonably high number of control units. A large number of MIA employees being just clerical or economic staff, have a special status, although aren’t involved in law enforcement. As a result, at most one third of personnel departments is directly performing the functions of crime control. The initiative of President Lukashenko to reduce the number of Internal Forces (hereinafter referred to as IF) is remote from reality: when the reasons of financial and economic crisis in the country are not eliminated and against the background of the deteriorating situation in the world economy the threat of protests related to the internal socio-economic status increases. In addition, we can not forget about the threats of external intervention in the internal affairs of Belarus. It would be quite more rational to implement the following:

— Start to adopt the contract form of recruitment for the IF;

— Creating a professional reserve of IF;

— Restoration of the full capacity of the IF to wage counter-diversion struggle.

The latter can be achieved either by releasing them from their non-core functions (for example, protection of the route of Alexander Lukashenko, even within the Minsk), or by a slight increase in their quantity due to redistribution of personnel within the Ministry of Internal Affairs.

In June, the National Assembly approved the draft law “On State Security”, previously criticised by human rights activists. It’s necessary to admit, that the law will not cause a significant change in the practice of state security. So it only formalizes the current situation, including the de facto absence of prosecutorial and judicial control over intelligence agencies.

From to June 23 to June 28, Vietnamese military delegation paid a visit to Belarus. Besides other things, the delegation got acquainted with the structure and purpose of the Military Academy of Belarus, training and material base of Command and Staff Faculty. Belarus is quite interested in organizing the training of Vietnamese troops in Belarus: in the situation of limited budget financing the funds, received as payment for educational services, are an important source, allowing to develop logistical and scientific base of Belarusian military educational institutions.

In late June the increase of the salaries of contract servicemen by 25% from July 1, 2012 was announced. Belarusian authorities claim that because of this and other measures, from July of this year the average wages, received by military personnel, will rise by 52% compared with April. It’s necessary to note, that if in the whole country the average monthly salary in June 2012 amounted to over 80% compared to January 2011, then applied to the military officers this figure was around 70%. Moreover, the inflation remains high, levelling much of the growth in revenues.

Conclusions. Mainly, the development of the situation in June did not affect the status of national security and defence: the vulnerability of the country continues to remain at the high level.

The situation around Su-30K aircraft, used by in the Indian Air Forces and the failure of the CSTO to react on the events on the Armenian-Azerbaijani border leave no doubt that neither the CSTO nor Russia can provide comprehensive security guarantees to or Belarus. Belarusian authorities quite sensibly will tend to leave open for themselves as much as possible “doors” – the ways for cooperation. This is confirmed by the active participation of Belarus in the partnership and cooperation with NATO since Belarusian servicemen took part in the multinational exercise “Cooperative Longbow / Lancer – 2012” in the period from May, 19 to May, 29 in Macedonia in the framework of NATO program “Partnership for Peace”. It should be noted that the crisis in political relations with the West apparently did not affect the intensity of contacts between Belarus and NATO. Anti-NATO statements made by Belarusian authorities aren’t connected with their real actions. In this regard, we can confidently assert that no additional Russian forces will be deployed in Belarus, despite the situation with the formation of a missile defence system in Europe.

At the same time Belarusian authorities are actively seeking a new “big” partner for them. China is naturally a new “big brother” for the Belarusian authorities because of significant similarity between the philosophies of political regimes in both countries. The motivation of the Chinese side to develop such military cooperation with Belarus is quite interesting. In our opinion, taking into consideration the close relationship of security issues to the level of political cooperation, China’s interests can be stated to be the following:

— U.S. started implementing the doctrine of containment of China. In this regard, the Belarusian regime with its loud anti-American statements is a natural partner for Beijing in terms of ideology;

— According to Mr. Khramchikhin, in general China has negative attitude to Russian integration initiatives on post-Soviet space. Therefore we assume that Minsk, which has always been a difficult partner for the Kremlin, is seen as a kind of “mine” for Eurasian integration, capable of burying Vladimir Putin’s initiative, in the presence of an alternative external donor;

— China is interested in promoting the products of its military-industrial complex on foreign markets and is willing to offer attractive terms to customers, which, accompanied by good quality of Chinese military products (MLRS, artillery, armored vehicles) may attract the attention of Belarusian authorities;

— China is interested in gaining access to Belarusian military technologies and using this access to get the access to Russian technologies as well.

At the same time, the Belarusian authorities are hoping to create an atmosphere of competition between the main influence centers (Russia and the West) and China around Belarus in order to strengthen its highly vulnerable position in the international field. It’s essential to admit, that this tactic poses a threat of Russia’s or West’s taking tough steps against the Belarusian regime. Or finally these parties can even lose the interest in Belarus and just stop the economic support in any way. It is doubtful that Beijing wants to compensate for the Russian subsidies, that can be lost by Belarus. On the other hand, the experience of Pakistan, which has been a strategic partner of China for years, and has been receiving Chinese technology, weapons and money while simultaneously receiving even greater financial and military support from the U.S., is quite interesting for Belarusian authorities. In our case, the role of the U.S. is performed by Russia.

The adoption of the new Law “On State Security” confirms the uncertainty of the authorities about their ability to ensure internal stability in the country in the framework of current legislation, even despite the fact it is far from being liberal. Frankly speaking, the authorities are preparing for serious internal protests. Recognizing that an effective and comprehensive control over the actions of intelligence agencies is impossible regardless of the political system, it’s necessary to note that the lack of control over security services in the situation of permanent reduction in the total quality of governance and deprofessionalization of the state apparatus poses a threat of gradual degradation of state administration, when policy decisions will be taken mainly according to the opinion of law enforcement agencies. And this is a direct way of turning the existing regime into a full-fledged dictatorship, like the regimes that existed in the 60-70s of the XX century in Central America.

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