6 October 2022, Thursday, 9:38
Sim Sim, Charter 97!

Serfdom For Lukashenka's Special Services

Serfdom For Lukashenka's Special Services

Why are policemen and KGB officers forced to hand out their passports?

There is information that passports are being confiscated from law enforcement officers so that they cannot obtain visas and travel abroad without the prior consent of their superiors.

After 2020, there were many thoughts and forecasts about the fact that one of the results of the protests and the evolution of the existing regime towards totalitarianism will be the growth of the political weight of law enforcement agencies. The conclusion is completely logical, given that Lukashenka relies on the police, special services, and political repressions have become one of the most important conditions for maintaining power.

Two years have passed. What predictions came true?

The influence of security agencies in the political system has increased. We can see it not only in their influence on many decisions from the economy to foreign policy. The security forces began to occupy important positions in the “civilian sphere”. Their increased role in state administration was enshrined in the new Constitution, which gives the Security Council (dominated by the security officers) the right to govern the state in case of Lukashenka's death.

However, it is worth paying attention to the following circumstance. The share and influence of the authorities increased because the powers of other departments (the Ministries of Economy, Education, Foreign Affairs, etc.) are transferred to them.

But the forecasts did not come true. Lukashenka will be forced to transfer part of his personal powers to the security officers since a military dictatorship is being formed in the country. That did not happen. The regime of Lukashenka's person and power has remaind in Belarus. He managed to keep the same model that existed until 2020, despite all the dramatic upheavals.

I believe that the replacement of the heads of all law enforcement agencies over the course of two years was due not only to the fact that Lukashenka began to doubt their loyalty. Probably, some were forced to resign because they began to claim more influence in political decision-making. It's more like, if we protect you, regardless of the laws, then share parts of the power. They probably paid dearly for that.

This means that Lukashenka did not give a drop of his power not only to the protesting people but also to the bureaucracy and his officials, including the security services. This is important to remember.

Moreover, the situation with passports shows that Lukashenka is creating a kind of serfdom for the security services. In this regard, they now have fewer rights than ordinary citizens who have the opportunity to travel abroad.

It is worth noting that in the model of eastern despotisms (including in Russia until the second half of the 18th century), both peasants and large landowners, the nobility, had the status of serfs. The latter were supposed to serve the monarch, for example, in the army. In today's Belarus, the position of the security forces resembles allusions from the history of feudalism. Their legal and factual status is similar to the status of the Janissaries in the Ottoman Empire, the Samurai in medieval Japan, or the Oprichniks during the time of Ivan the Terrible in Russia. Their wide rights in relation to commoners did not change their own slave status in relation to the sovereign.

By the way, the nobility of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania had much more privilages than today's Belarusian officials. That is the historical paradox. And it shows once again at what dark times Lukashenka put Belarus.

Valery Karbalevich, Radio Svaboda