What is really there at the back of Shunevich’s idea to create "people's guards" in Belarus?
Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus Ihar Shunevich has recently become so initiative as to compete with his patron Lukashenka by being cited in the media. And his last idea – to create "people's guards" to help the police in fighting crime in Belarus – has been actively discussed in the media and social networks.
The people, in general, recall the Soviet experience, when many workers of socialist labor were required to put on their hands a red armband several times a month and, armed with a whistle, to go out onto the city streets to protect the peace of their fellow citizens. However, not only the image of people's guard Nadia Klyueva from the Soviet film "The Most Charming And Attractive One" comes to mind when you think about Shunevich's new initiative.
There is no need to create people's guards in our country. In today's Belarus, there are 7 times more police officers per 100,000 people than in the USSR.
Former head of the Security Service of Ukraine in Lugansk region Alexander Petrulevich has recently told Gordonua.com curious things about "people's guards".
According to him, Russia activated its agents under the guise of "national guards" in the east of Ukraine in January 2014, a month before the Euromaidan victory, President Viktor Yanukovych’s flight and the invasion of the Crimea.
"Already on January 27, 2014, the Luhansk regional council held an extraordinary session, which took a decision to create the so-called people's guards, the formation of which was entrusted to the local Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Security Service bodies. Mayors of all cities and heads of all districts of the Lugansk region were engaged in organizing the "guards". This means that Russia activated the "sleeping agents" in the east of Ukraine minimum in January 2014, a month before the Maidan victory and Yanukovych’s flight," – Petrulevich said.
He stresses that Luhansk regional administration head’s adviser Eldar Nadirashvili, who later defected to the side of the "LPR" fighters, took on the task of the guards’ formation.
The Major-General also adds that it was the "people's guards" who were taking by storm the Lugansk SSU building at the beginning of the Russian invasion to the east of Ukraine.
"By the way, all these "people's guards" and local Cossacks stormed the Lugansk SSU building on April 6, 2014, and later they were transformed into" the armed forces of the LPR," – Petrulevich said.
Let me remind you that the Minister of Internal Affairs of Belarus is a native of the Lugansk region, who keeps a close watch on the local pro-Russian separatists’ track record. It is strange that the initiative to create "people's guards" has come into his bright head just before the large-scale Belarusian-Russian military exercises West-2017. The personnel of these formations might be not quite the "workers’ or peasants’" one. Members of numerous pro-Russian paramilitary organizations under the patronage of the ROC, the "Cossacks" and various military sports clubs, might join the "people's guards" in the first place. During or after the exercises, they can get together with Russian military men dressed in civilian clothes, who can "remain behind" in our country in case an order for occupation is received.
Shunevich has repeatedly signaled Moscow by wearing the NKVD uniform at a military parade or erecting a monument to the Russian tsarist policeman. He has become famous for the brutal dispersal of the demonstration on a holy day for the Belarusians – on Freedom Day, faking up the criminal case against the Belarusian patriots, organizing tortures and participating personally in interrogating the Belarusian opposition leaders after the 2010 elections.
So there is something to think about. As the Ukrainian experience shows, there’s just one step from "people's guards" to the pro-Russian separatism.
Natallia Radzina, Charter97.org Editor-in-Chief