What stands behind the dismissal and detention of Lukashenka’s Chief Bodyguard?
The dismissal and possible detention of Deputy State Secretary of the Security Council Andrei Utsiuryn is clearly a symptom of Lukashenka’s newly appeared doubts about political or personal loyalty of the heads of the force structures.
The supposed detention of the Deputy State Secretary of the Security Council, who headed the security service of Aliaksandr Lukashenka for 7 years, has become a resonant political event. A number of non-state media have reported on this with a reference to their own sources since April 29. On April 30, the Decree of Lukashenka appeared, dated April 24, on the dismissal of Colonel Andrei Utsiuryn “for having committed misdemeanors which discredit the rank of a serviceman.”
No security forces officials of such level have been jailed in Belarus before. So far, there has been little information, it remains unclear what he is incriminated with. However, even from the bare fact of his detention it is possible to make a series of important conclusions.
Questioning the loyalty of the law-enforcers
In Belarus, ministers were arrested before, the head of the affairs of Lukashenka Halina Zhuraukova was tried. There were cases that generals were convicted (Deputy Chairman of the Border Committee, General Yauhen Kamarnitski). However, the case of Utsiuryn stands out. Deputy State Secretary of the Security Council of Belarus, former head of the Security Service of Lukashenka. And a possible candidate for the post of the State Secretary, as after all, Stanislau Zas, currently occupying this position, is going to become the CSTO Secretary General.
The attitude of Lukashenka to the security forces is very peculiar. As with any authoritarian regime, they are the main support, the most important instrument of retaining power. He cherishes the loyalty of the power structures, so forgives their leaders many sins.
If in 2007 the KGB leadership was out of control and had to be urgently changed, then Lukashenka sent the chairman of the State Security Committee Stsiapan Sukharenka as an ambassador to Armenia, he decided not to arrest him. Therefore, something extraordinary had to happen to detain a man of that rank. It is unlikely that the reason for such an emergency is a bribe.
The detention of Utsiuryn is a symptom that Lukashenka began to doubt political or personal loyalty of the heads of the force structures. By the way, many times a meeting has been announced on the results of checking the work of these bodies so far and has not been held. This creates additional intrigue.
Lukashenka trusts no one
The whole story confirms the thing we already knew or guessed about. Namely, the special services watch each other, and bring the compromising materials to Lukashenka. As, in order to detain a Deputy State Secretary of the Security Council, it is necessary to keep an eye on him for a long time, and only one person could give a go-ahead for such surveillance. That is, top officials in Belarus are the most unfree people in the country, they cannot say out loud what they think, even in their own kitchen. So, don’t envy them.
A cottage in the elite settlement of Drazdy (it has been reported that Utsiryn’s house in Drazdy is sealed) is not a guarantee of success and well-being. This is a golden cage. As they say, walking freely around the prison cell doesn’t make you free.
Lukashenka’s Chief Bodyguard is the closest confidant of the head of state. Lukashenka trusts this person with his security, destiny, life. And if the officer who occupied this position for seven years falls into disfavor – this is an alarming symptom. Lukashenka trusts no one. It’s a hard challenge to live in such psychological state constantly.
The Russian trace is possible
Blogger NEXTA writes: “The official reason for the detention is a bribe on a large scale ($ 150,000). Informal - well, you can not be too friendly with senior officials of the Russian Federation, if the relationship with it is complicated. And a bribe would somehow be forgiven - this is not the first time.”
As for the possible possible Russian trace - this is an interesting twist. The question of the Russian influence on the power structures of Belarus is an eternal topic in the Belarusian expert community. There are a lot of rumors and the almost complete absence of facts.
It is very useful now to look at the experience of Ukraine, where at the time of the acute crisis it turned out that many representatives of the power block worked for Russia.
And, by the way, already ex-ambassador of Russia Mikhail Babich met with Minister of Defense of Belarus Andrei Raukou, Minister of the Interior Ihar Shunevich.
By the way, until now there were many officials, who were not born in Belarus, at the leading positions in Belarus. Nasha Niva gives the following information: “If you look at the biographies of the Secretary of State of the Security Council (Stanislau Zas), as well as his three deputies, it turns out that only Mikhail Puzikov was born in Belarus”.
It is not completely clear why Lukashenka is pursuing just such a personnel policy. Perhaps he believes that people from other republics of the former USSR will be devoted to him personally. The fact that people born outside Belarus, according to the Constitution, do not have the right to run for president, also seems significant here.
Whatever the reason for such a personnel policy is, now, during an acute conflict with Russia, this may become a problem. Perhaps we are witnessing the beginning of purge of the leading elite from the potential pro-Russian supporters?
The forecast in “Utsiuryn’s case”
I will make a forecast. It is hard to believe that Andrei Utsiuryn would be put behind bars for many years by a court sentence. After all, a person who possesses such numerous state secrets, including those connected with Lukashenka’s personal life, cannot be treated like ordinary bribe takers. He knows a lot. Therefore, I think, either the case will not come to court, or the situation will evolve according to a scheme tested on Halina Zhuraukova. That is, the court will pass a verdict, and then Lukashenka will pardon the prisoner and release him under the guarantee of his silence.
Valer Karbalevich, Radio Svaboda