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System Malfunction': Why State Media Silent About Makei's Death?

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System Malfunction': Why State Media Silent About Makei's Death?

Valery Karbalevich's version.

The death of Lukashenka's Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei did not become the hot news on state media websites and TV channels. The site of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not publish information about the death of the minister for a day. A medical report on the causes of his death was not made public. The official obituary appeared in the presidential newspaper SB. Belarus Segodnya almost two days later, without Lukashenka's signature. One could expect a mourning meeting on the day of the minister's farewell, but there was none. The official mourning was quite cold.

The fact that Russian Foreign Minister <>bSergey Lavrov did not come to the funeral also added to suspicions.

What are the reasons for such a strange reaction of the Belarusian authorities? Political analyst Valery Karbalevich comments for the Svobodnye Novosti:

First of all, one can consider all this as a system malfunction. This is how it reacts to a non-standard event. The death of a high-ranking official was of this nature.

One should note that the state media and the entire propaganda machine always freeze up when events beyond typical happen. After all, they are used to functioning under strict instructions, established rules. Their freedom is severely restricted. If the management does not give clear explanations on how to cover any unexpected event, the editorial staff usually prefers to keep silent in order not to "make a mess". This is why state media are always late in crisis situations.

For example, in the first days after the 2020 presidential election, when people took to the streets en masse, BT pretended that nothing extraordinary was happening. Or a recent case: the Belarusian state media barely reacted to the liberation of Kherson.

And the death of a high-ranking official is a more delicate ground. After all, figuratively speaking, the Belarusian state is a unitary enterprise. A political system with only one politician, the sovereign ruler, takes all other officials as cogs, a tool, an instrument to carry out his will. Political weight to one official, even a dead one, more than necessary can become a sin, an unforgivable mistake. The problem is that no one knows exactly this degree, until Lukashenka himself determines it. And he has apparently been deciding for a long time how to respond to this.

The point is also that Belarus under Lukashenka has had few precedents of the death of high-ranking officials while in office. One might recall the death of Aliaksandr Dubko, head of the Hrodna Region, back in 2001 and the demise of Finance Minister Andrei Harkovets in 2015.

But Uladzimir Makei's formal and informal status is much higher than that of these mentioned officials. Therefore, Lukashenka faced a dilemma. On the one hand, his backbone is the top nomenclature. This was clearly revealed in the decisive days of 2020. Therefore, it would be appropriate to treat people who expressed personal loyalty to him with a certain respect, especially posthumously. So that everyone could see: loyalty is rewarded. This is why, after the appropriate "wave-off" two days after his death, BelTA still began to publish condolences from the main state institutions and agencies.

On the other hand, it is important not to overdo the list of merits of the official. In order not to overshadow the image of the Only politician, the unchangeable and irreplaceable. After all, such a system has no figure number two in the political hierarchy.

This is why we see such a cautious, contradictory line in the coverage of the death of the former foreign minister.

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