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Analytical review

Analytical review of the main events in the field of national security of the Republic of Belarus (December 2023 - January 2024).

The essence of the events currently taking place in Belarus is best reflected by the following news: in the global militarization index for 2023, Belarus ranked 19th in the world and fourth in Europe, and by the number of journalists in detention - third in the world.

At the same time, Belarus' authority in the international arena continues to decline, while the continuing tension in relations with its Western neighbors further strengthens the isolation of official Minsk. The attempt made by official Minsk in December to create an appearance of intensive and important international activities of A. Lukashenko demonstrated not only the helplessness and loss of authority of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, but also A. Lukashenko's painful desire to escape from the shackles of international isolation.

Domestic political and socio-economic developments inside the Republic of Belarus 

In Belarus, active efforts are undertaken to legitimize the current regime by imitating a democratic election to the Parliament. According to official reports, by mid-January, 298 candidates for the House of Representatives had been nominated. Among them are I. Sergeyenko, head of Lukashenka's Administration, as well as pro-Russian activist O. Bondareva, famous for her denunciations and attacks on everything Belarusian.

However, the actions of official Minsk have already put the legitimacy of the upcoming election campaign under doubt. According to the statement of Belarus representative to the OSCE A. Dapkiunas, Belarus will not invite OSCE observers to the elections in February 2024. The Belarusian government announced that it would be ready to reconsider its approaches if the West gives up its sanctions policy and attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the country.

Due to such statements by representatives of Belarus in the international arena and the regime's continuing repression, Belarus has found itself in the top 5 dictatorships of the world in terms of the number of sanctions imposed on the country, ranking after Russia, Iran, Syria and North Korea.

Against this background, the statements of Interior Minister Kubrakov, who revealed details about the preparations for the upcoming election campaign, are indicative: "In case of slightest violation of existing legislation our reaction will be instantaneous“. According to him, alarm buttons for calling “rapid response groups will be installed at polling stations”.

The Belarusian authorities have published the first issue of monthly methodological recommendations for ideologists to work with the population and labor collectives in the new year. It sounds much more like propaganda and not as educational campaign. There are few facts and figures in it, but there are a lot of appeals and pathos statements, even more - references to the period of the USSR (the belief in "the best quality Soviet goods" is actively exploited). The main theses:

•      thanks to the wise actions of A. Lukashenko, "sanctions are helping the Belarusian economy";

•      Belarusian society is characterized by "social optimism", but "public control" is necessary;

•      non-material incentives for industry should be the determining factor at present. Producers should be stimulated by pride in their work and recognizability, demand for their products and services;

•      "We have preserved and multiplied the quality standards, now it is the stage of improvement. We cannot be satisfied with what we have achieved!"

The oppression of the "pro-Western" Catholic Church, which is alien to the ideology of Lukashenko's regime, continues. Thus, in 2023, 10 Catholic priests were arrested in Belarus, three of whom are still in prison. More priests were arrested in a year only in one country in the world - Nicaragua.

The Ministry of Education has approved the curricula of several school electives, among which the subject "Military Translation" in English was introduced for the first time. It will teach high school students how to interrogate prisoners of war and identify British and American soldiers by their insignia.

In his New Year's greetings, A. Lukashenko emphasized that Belarus had withstood the unprecedented economic pressure and thanked the Belarusian military for peace. A. Lukashenko also reminded that in 2024 the Belarusian People's Assembly will start working for the first time as a constitutional body.

Even in his New Year's greeting Lukashenko could not refrain from his typical statements about the attempts of "enemies" to destroy Belarus. Despite the attempts to present the Belarusian People's Assembly as a revival of the ancient Slavic tradition of the "people's gathering", in reality this "constitutional body" will be used to continue Lukashenko's political career in case of a transit of power.

State Secretary of the Security Council A. Volfovich feels threatened by neighboring countries: "Belarus is a peaceful country, it does not threaten anyone, but we are ready to protect our country and respond to the challenges and threats that come to our country, unfortunately, from the neighboring countries - Ukraine, Poland, the Baltic States. Today, the situation on the Polish-Baltic section of the border is also aggravated. And the agenda with regard to migrants, the cruelty with which the democratic West treats these people is indicative." Earlier he also said that DRGs aimed at destabilizing the situation in Belarus were being prepared on the territory of Ukraine.

Official Minsk continues to use the narrative about the presence of threats from "external enemies" in order to justify the increase in the degree of militarism in the country and the deterioration of the socio-economic situation of the population, in its usual manner shifting the responsibility for its own mistakes onto other people's shoulders.

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