16:02, Raman Yakauleuski — Opinion
Perhaps soon we will witness a new wave of generals leaving the regime.
Problems with export in independent Belarus often seem not only hard, but even impossible to solve.
But this is far from the reality. There are spheres where export goods make rivals green with envy. One of these goods is the circle of generals who used to be faithful servants to Belarus’ ruling regime. All of them still consider February 23rd, the soviet day of the Red Army, their holiday. But as a rule, today retired generals celebrate this date with new co-workers in the Russian end of the so-called union state.
Lukashenka’s former supporters first turned to Russia just after one year of his presidency. Since 1995, a group of former chiefs of Belarusian security institutions left to Russia. Among the first ones to leave were two generals, former counterintelligence officers Farid Kantserov and Valeri Kez. The former soon became a top-manager in private companies Gazprombank and Izhorskiye Zavody. Others have made it merely as advisers of directors of major corporations.
Former KGB chiefs Uladzimir Matskievich and Leanid Yeryn work for Sovkomflot and Russian Railways. Former home minister Uladzimir Navumau surprised many of us by taking the job as an adviser of director of Rostekhnologii. As for general Kez, he must be the only one from this list who first tried to fight Lukashenka’s regime. But his passion didn’t last long, and soon he became an adviser of Gazprombank’s director.
As for the rest of generals who left Minsk for Moscow, none of them has been noticed to be in opposition to the ruling regime. With time, potential voters, opposition and even their former institutions forgot about them. At least various media haven’t mentioned any of the generals in a while.
It used to be different. Each time when the topic of presidential elections was raised in Belarus, the media recalled Lukashenka’s former supporters who had settled in Moscow, including the impressive list of emigrated generals. Sometimes one could hear that these people can provide secret information that would expose their former director’s crimes. But apparently they have always been meant to fulfill other functions communicated to them by their present and former work places.
These functions can be described as communicative. The fact that top management of the major businesses come from security institutions is well-known to all officials and entrepreneurs in both parts of the so-called union state. And for them, it seems natural that both directors of Russian state corporations and their advisors take part in the battles of the Customs Union and Common Economic Space.
It is not impossible that other retired generals can be on that list. For example, little do we know of the fates of two generals – former chief of customs Paulouski and recently dismissed chief of the General Headquarters Tsihanouski. A while ago the latter’s predecessor general Churkin succeeded in building a brilliant career in Moscow, and not only in business. The Minsk general even worked for the Russian Federation Council.
Meanwhile, we know what happened to former air force and defense commander general Azarenka. Merely a coincidence, but he was arrested right before the events of December 19, 2010, in Minsk. This coincidence bore different rumors: that the general had his personal opinion about the situation in the country and the repressions, which was different from his management’s. But he never made it to Moscow. It is known that by a court resolution his corruptive connection to a Russian businessman resulted in a long prison term.
The fate of another dismissed general Niavyglas is much more successful. After the terrorist attack of July 2008 in Minsk he was hastily moved from the position of chief of the presidential administration to the position of the head of the football federation. Although he was on the black list of the officials who cannot enter the EU, he was allegedly seen in Vilnius and other EU cities. In February general Niavyglas is celebrating his 60th anniversary, this time – as a deputy secretary general of the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO). Can he be trying to help CSTO members who fight with each other reach peace? Actually, I don’t think that this institution has demonstrated any position during the recent military conflict between Kirgizstan and Tajikistan. It is unknown what deputy secretary general Niavyglas is doing today. Well, let’s say that this is another type of Belarusian export-generals.
At the same time one doesn’t have to move to Moscow to get a decent job. For example, former home minister general Kuliashou, who acknowledged in public that he personally had been in charge of the assaults against demonstrators on December 19, 2010, at the square in front of the government building in Minsk, today works for a CIS institution. I assume that now he can travel freely within the boundaries of the CIS, as an international official. He may as well visit Africa, but he is also a black-listed official who cannot go further, to the West. Sometimes I come across discussions whether the black list should be adjusted and shortened, and this can happen. Supporters of this idea say that the more Belarusian officials go to Europe, the sooner they will see advantages of the western civilization. It seems that they like to burn their fingers.
Meanwhile, supporters of the idea of nomenclature conspiracy argue if we will soon witness a new wave of generals leaving the regime. Some say no. Some do not exclude that the growing threat of economic collapse and exhaustion by the total fear can make this wave of immigration a reality. Most likely the wave will go in the same direction, to Russia. But new immigrants do not have the connections of the previous wave. Although, who knows?
Meanwhile, closer to certain holidays, anniversaries and campaigns we may hear new rumors that compromising facts about the powers will be exposed. The sacral atmosphere around the work of the ruling regime is a good incentive to such rumors. Today, when talking about the export of generals and geopolitical nomenclature conspiracy, we should probably take a minute to think. We still don’t know if such facts have been exposed, if yes – by whom, and what happened to them.
Raman Yakauleuski for charter97.org