Lukashenka scared of Belarus opposition, but real fifth column is Russian-backed siloviki – ex-special operations officer

It is the pro-Russian law enforcers, not pro-Western opposition that is really posing a threat to Alyaksandr Lukashenka‘s regime now, Colonel Uladzimir Baradach, a former special operations brigade commander, said in an exclusive interview with Some Belarusians fear that terrorist attacks in Parishave provided secret services with a carte blanche to prohibit, restrict and engage in propaganda – in short, to keep a grip on the situation.

Firstly, there is nothing to impose restrictions on, including media outlets. The Belarusians have a different mentality, they are not a source of terrorism. On the contrary, it is the Belarusians who need protection because they are not masters of their own country. Do you know any country where [Russian radical] nationalists like Nikolai Starikov come to and and boot Belarusians themselves out of the hall? Thus , a threat of terror stems not from inside, but from outside. For 20 years, Lukashenka has been in fear of the ‘fifth column’, but it has already surrounded [presidential residence] Drozdy and lets him pretend that it is him who really rules the country.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka has recently said that Belarus is not rich enough to keep an excessive number of law enforcement staff. Will their number be really reduced? What might such measure trigger?

A country like Belarus cannot and should not keep bloated power-wielding agencies, which is impracticable for the state budget. In any case, they will not save the country – it will be saved by pursuing a fair policy and using common sense. The agencies will have to be cut for economic reasons. A hungry soldier or officer is more dangerous than a farmer.

Are there any conflicts or confrontation between law enforcement agencies in Belarus?

There is no confrontation, there is rivalry, competition, struggle for spheres of influence.

What can you say about the current state of Belarusian security agencies?

They are able to control the situation in the country, keep a hold on all social processes and orchestrate social and political forces by showing directions which are of benefit for the incumbent regime.

Yauhen Balinski/MS

See also