In Minsk, slowly and behind the scenes preparations for the transfer of power from 62-year-old Alexander Lukashenko. However, who will be his successor is not yet clear.
One day Belarus will Wake up — and Lukashenko is not. Until now it was assumed that the man who single-handedly ruling the country for 23 years, ready to the last to hold on to power. But now some of the events and processes occurring in the Republic, suggest observers the idea that "the most faithful ally of Russia" is preparing to transit authorities. Most likely, Minsk is developed by its own operation "Successor", which implies both a change in the political structure of the Belarusian state.
Implicit signs of change
The new Belarusian Parliament, elected in the fall of 2016, for the first time since 1996, began to declare itself as about real political force. It is finally the opposition — for two people. Looking at them, and the other members are not so demonstratively loyal to the current government. If until recently the legislative body of Belarus was called "the highest-paid chorus in the country", now hardly anyone would say that.
"The Belarusian leadership expands opportunities for critical debate between the Parliament and the government on unpopular initiatives — specifies the assessment team Belarus in Focus. — Deputies with a critical eye and installed by a feedback with the population to help limit and correct the most high-profile actions by the government to reduce social guarantees. Apparently, the role of Parliament and the public activities of MPs will increase along with the disengagement of Alexander Lukashenko from his active role in resolving current state of Affairs."
The most outstanding representatives of the power vertical are starting to adopt the initiative on solving issues of public interest on the background of reducing the involvement of the President in the activities of the state apparatus. Apparently, individual members of elected bodies, primarily the Parliament, begin to feel increasing pressure from the population, and it makes them, in turn putting pressure on the government. First, to correct the most unpopular initiatives; secondly, to boost their ratings among the electorate. Still recently such it was difficult to imagine: the President personally supervised all these processes, preventing the occurrence of any "power centers" within the government.
However, the main sign of impending change is the fact that the Belarusian society is increasingly under discussion: "What/who after Lukashenko?". And at the same time among the item grow policy, which will recognize people. And not so long ago "politician" in the country was the only one, out of ten people on the street Belarusians hardly any one could give the name of at least Prime Minister or the names of the houses of Parliament.
Current politicians have very different views on the possibility of voluntary (at least relatively) the departure of Alexander Lukashenko as President of the country.
"We need to change the political system, it is necessary to change the power to hold elections. In this situation Lukashenka is still possible to go down in history as the first President without too much of a minus sign, without any curses, — writes the well-known Belarusian businessman, ex-the Deputy of Parliament Vasily Shlyndikov on the website of the United civil party. It would be nice to change the Constitution and limit the powers of the President. I think that Alexander Lukashenka should understand that the transfer of power alone anyone to anything good will not. Here, look, has already quietly preparing. And secondly, we have to hold elections, change the electoral law and hold elections. It is necessary to hold a Round table to create an initiative group of representatives of government and opposition and to agree on mechanisms for the transfer of power. Lukashenko can make suggestions. But I think that any normal person, the first offer is safety for yourself and your family members. And it should go and to give such guarantees. All of our party needs to give such guarantees. And if a peaceful transition of power happens, Belarus has a chance."
"I do not believe that the possible voluntary withdrawal Lukashenko as President and the appointment of a successor. Alexander Lukashenko came to power with the team, which has positioned itself as the "young wolves". The same concept of leadership as "the wolf pack with a strong leader" also surfaced in the presidential election in 2010 — said "Rosbaltu" the head of the civil campaign "Our House" Olga Karach. — The concept of "leader of the wolf pack" implies that the successor will not and can not be: the old leader wins the new young wolf from the same pack. This assumes that a) to lead the "wolf pack" is not white and fluffy Bunny democratic; b) this type of leadership is based on the constant confirmation that "pack leader", i.e. the Belarusian President, — the strongest and most brutal, of course. Even the fact that Lukashenka is called "father," perfectly fits into this concept of the "wolf leader": the leader — the only one (and dad, respectively), the rest, or agree with his leadership, or die (violently destroyed). Of all the political events of the last 23 years, we have seen that this concept of political leadership has not changed even once. An entire generation of officials has grown up with this idea. Why change the concept just because of the fact that the current "leader" has grown old? "Flock" will replace the leader, and it would be a cruel intraspecific struggle, not Lukashenka's agreements with someone".
I must say that the two leaders of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko Stanislau Shushkevich and Mechyslau Hryb — little faith in the fact that the permanent President to voluntarily hand over power to someone else.
"I don't see that Lukashenko was preparing to hand over power to someone else. People believe what they want to believe, — shared his opinion with "Rosbalt" Stanislau Shushkevich. — I know only too well Lukashenko. And he has no salvation but for as long as possible to save power."
"I personally do not feel that Lukashenko is preparing to leave. But the question is worth, it is long overdue — that the government must be replaced, even tomorrow or the day after tomorrow" — said "Rosbaltu" the former Chairman of the Supreme Council Mieczyslaw Mushroom.
As you can see, the Lukashenka as President becomes a question more of a "religious" believe or not believe. Meanwhile, Lukashenka himself recently increasingly says about his resignation last July 12, in an interview with TASS. But he is carefully silent on the question of a possible successor.
It is also clear that if in 2015 the presidential election victory of Alexander Lukashenko was predetermined, on the election of 2020 we can not say the same. Lukashenko will come to crisis age; also probably exacerbated his health problems. That is, there is a real possibility that Lukashenko is a senior or do not take part in the election in 2020, or will take, but it's never quite the same man (on the power), who ran in 2001, 2006 or 2010. Another question is that in 2020, the election can go on a fundamentally different scenario or may not be at all.
To alter the Constitution under the son
October 7, 2016 Alexander Lukashenko made a long speech before the newly elected deputies of the Chamber of representatives (lower chamber of the Parliament). In his speech, he all of a sudden started talking about a possible change of the Constitution.
"The world is changing rapidly. We must adapt to changing conditions in order not to lose the niche occupied by us, but also to find new, — has explained Lukashenko the need to "correct" the basic law. — Try to approach this issue from different sides. Careful not to make things worse. There are new challenges, challenges. And while, probably, requires something new. We need to start with the main, if we decide on it. We need to create a group of wise men, lawyers, who will analyze the basic law".
We will remind that the Belarusian President already three times changed the Constitution through a referendum — in 1995, 1996 and 2004. For example, the referendum in 2004 removed the restriction on the number of times that Lukashenko can run for President. His power was almost unlimited — the head of Belarus alone publishes documents that have the status of laws.
Lukashenka's statement about the need to again revise the Constitution immediately began to be interpreted in the way that is preparing a consolidation of power already for clan Lukashenko for the presidency will pretend to be someone of his three sons. Under this scenario, the Constitution needs to be amended, according to which the President is chosen not by universal suffrage, and the Parliament, and of a narrow circle of candidates in deputies.
Alexander Lukashenko three sons, 41-year-old Victor, a 37-year-old Dmitri ("legitimate" sons) and 13-year-old Nicholas (born out of wedlock). According to the logic of the political process, the role of the successor is best suited Viktor Lukashenko, who is in charge of all power structures of the country. Officially, he holds the positions of assistant to the President for national security and member of the Security Council.
Be the first to speak Belarusian politician, a former leader of the parliamentary group "Respublika" Syarhei Skrabets. Citing a "reliable source", he said that the scenario of transfer of power to the eldest son Victor Lukashenko has approved: "the referendum will put two questions: the abolition of the death penalty (for the blind) and the election of the President by Parliament. Viktor Lukashenko is assigned, for example, the head of the Grodno region and is automatically included in the upper chamber — the Council of the Republic. And then choose the deputies solemnly with his entourage of the new President. This scenario is already approved."
This transfer of power, in his opinion, should be held over the next year or two. "Lukashenka already tired of Russia — the transfer of power is intended to avoid direct interference in the internal Affairs of Belarus" — says Skrabets.
The middle son, Dimitri is considered to be completely unambitious man, he runs the "Presidential sports club" and is in charge of the lottery business. But in early 2007 Alexander Lukashenka surprised the public and journalists, saying: "the Younger will to prepare to succeed. Perhaps the third will only be President." A week later, during a working trip to the Chernobyl region, Lukashenka with Kolya visited the Orthodox Church in ancient Turov, and in Khoiniki has publicly said: "the Alleged public Association "Belaya Rus" was created under the future President and that this President is my eldest son. As I said, my youngest son will be President."
Andrei Suzdaltsev, Deputy Dean of the faculty of world economy and world politics HSE, agreed that Belarus expects the transfer of power within the family Lukashenko. "November 6, 2015 Alexander Lukashenko inaugurals the fifth time. Now it is quite clear, taking into account the factor Youngest President (Nikolai Lukashenko), in the eyes of the Belarusian people in the country, a system of hereditary power," he writes on the resource politoboz.com.
I agree with Mr. Suzdaltsev, the head of the Center for political analysis and forecasts (Minsk) Pavel Usau: "I think that the leader of the country really believes that will be able to stay in power long enough to transfer power to his youngest son," said the expert in an interview to "Belarusian truth".
In fact, the younger presidential son — the most common people in Belarus. He appears next to his father on all the events and always accompanies him on all foreign trips. It's near father takes hits, delivers products to nursing homes and gives the Belarusian alphabet to the Pope. Not coincidentally Alyaksandr Lukashenka in the nation for several years for the eyes called "papakoli".
Then the head of Belarus has not invented anything new: in one of the republics of the former USSR scenario of the transfer of presidential power by inheritance have been worked out. In Azerbaijan in 2003 the deceased Heydar Aliyev in the post of the head of state succeeded by his son Ilham. In 2008 Ilham Aliyev was re-elected for a second term, and in 2013-m — on the third. To take this step Aliyev allowed a referendum in 2009, after restrictions on number of presidential terms, just like the Belarusian referendum, 2004.
Recently, the legislation was again changed: in particular, it cancelled the lower age limit for the post of head of state. Observers explain it simply: the next presidential elections in Azerbaijan in 2018 and then in 2025. Then Ilham Aliyev will be 63 years and his only son, Heydar Aliyev, Jr. — 28 years. And he will confirm in successor status.
In Belarus, while under the law the bottom bracket 35. That is Nikolai Lukashenko will be able to take power from the Pope only in 2041, when it will be well over 80. However, Lukashenko Sr. have repeatedly changed the Constitution, can he do it now, for example, to reduce the minimum presidential age, say 35 to 25 years. And it can be combined with the election of the President by Parliament. Along the way, beat everything as a triumph of democracy — indeed, in many European countries the President is elected by the legislature. And in the Belarusian Parliament has already allowed the opposition, so technically he was almost democratic. From this point of view, the transfer of power and Viktor, and Nikolai Lukashenko through amending the Constitution — a very real scenario.
Successors apparent and imaginary
Is among analysts in Moscow and Minsk, another point of view — that the transfer of power from Lukashenko was indeed forthcoming, but not one of his sons. The likely successor to call the current Minister for foreign Affairs (former head of the presidential administration), Vladimir Makei. His image at the same time hard Manager and Pro-Western liberal policies.
"Today the Minister of foreign Affairs of the Republic Vladimir Makei — a welcome guest in European capitals. He secretly oversees almost all of the Belarusian public organization of the political wing think tanks that receive funding from abroad and from Lukashenka's administration, said in comments to "Rosbalt" expert of the Higher school of economy Dmitry Bolkunets. — When he was the head of the presidential administration Vladimir Makei was in charge of the debate on foreign and domestic policy. Under the patronage of the head of the Belarusian foreign Ministry in Minsk has been closed the conference on security in Europe with the participation of the CIA and NATO. Vladimir Makei dreams of the neutral status of Belarus and sees no threat in the placement of NATO troops in the neighboring countries."
According to Bakunzi, Western politicians have openly called Makei most convenient changer Lukashenko. Yes, and among the Belarusian opposition to criticism of the foreign Minister is taboo. It is significant that on 15 July at the VII Congress of Belarusians of the world just Uladzimir Makei represented official Minsk and persuaded influential representatives of the Belarusian Diaspora to start cooperation with the current Belarusian authorities.
"Rumor has it that the candidacy of Vladimir Makei to seriously consider as a possible successor, who will be able to ensure the security of the family and the immediate environment of Lukashenko, — says Dmitry Bolkunets. Otherwise it's hard to believe that Alexander Lukashenko does not notice the obvious creeping Palace coup".
Also as a likely successor was often called the head of the Minsk region Semyon Shapiro — experienced nomenklatura and the "good Manager" (Belarusian analogue of the expression "effective Manager"). But recently, Shapiro was removed from office and transferred to another job — also symbolic — to lead the Belarusian hockey, favorite sport Lukashenko.
"If at the time of transit of Belarusian nomenclature will be in the same condition as now (no clans, distinct elite groups, a cohesive power bloc and, most importantly, successor), we will likely see a chaotic redistribution of power, writes on the website "Moscow Carnegie center" Belarusian political analyst Artiom shraibman. — With the continuing dependence on Moscow, and the orientation of the majority of the Russian Federation supported by the Kremlin forces is likely to gain legitimacy in the eyes of items and companies. The West is neither the political will nor the resources to seriously intervene in a still-far from his country."
Because under the Constitution the President has very broad powers, the new Belarusian regime in the case of spontaneous transit in the coming years is likely to be the same person essentially, but with a less charismatic leader at the head. Reason — in the General grayness of the Belarusian nomenclature, sighting and years of scrubbing bright. But, on the other hand, with the "grey image" began and Vladimir Putin, reminds shraibman.
"While it is impossible to predict on whose script will be the transfer of power: strong and pressing upon the President of a group of elites or of Lukashenko aware of the risks of uncontrolled collapse of the system when it is spontaneous care, — says the analyst. — The role of Moscow in this process will be proportional to the degree of dependence of the Belarusian economy from Russia at the time of the transit authority. But this role should not be exaggerated. The favorite of the elites in the first presidential elections in 1994 were Prime Minister Vyacheslav Kebich with the greatest Pro program and long-standing ties to Moscow. But charisma Lukashenko and his rapid political ascent quickly things have changed — shifted as item, and Moscow".
Of course, all these hypotheses may be insolvent if suddenly Lukashenka himself will appoint his successor, and will thus provide a controlled rapid transit authority. Or, on the contrary, clung to a chair and had done so many economic mistakes that first in the process of change of power will come of the protest movement.
Sometimes they come back
One of the toughest opponents of Lukashenko in the elections of 1994 were the leader of Belarusian nationalists Zenon Pozniak. Already in 1996 he was forced to flee from persecution abroad, since living in Poland and the USA. And recently, Poznyak and his supporters presented the program "free Belarus" — "the project of a new Belarus, a transitional government which, after the elimination of the anti-people regime will take responsibility for the fate and future of the country".
Interestingly, this program does not repeat the fate of countless documents, born of the opposition over the last two decades. The program Zenon Pozniak was published in independent media and indeed have been widely discussed. In our society, now there is a debate about a possible scenario for the democratic development of the country after Alexander Lukashenko — and it is an objective fact.