Publication: Monitor Volume: 1 Issue: 160

. Joining the Russian authorities to mark the December 20 anniversary of the Cheka, the Bolshevik predecessor to the NKVD and KGB, Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko announced the appointments of a new Belarusian KGB chairman and internal affairs minister. The former position goes to Uladzimir Matskevich, until now KGB chief for Brest oblast. He replaces Uladzimir Yahorau, who stepped down earlier this year as KGB chairman after being elected to parliament . Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs Valyantsin Aholets is promoted to head that ministry. Lukashenko dismissed Interior Minister Yuri Zakharenka in October and purged the ministry’s ranks for alleged financial wrongdoing. The appointments are of special significance because Lukashenko’s authoritarian rule requires the support of intelligence and security forces. In August, the president ordered a police crackdown on striking Minsk subway workers and, later, blamed the unrest on foreign conspirators who had been identified as such by the KGB. Prior to that incident, in April, armed guards forcibly broke up a hunger strike by pro-democracy deputies in the halls of the parliament building. On the occasion of the Cheka anniversary, Lukashenko lauded the KGB’s history of devotion to duty. He said the greatest achievement of his administration in the past year was to instill in the population "a respectful and good attitude toward our KGB." (19)

1. Interfax, Radio Liberty, December 21

2. Interfax, December 20; Financial Times, December 22

3. Interfax, December 21

4. Interfax, December 21

5. Interfax, December 21

6. Interfax, December 21

7. Shumeiko interview in Golos, No. 50, 1995

8. Izvestiya, December 16

9. Interfax, December 20

10. Interfax, Radio Liberty, December 21

11. Interfax, Reuters, December 21

12. Komsomolskaya pravda, December 20; Interfax, December 21

13. Nezavisimaya gazeta, December 20

14. Basapress and Flux, December 20 and 21

15. Interfax-Ukraine, December 21

16. Itar-Tass, December 20

17. Interfax, December 19

18. BNS, December 20 and 21

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