Russia Seeks to Preseve Its Media Influence, Belarus' Own Anti-Missile System - Belarus Security Digest

Russia wants to maintain its control over the minds of the population of CIS countries.

Belarus develops its own anti-missile system, the Halberd. The Kremlin hopes that its allies will help it with supplying it military equipment that it is not longer able to directly access through Ukraine.

The UAV Grif learns to fly. The military and industrial sector is looking to make some more money, while the army has none to speak of. Another arrest in a high-profile corruption case is made in the Homiel region.

Russia seeks to preserve its information influence in the CIS. Moscow wants to retain one of its most important means of leverage over post-Soviet countries, its dominance in information dissemination. Through the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO), Russia reiterated the importance of a coordinated information policy between the Alliance's members.

This means preserving a single informational network, or to put it more plainly, Russia wants to keep CSTO member states in the fold of Russia's informational sphere of influence.

Moscow still seeks to infuse its anti-Western sentiments throughout the capitals of CSTO member states

Meanwhile, Moscow still seeks to infuse its anti-Western sentiments throughout the capitals of CSTO member states by scaring local rulers with claims that "attempts to use the technology of 'colour revolutions' are being made" against the Alliance's member states.

A round table on the topic of information, social networks and security took place on 24 July 2014 at the CSTO Secretariat in order to develop this subject. The main objective of the event was to work out recommendations for countering destructive activities in mass media and social networks.

Some proposals, taking into account the implementation of such practises of countries in the post-Soviet space, are of openly repressive in nature (countering information and psychological pressure in the blogosphere and social networks directed against leaders of CSTO member states, permanent monitoring of social networks in order to block the dissemination of negative information in the CSTO).

Belarus plans to develop its own anti-missile defence system. Alexander Lukashenka stated the need to develop a national anti-missile system, which would be "not worse than the C‑300". The Belarusian military and industrial sector certainly has the necessarily technological means to create an air defence system. Yet, the lack of a domestically manufactured rockets and missiles remain problematic.

Due to political restrictions, only three countries, Ukraine, China and Russia, can supply missiles to any future domestic anti-missile system. Belarus already has experience with the short-range anti-missile sT-38 Stiletto system, a project implemented jointly with the Ukrainian military and industrial sector that makes use of a Ukrainian anti-aircraft missile. However, the supply of medium-range missiles will require a political decision.

This may "stimulate" Moscow to transfer its anti-missile defence equipment to Belarus on preferential or pro bono terms

The existence of technological foundation in Belarus for the development of its own anti-missile system may "stimulate" Moscow to transfer its anti-missile defence equipment to Belarus on preferential or pro bono terms.

First of all, such a move would help to Belarus in the sphere of Russian military and technical influence. Second, a change in policy would be guided at "strangling" any potential competitor on the market of air-defence systems. If the national army does not buy the domestic air-defence systems, it would dramatically curtail the export prospects of the new weapons system.

Russia hopes to circumvent the arms embargo imposed by Kyiv with the help of CSTO member states. After Ukraine banned supplying military goods to Russia, Moscow, through the CSTO, is considering ending its military contracts with Ukrainian enterprises to start working with the member states of the Alliance. Russia hopes, with the help of its allies, to organise the manufacturing of components, weapons and military equipment, which it previously purchased from Ukrainian arms industry companies.

It is doubtful that this idea will prove to be successful: the Ukrainian military and industrial sector has a number of critical and unique technologies, the mastery of which would take years to develop -- even with access to the necessary technical documentation. Primarily it is an issue of training of skilled manufacturing personnel and procuring the necessary manufacturing equipment.

Tests of the UAV with the 100 km range are near completion. There are plans to complete in the near future a series of tests of an unmanned aircraft-type vehicle Grif-1, manufactured by the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant. Before the end of the year, a decision should be made on whether or not the Belarusian army will adopt the equipment. And in a year, supplying equipment to the Belarusian ministry of defence may find footing and be launched.

It should be noted that in October 2012 we learned that the 558th Aircraft Repair Plant had received a preliminary order from the Belarusian ministry of defence for several dozens of UAVs. The first six units should have been delivered to the ministry before the end of 2013.

The Ministry of Defence and the military and industrial sector debate pricing policy for weapons. On 16 June 2014, a meeting was held in the State Military and Industrial Committee (SMIC) on the issues of the development and mass manufacturing of weapons, military and special equipment, increasing managerial responsibility for the execution of the state defence orders its pricing policy.

Major General Alieh Bielakonieu, Chief of the General Staff of the Armed Forces, representatives of the ministry of defence as well as heads of organisations included in the SMIC attended the meeting.

The participants raised again the issue of financing the development of a national military and industrial sector. The pricing mechanism for military goods remains a problem. Based upon published information, the solution could be lowering manufacturing costs rather than increasing prices. The latter is caused by the limited financial resources of security agencies.

Investigation of a high-profile corruption case in the Homiel region is under way. A number of senior officials from the KGB and local police, a judge and officials were arraigned on criminal charges recently. Apparently, the list thus far is inconclusive. Information about the detention of a deputy head of the police department of the Homiel region was released. His name, however, was not made public was not communicated.

This suggests that the KGB got the go-ahead to carry out a 'cleansing' of the regional elite. Siarhiej Tsierabau, the new head of the Homiel department of the KGB, is a new man in the region and he is not connected in any way with the regional elites. Thus, he has no commitments towards them.

Andrei Parotnikau

Andrei is the head of the “Belarus Security Blog” analytical project.

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