Lukashenko meets Belarus police chiefs after shakeup

Agence France-Presse

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

Lukashenko meets Belarus police chiefs after shakeup

Belarus' President Alexander Lukashenko shakes hands with newly-appointed Minsk police chief Mikhail Grib during a ceremony in Minsk on October 30, 2020. (Photo by Sergei SHELEG / BELTA / AFP)

Photo by Sergei Sheleg/Belta/AFP

Alexander Lukashenko's election rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya describes the reshuffle as a sign that his 'power is weakening'

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko held a meeting with his new security chiefs on Friday, October 30, following a reshuffle as he seeks to tighten his grip on power after months of unprecedented protests.

The ex-Soviet nation has witnessed huge demonstrations since the 66-year-old strongman claimed a landslide victory in an August presidential election that opponents say was rigged.

On Thursday, October 29, Lukashenko replaced his interior minister and closed land borders with EU members Poland, Lithuania and Latvia as well as Ukraine, citing the coronavirus pandemic.

He also appointed a new police chief for the capital Minsk on Friday.

At a meeting with newly-appointed Interior Minister Ivan Kubrakov and Minsk police chief Mikhail Grib, Lukashenko said the “stability and well-being” of Belarusians depended on the efficiency of their work.

Kubrakov, 45, replaced Yuri Karayev, who presided over a brutal post-election crackdown on protesters which saw several people die and thousands arrested.

On Thursday, Lukashenko’s election rival Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, a political novice who claims to be the real winner of the August election, described the reshuffle as a sign that his “power is weakening.”

“He is making these inconsistent decisions because he is in a panic,” Tikhanovksaya, who is in exile in Lithuania, said on her Telegram channel.

Karayev and two other officials with a military background were appointed presidential aides to parts of the country that Lukashenko described as “especially dangerous.”

The aides were sent to Minsk, the western city of Grodno and the southwestern city of Brest which have seen some of the largest protests in recent weeks.

Tens of thousands of people have been taking to the streets every Sunday in protest at Lukashenko’s 26-year rule.

Lukashenko on Thursday proposed establishing volunteer squads from former servicemen and providing them with weapons to ensure law and order.

“They can help us a lot,” he said.

Tikhanovskaya had given Lukashenko until October 25 to quit, halt violence against protesters and release political prisoners.

On Monday, October 26, the opposition announced a strike while the authorities arrested nearly 600 people. Students joined the industrial action by initiating sit-in protests at their universities.

Several students at a Minsk university have been expelled over their participation,, an independent news website, reported on Friday.

The political situation in Belarus appears at an impasse, with the Moscow-backed Lukashenko refusing to go and the opposition unable to force his ouster. –

Add a comment

Sort by

There are no comments yet. Add your comment to start the conversation.

Summarize this article with AI

How does this make you feel?

Download the Rappler App!