Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei, a close ally of authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko, has died at the age of 64, the state news agency Belta reported Saturday.
Vladimir Makei Cause of Death
Vladimir Makei, the Belarusian foreign minister, passed away mysteriously. No cause of death was stated. Mr. Makei “died abruptly” at age 64 after holding the office since 2012, according to Belta, a news outlet controlled by Belarus. Mr. Makei visited Yerevan, Armenia, four days before he passed away, and yesterday, he was spotted seeing Archbishop Ante Jozic, raising the possibility that his death was not the consequence of a protracted illness.
Who is Vladimir Makei?
Vladimir Makei was born in the hamlet of Niekraševičy. In 1980, he received his diploma from the Minsk State Pedagogical Institute of Foreign Languages. Following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Vladimir Makei served in both the USSR and Belarusian armed forces. The colonel retired in 1993. He received his diploma from the Austrian Diplomatic Academy in 1993.
Makei worked for the ministry as numerous departments’ secretaries (Information and Humanitarian Cooperation, Analysis and Forecast, Office of the Minister, State Protocol Service). He served as a counselor at the Belarusian embassy in France from 1996 to 1999 and concurrently represented Belarus in the Council of Europe.
He had been the foreign affairs minister since August 20, 2012.
Suspicious in death
His abrupt death comes amid rising tensions between NATO and Belarus, as Russia continues to deploy its troops in the country – and just a day after a think tank predicted that Vladimir Putin may attempt to intimidate Belarus into joining the invasion of Ukraine.
The foreign ministry of the Kremlin declared that Russia was “shocked” to learn of the tragedy. According to Sputnik, the press secretary for the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, Mr “suddenly passed away a few hours ago. None were present, a terrible loss for us all.”
Maria Zakharova, a spokesman for the Russian foreign ministry, stated in a Telegram message: “The news of Vladimir Makei’s passing as the director of the Republic of Belarus’s foreign ministry has stunned us. The Russian Foreign Ministry’s official condolences will be released soon.”
The US-based Robert Lansing Institute yesterday quoted sources from the top of the Russian military who suggested that Putin would make an assassination attempt on Belarusian president Lukashenko, “or its imitation”.
The goal, according to the research group, was to “ultimately intimidate him and persuade him to eventually order his forces to directly fight in the war on Ukraine, alongside Russian troops.” Ngnews247.com