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Belarus has been passing through a deep political crisis strengthened by the complicated economic situation and Western-backed regime-change attempts.
On August 18, pro-Western forces continued their pressure campaign on the Lukashenko-led government seeking to force Alexander Lukashenko to resign. Western mainstream media and opposition propaganda structures (funded and controlled from the EU, first of all Poland) argue that the demonstrations showed signs of expanding, with more factory workers joining the protests and hundreds of people gathering outside factories and a jail where the husband of the country’s main opposition figure, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, is being held.
The pro-Western opposition is currently focusing on the following directions:
- The further expansion of protests across the country;
- The promotion of the nation-wide strike with the goal of stopping all main industrial facilities of Belarus, including the direct blockade of key administrative and industrial objects;
- The psychological pressure on citizens, government workers, diplomats and security forces personnel in order to force them to break the ties with the Lukashenko government and declare the public support to the opposition (even if this goes contrary to their real views);
- The creation of an alternative system of governance, including the government in exile led by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya that is now in Lithuania.
The number of protesters participating in daily events and especially plants involved in the ‘nation-wide’ strike is intentionally overestimated by Western-funded propaganda structures. (MORE ABOUT THEM HERE AND HERE) At the same time, it should be noted that the real coordinators of the ‘grassroots’ protest use the created opposition ‘strike force’ very effective. The video below shows what’s happening near the entrance to the Minsk Automobile Plant (also known as MTZ) and what a plant worker sees when he leaves the plant.
All these people that gathered near the plant and were waving opposition flags and screaming were not plant workers. This is an organized gathering designed to threaten and psychologically pressure the plant’s workers, as well as the rest of the population (depending on the location of event), and force them to accept the ‘new reality’ – i.e. the self-declared victory of the opposition. The actions of these protest groups that deploy near key industrial and administrative objects under the command of their coordinators are aimed at forcing people, regardless their real position, to declare the public support to the regime change efforts. In other cases, this crowd signals, people will face negative consequences (including threats to life) as ‘supporters of the regime’.
Earlier, this approach was already employed during the coup in Ukraine in 2014. Nonetheless, the Belarusian case is slightly different because Belarus has kept its industrial potential and the industrial sector and its workers play an important role in the country’s economic and social life. Therefore, they become a target of a coordinated attack. At the same time, the establishment of control over Belarusian plants and their further looting in the field of interests of the leaders of the Belarusian ‘democratic opposition’ and its sponsors.
The dominance of the opposition in the media sphere and on the street have become almost unconditional. At least, this situation will remain in this filed as long as there are no looting and violent actions that could justify the usage of force by authorities. However, even in this case, the reaction of the Lukashenko government will likely be painted as the suppression of ‘peaceful protesters’.
The international community is very concerned by the situation in Belarus:
Asked if he supports protesters in Belarus, Trump mishears the reporter and offers a Freudian slip — "protesters and terrorists?" Then, after paying lip service to democracy, he takes the opportunity to bash "so-called peaceful protesters" in Portland. pic.twitter.com/NvulVR26zi
— Aaron Rupar (@atrupar) August 18, 2020
In own turn, after the first days of riots, when the government successfully and extensively used force to suppress them, President Lukashenko demonstrated that currently he has no understanding on what to do with the ‘nonviolent resistance’ campaign and does not control the situation. If nothing changes, the collapse of the current Belarusian governance system and the fall of Lukashenko is the matter of the next few weeks.
Meanwhile, the entire policy of Lukashenko and a majority of his recent actions were apparently aimed at causing the maximum damage to Belarus’ main military ally and de-facto economic sponsor, Russia. For a long time, Lukashenko had made regular and hostile statements towards Moscow and had contributed extensive efforts to undermine the relations with Russia.
Just ahead of the elections, Lukashenko provoked a new public conflict with Russia regarding the gas supplies and economic questions (demanding more unconditional support by blackmailing Moscow in various fields).
Then, Lukashenko employed a harsh anti-Russian rhetoric ahead and during the presidential election. The Lukashenko government staged and participated in the provocation with detention of ‘Russian mercenaries’ that allegedly came to destabilize Belarus (spoiler – no).
After this, the Lukashenko government allowed the main public figure of the opposition, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, to flee to Lithuania, where he, under the patronage of Lithuanian, Polish and US special services, immediately started creating the government in exile.
When the situation went out of control and Lukashenko felt that his political regime is crumbling, he found out that he’s an ally of Russia and Belarusians are the ‘Russian people’. So, he started fiercely speculating that Moscow will support his political regime at any cost, including the military intervention. In fact, no such statements were made by the Kremlin and the only declaration of the military support was related to the protection of Belarus from a foreign intervention as a member state of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Despite this, the behavior of Lukashenko created conditions for the anti-Russian hysteria among the pro-Western opposition in Belarus as well as in Western mainstream media.
The refusal of Lukashenko to make political reforms and his determination to remain in power at any cost prolong the ongoing crisis and play into the hand of the Western-controlled opposition. Every day, the political and public campaign run by pro-Western forces gains momentum. The ‘alternative’ governance system controlled from the abroad and consisting of clearly anti-Russian and pro-Western figures is being formed under the brand of Tsikhanouskaya.
As to Russia, over the past weeks, Moscow has demonstrated that it has no active policy towards the crisis in Belarus. The Russian leadership may have decided that it has no tactical opportunities that will allow it to secure its interests. Therefore, Moscow may have opted a more prolonged strategy that includes into the consideration the possible victory of the pro-Western opposition and its expected negative consequences (looting of the industrial complex and the collapse of the economy). In this case, Russia will have an opportunity to restore its influence in Belarus using the dissatisfaction of the population with the deterioration of the social and economic situation under the Western rule in 2-3 years. In the event of a larger crisis and the start of a nationalist-initiated bloodbath in Belarus, Russia may opt to employ a peace-keeping force to put an end to the violence. In this scenario and in the case of success of the peace-restoring operation, the political and economic integration of Belarus with Russia as a part of the Union Sate will be relaunched and Belarus and Russia will become the Union State not only on paper (since 1996), but de-facto.
MORE ON THE TOPIC:
- Long Road Towards ‘Independent’ Orthodox Church Of Belarus
- ‘Not Foreign Meddling’: European Parliament Rejects Lukashenko As Belarus President
- Polish Psychological Operations Unit On Guard Of ‘Democracy’ In Belarus