Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

November 27, 2020

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Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s statement and answers to media questions at a joint news conference with Foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei

While this press conference contains a shorter Belarus update, it has a wider context and is posted to illustrate Foreign Minister Lavrov’s clear expression of irritation with the west, which he now covers in each of his routine press conferences.  In this one, he handles among other topics, protests across the world, Heiko Maas, Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE), International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner being silent and not doing their jobs, as well as strategic stability.

Joint session of the collegiums of the Russian and Belarusian Foreign Ministries, November 26, 2020

Ladies and gentlemen,

We have held a joint session of the collegiums of the Russian Foreign Ministry and the Belarusian Foreign Ministry. By tradition, it took place in a confidential and truly friendly atmosphere.

Using this opportunity, I would like to thank again our Belarusian friends for their traditional hospitality and excellent organisation of work. We highly value these annual meetings in the format of members of the collegiums and other representatives of the two ministries’ top management. They allow us to discuss in detail the most urgent international issues that involve the interests of our countries and need to be addressed.

Despite the complicated epidemiological situation, we managed to meet offline and talk face to face. We had four items on our agenda: relations of our countries with the European Union, participation in UN peacekeeping missions (in part, in the context of the prospects of the CSTO’s involvement in the UN peacekeeping activities), cooperation in the EAEU on forming the Greater Eurasian Partnership and ways of ensuring international information security.

We achieved specific agreements on all of these issues. They are reflected in a resolution that we signed in addition to the plan of consultations between our foreign ministries in 2021. We also spoke about broader cooperation in international organisations, including the CIS, CSTO, EAEU, UN and OSCE.

We and our Belarusian colleagues had to state that unfortunately our US-led Western partners continue persistently promoting their narrow selfish interests in a bid to preserve their hegemony in the world arena. They are using the concept of the “rules-based” world order, setting it directly against universal, commonly recognised standards of international law, including the UN Charter.

We are concerned about the attempts by the Western countries to establish control over international organisations, up to and including privatisation of their secretariats. When this fails, they try to replace collective work in universal formats with private get-togethers where all those who agree with the Western policy make decisions that are later presented as multilateral and binding. It is hardly possible to make us follow these rules. The overwhelming majority of countries are firmly committed to the old, tried-and-tested principle – respect for international law, primarily the UN Charter.

We noted numerous facts of crude interference by the US and those who follow in its wake (I am referring to some European capitals) in the internal affairs of sovereign states. The dirty methods of colour revolutions continue to be used. These include manipulation of public opinion, instigation and support of overtly anti-government forces and contribution to their radicalisation. We are seeing how these methods are being applied to the Republic of Belarus. We spoke about this in detail today both with Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei and President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who received us before this meeting.

We were informed in great detail about the current developments in Belarus. We are not indifferent to them. The Republic of Belarus is our ally and strategic partner and also a fraternal nation. We are interested in a calm and stable situation in that country. This will be facilitated by the Constitutional reform that was launched by the Belarusian leadership as a major transformation of the political, economic and legal systems.

We believe the Belarusian people are wise and always act in a balanced manner. They are capable of resolving their problems without any outside prompting or obtrusive proposals on unwanted mediation. It is obvious that attempts to jeopardise normalisation are being made. There are many examples of this: a desire to radicalise the protesters, encouraging people to engage in subversion and high treason, which are made, in part, from abroad.

Today we again reviewed in detail the entire range of our ties and ways of protecting the interests of each of our countries, as well as the interests of the Union State of the Republic of Belarus and the Russian Federation.

I would like to emphasise again that we are content with our joint discussion. We will carry out everything we have agreed on today.

Question (addressed to both ministers): On November 18, 2020, your German counterpart Heiko Maas accused the authorities of Belarus of violently suppressing peaceful protests. Having said this, he urged the Council of Europe to use its instruments for monitoring the situation even in those European countries that do not want to join the organisation. Could you comment on this, please?

Sergey Lavrov (speaking after Vladimir Makei):  We took note of how Germany took over the Presidency of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe (CMCE). German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas first made a speech at a closed CMCE meeting and then held a news conference. His speech was unconventional for the presidency of this pan-European body because the main goal of the Council of Europe, which is recorded in its statute, is to promote greater unity of all European countries. By definition, the President, all the more so in the Council of Europe, must focus on enhancing unity in his future work rather than stir up confrontation.

It is no secret that at the CMCE meeting prior to that news conference, Heiko Maas presented his programme for the next sixth months in a politicised vein and unacceptable tone, in a crude, undiplomatic manner. He made a number of Russophobic statements. He had grievances not only as regards the Republic of Belarus but also made groundless Russophobic accusations in respect of Crimea, Abkhazia, South Ossetia, Transnistria and southeastern Ukraine. His opinion on the Nagorno-Karabakh agreement also sounded rather strange.

At the news conference Mr Maas urged everyone “to respect the rules-based order.” Our Western colleagues are not going to respect international law as a matter of principle. He did say that the principles of the Council of Europe must be imposed by using relevant instruments, including on those countries that are not members of the Council of Europe. I consider this absolutely unacceptable.

It is indeed strange that of all countries it is Germany that has recently decided to act as a driver of aggressive approaches to the countries that are not NATO or EU members.

Those who are objective and pay attention to double standards will note that neither Mr Maas, nor other Western representatives or UN human rights agencies have said a word about rather serious incidents in France and Germany. There were protests by yellow vests in France, demonstrations against COVID restrictions in Germany and some other countries, and protests against a ban on abortions in Poland. They were dispersed in a very tough manner.

International agencies, including the Office of the UN Human Rights Commissioner, stayed silent. Human rights champions in France covered the yellow vests protests in a completely different manner than they cover events in Russia and Belarus. Only in the beginning did they cautiously urge the sides to overcome their differences. But later the yellow vests began to encounter a tough police response. In the estimate of French human rights activists, almost 15,000 rubber bullets were shot at the protesters; 2,500 people were wounded and 12,000 detained, including 2,000 who were sentenced, in part, to real prison terms. But nobody speaks about this. This is considered normal because these are their compatriots. It is necessary to get rid of this attitude, especially for those who head the Council of Europe.

About a month ago, Council of Europe Secretary General Marija Pejcinovic Buric asked us in Moscow about our assessments of the events in the Republic of Belarus. She received our answers and inquired whether the Council of Europe can contribute to normalisation there in some way. We promised do convey her wish to those concerned. She emphasised that this will be possible only if the Republic of Belarus makes this request itself. But as you can see, the German Presidency has different plans in this respect. This is regrettable.

We will try to compel the Council of Europe, all the more so under the German Presidency, not to forget about the issues that the West is trying to hush up in many different ways. This applies to discrimination against Russian speakers in the Baltic states, the disgraceful lack of citizenship, and the so-called reforms in the field of education and language in Ukraine that are aimed only against the Russian language, as distinct from the languages of other national minorities because they are EU languages. We will not accept the efforts of the Council of Europe (or some of its members) to hush up the facts of the purposeful harassment of the Russian media, not to mention the glorification of Nazism. The German Presidency must remember all this and must not divert the Council of Europe to the discussion of issues that are more comfortable for the West and justify its positions, while ignoring the problems that have become chronic for our Western colleagues.

Question: What are the prospects for concluding new strategic stability treaties with the United States once the new administration is in office? Last year, President Trump mentioned a new trilateral document involving Russia, the United States and China. What will happen now?

Sergey Lavrov: This is a long-standing matter. True, the Trump administration was consumed (I can’t come up with any other word) by a desire to involve the People’s Republic of China in disarmament talks. Initially, they talked about the need to include the PRC in the START Treaty which is still in force, although this is impossible by definition. Then, they proposed creating a new treaty and not renewing the current one, because it’s outdated and bilateral, whereas they would like to take a step towards multilateral disarmament and arms control. Their position was erratic. As a result, they came up with a proposal to extend the treaty for another year, but on the condition that we recount each other’s warheads and put in overseers at the defence plants’ checkpoints. Counting warheads and ignoring carriers and innovative technologies that directly affect strategic stability is a frivolous and unprofessional approach.

Earlier this year, we made proposals to our US colleagues about structuring our future dialogue on arms control and non-proliferation. They stood their ground and insisted on warheads alone. They have long been interested in Russian tactical nuclear weapons, hence their interest in warheads at the expense of everything else. We say we will be ready to discuss non-strategic nuclear weapons, including warheads, when the Americans withdraw their tactical weapons from other countries. In Europe, these weapons are deployed in five NATO countries. Also, NATO structures conduct training in handling nuclear weapons for military personnel from non-nuclear countries in flagrant violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT).

With regard to the People’s Republic of China, President Putin has repeatedly stated that we have nothing against it, but the decision is up to the PRC. China has officially and publicly stated on several occasions that it is not going to join the talks with Russia and the United States, since its nuclear arsenal is an order of magnitude smaller than the corresponding arsenals of Moscow and Washington. We respect this position. If and when the Americans persuade China to join multilateral talks, we will have no objection to that. We will be willing to participate in them if the PRC agrees to this of its own accord. But we are not going to persuade Beijing to do so just at the whim of the Americans. But if and when a multilateral format in disarmament and arms control talks is created, we will push for France and the United Kingdom to join it as well.

When we told the Americans about this, they told us that these counties are their allies and they vouch for them. Precisely because they are allies of the United States, we would like to see them at the negotiating table, if the talks become multilateral. Washington’s absolutely hostile doctrine towards Russia cannot but raise questions about the motives of the US allies, whether in Europe or Asia. When they enter into a military alliance with a country that declares us a hostile state, we must draw our own conclusions regarding these allies.

I don’t see how we can seriously discuss anything related to the continuation of the arms control process with the Trump administration. We do not know yet what kind of administration will move into the White House or what kind of policy it will conduct. The voting results have not yet been announced officially, but there’s already an understanding that the change-of-command process is underway. Let’s wait and see what kind of assessments will eventually form in the minds of those who will shape the US strategic stability policy after January 21, 2021.

Question (addressed to both ministers): Popular protests have been growing around the world for various reasons, including political ones. The law enforcement reaction is the same everywhere, going as far as the use of force and special equipment. At the same time, such events in Belarus are receiving heightened attention from foreign politicians. What do you think is the reason?

Sergey Lavrov: I have already cited examples of protests being suppressed in France. Those drastic figures are rarely revealed to the general public. Human rights agencies in the UN system, as well as numerous human rights rapporteurs are trying their best to avoid any topics that are uncomfortable for Western representatives.

Speaking of the protests in Paris, there is a huge wave of protest against the global security bill, which includes a ban on photographing, filming or otherwise identifying law enforcement officers. I can imagine the kind of racket a bill like that would have sparked if it were proposed in Russia or Belarus. The French public and human rights groups are concerned, yet we can see no reaction from international bodies. The police used water cannons and noise grenades during rallies against the bill. The protesters, too, provoked the police, using stones and sticks. One police officer was injured. And yet, I repeat, this does not prevent the West from lecturing anyone who is not their ally.

Voting processes in Russia and Belarus have been scrutinised through a magnifying glass. When a similar story happens in the United States, it is declared “normal, it’s democracy, and everything is just fine.” Though, even respected and influential think tanks in the United States openly write about “the problems with the US electoral system.” To put it mildly, that system does not fully comply with the principles of democracy or the rule of law. They write these things themselves, but our international partners prefer to ignore them and concentrate on the countries whose “regimes” they find undesirable.

When UN rapporteurs, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, describe violent clashes in Western capitals, they urge everyone to find a solution through dialogue. When they criticise us or Belarus, they demand a change of the system. This difference is visible to the naked eye. We have long lost any illusions about what kind of standards the West is promoting and how they use double standards. We will fight, and will defend our position at the UN bodies, where these issues should be considered. We will not allow the vices that the Western community is demonstrating to be forgotten.

Question (addressed to both ministers): How can you comment on Pavel Latushko’s last interview, where he spoke about the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow?

Sergey Lavrov: Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Maria Zakharova has just shown me part of that interview. Not only did he mention the possibility of unofficial contacts with Moscow – he said such contacts were underway and were coordinated. He shamelessly declared he could not cite any names, but mentioned “contacts at a sufficiently high level.” He speculated whether I will be allowed to tell my Belarusian friends about it. I will answer briefly: this is a blatant lie, and it once again says something about those trying to make some kind of career with foreign handouts.

More Pressure On Russia Will Have No Effect

20 years of Vladimir Putin in power: a timeline.

Source

October 17, 2020

Over the last years the U.S. and its EU puppies have ratcheted up their pressure on Russia. They seem to believe that they can compel Russia to follow their diktat. They can’t. But the illusion that Russia will finally snap, if only a few more sanctions ar applied or a few more houses in Russia’s neighborhood are set on fire, never goes away.

As Gilbert Doctorow describes the situation:

The fires burning at Russia’s borders in the Caucasus are an add-on to the disorder and conflict on its Western border in neighboring Belarus, where fuel is poured on daily by pyromaniacs at the head of the European Union acting surely in concert with Washington.

Yesterday we learned of the decision of the European Council to impose sanctions on President Lukashenko, a nearly unprecedented action when directed against the head of state of a sovereign nation.

It is easy enough to see that the real intent of the sanctions is to put pressure on the Kremlin, which is Lukashenko’s guarantor in power, to compound the several other measures being implemented simultaneously in the hope that Putin and his entourage will finally crack and submit to American global hegemony as Europe did long ago.

The anti-Russia full tilt ahead policy outlined above is going on against a background of the U.S. presidential electoral campaigns. The Democrats continue to try to depict Donald Trump as “Putin’s puppy,” as if the President has been kindly to his fellow autocrat while in office. Of course, under the dictates of the Democrat-controlled House and with the complicity of the anti-Russian staff in the State Department, in the Pentagon, American policy towards Russia over the entire period of Trump’s presidency has been one of never ending ratcheting up of military, informational, economic and other pressures in the hope that Vladimir Putin or his entourage would crack. Were it not for the nerves of steel of Mr. Putin and his close advisers, the irresponsible pressure policies outlined above could result in aggressive behavior and risk taking by Russia that would make the Cuban missile crisis look like child’s play.

The U.S. arms industry lobby, in form of the Atlantic Council, confirms the ‘western’ strategy Doctorow describes. It calls for ‘ramping up on Russia’ with even more sanctions:

Key to raising the costs to Russia is a more proactive transatlantic strategy for sanctions against the Russian economy and Putin’s power base, together with other steps to reduce Russian energy leverage and export revenue. A new NATO Russia policy should be pursued in tandem with the European Union (EU), which sets European sanctions policy and faces the same threats from Russian cyberattacks and disinformation. At a minimum, EU sanctions resulting from hostilities in Ukraine should be extended, like the Crimea sanctions, for one year rather than every six months. Better yet, allies and EU members should tighten sanctions further and extend them on an indefinite basis until Russia ends its aggression and takes concrete steps toward de-escalation.

It also wants Europe to pay for weapons in the Ukraine and Georgia:

A more dynamic NATO strategy for Russia should go hand in hand with a more proactive policy toward Ukraine and Georgia in the framework of an enhanced Black Sea strategy. The goal should be to boost both partners’ deterrence capacity and reduce Moscow’s ability to undermine their sovereignty even as NATO membership remains on the back burner for the time being.

As part of this expanded effort, European allies should do more to bolster Ukraine and Georgia’s ground, air, and naval capabilities, complementing the United States’ and Canada’s efforts that began in 2014.

The purpose of the whole campaign against Russia, explains the Atlantic Council author, is to subordinate it to U.S. demands:

Relations between the West and Moscow had begun to deteriorate even before Russia’s watershed invasion of Ukraine, driven principally by Moscow’s fear of the encroachment of Western values and their potential to undermine the Putin regime. With the possibility of a further sixteen years of Putin’s rule, most experts believe relations are likely to remain confrontational for years to come. They argue that the best the United States and its allies can do is manage this competition and discourage aggressive actions from Moscow. However, by pushing back against Russia more forcefully in the near and medium term, allies are more likely to eventually convince Moscow to return to compliance with the rules of the liberal international order and to mutually beneficial cooperation as envisaged under the 1997 NATO-Russia Founding Act.

The ‘rules of the liberal international order’ are of course whatever the U.S. claims they are. They may change at any moment and without notice to whatever new rules are the most convenient for U.S. foreign policy.

But as Doctorow said above, Putin and his advisors stay calm and ignore such trash despite all the hostility expressed against them.

One of Putin’s close advisors is of course Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. In a wide ranging interview with Russian radio stations he recently touched on many of the issues Doctorow also mentions. With regards to U.S. strategy towards Russia Lavrov diagnoses:

Sergey Lavrov: […] You mentioned in one of your previous questions that no matter what we do, the West will try to hobble and restrain us, and undermine our efforts in the economy, politics, and technology. These are all elements of one approach.

Question: Their national security strategy states that they will do so.

Sergey Lavrov: Of course it does, but it is articulated in a way that decent people can still let go unnoticed, but it is being implemented in a manner that is nothing short of outrageous.

Question: You, too, can articulate things in a way that is different from what you would really like to say, correct?

Sergey Lavrov: It’s the other way round. I can use the language I’m not usually using to get the point across. However, they clearly want to throw us off balance, and not only by direct attacks on Russia in all possible and conceivable spheres by way of unscrupulous competition, illegitimate sanctions and the like, but also by unbalancing the situation near our borders, thus preventing us from focusing on creative activities. Nevertheless, regardless of the human instincts and the temptations to respond in the same vein, I’m convinced that we must abide by international law.

Russia does not accept the fidgety ‘rules of the liberal international order’.  Russia sticks to the law which is, in my view, a much stronger position. Yes, international law often gets broken. But as Lavrov said elsewhere, one does not abandon traffic rules only because of road accidents.

Russia stays calm, no matter what outrageous nonsense the U.S. and EU come up with. It can do that because it knows that it not only has moral superiority by sticking to the law but it also has the capability to win a fight. At one point the interviewer even jokes about that:

Question: As we say, if you don’t listen to Lavrov, you will listen to [Defense Minister] Shoigu.

Sergey Lavrov: I did see a T-shirt with that on it. Yes, it’s about that.

Yes, it’s about that. Russia is militarily secure and the ‘west’ knows that. It is one reason for the anti-Russian frenzy. Russia does not need to bother with the unprecedented hostility coming from Brussels and Washington. It can ignore it while taking care of its interests.

As this is so obvious one must ask what the real reason for the anti-Russian pressure campaign is. What do those who argue for it foresee as its endpoint?

Posted by b on October 17, 2020 at 16:31 UTC | Permalink

The World Has Gone Absolutely Insane!

THE SAKER • SEPTEMBER 25, 2020

We all know that we are living in crazy, and dangerous, times, yet I can’t help being awed at what the imperial propaganda machine (aka the legacy ziomedia) is trying to make us all swallow. The list of truly batshit crazy stuff we are being told to believe is now very long, and today I just want to pick on a few of my “favorites” (so to speak).

First, of course, comes the “Novichok Reloaded” scandal around the alleged poisoning of the so-called “dissident” Alexei Navalnyi. I already mentioned this absolutely ridiculous story once, so I won’t repeat it all here. I just want to mention a few very basic facts:

  • Navalnyi is pretty much a discredited non-entity in Russia. “Putin” (because this is how the imperial propaganda machine always personalizes the evils of Russia: “Putin” did this or that, as if Putin was personally in every alleged Russian evil deed) had absolutely and exactly zero reasons to harm Navalnyi in any way. I would even add that IF Navalnyi was poisoned in Russia (which I do not believe) then the FSB screwed up by not offering him 24/7 protection, especially in the current political climate (i.e. struggle for the completion of North Stream 2).
  • The Empire always likes to produce a “sacrificial lamb” to symbolize the putative evil of the nation which dares to resist. In Iran it was Neda, in Kuwait the infamous “incubator babies”, in Syria anonymous kids killed by Russian gas, and in Russia it was Nemtsov (did not really work) and now Navalnyi (I wonder who the sacrificial lamb will be in Belarus (Tikhanovskaia?). The FSB should have seen this coming, especially after Nemtsov.
  • There is exactly zero evidence that the mineral water bottle which the Germans claim contained traces of, what else, “Novichok”, ever was anywhere near Navalnyi or even that it ever was in Russia. No such bottle was found by, or mentioned to the Russian investigators. This bottle was, allegedly, hidden from the FSB by Navalnyi supporters, and secretly brought to Germany. What that means in terms of “chain of custody” is self-evident.
  • As I have mentioned in my past article, if what the German authorities are claiming is true, then the Russians are truly the dumbest imbeciles on the planet. Not content to use this now famous “Novichok” gas against Skripal in the UK and after failing to kill Skripal, these stupid Russians decided to try the very same gas, only “improved”, and they failed again: Navalnyi is quite alive and well, thank you!
  • Then there is this: according to the imperial propaganda machine, Novichok was so horribly dangerous, that the Brits had to use full biosuits to investigate the alleged poisoning of Skripal. They also said that they would completely destroy the dangerous Skripal home (though they never did that). The self same propaganda machine says that the Novichok used on Navalnyi was a more powerful, improved version. Okay. Then try to answer this one: why did the Russians NOT put on biosuits, why did not a single passenger suffer from any side effects (inside a closed aircraft cabin!)? How is it that this super-dooper Novichok not only failed to kill Navalnyi (who, allegedly, ingested it!) but also failed to even moderately inconvenience anybody from the many people Navalnyi was surrounded by on that day?

I could continue to deconstruct all this nonsense, but that would take pages. I will mention two thing though:

First, the Russians have requested any and all evidence available to the Germans and to the Organization for the Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons – but they got absolutely nothing in return. Yet the EU is demanding an investigation (which is already under way in Russia anyway!) as if the Russians did not want the exact same!

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

After being exposed to an improved Novichok and after weeks in coma in intensive care, here is Navalnyi trotting down stairs feeling great

Second, Navalnyi apparently has an immunity to otherwise deadly Russian biological agents, just take a look at him on this post-Novichok photo:

[By the way, the first time around the Brits also never gave the Russians any information, nevermind any kind of evidence. Apparently, to hide some super-secret secrets. Yeah, right!]

Next, I absolutely have to mention the absolutely insane situation around Belarus.

To make a long story short, the EU wants to sanction Russia for intervening in Belarus while that self-same EU is intervening in every possible imaginable manner: from the Poles who treat Tikhanovskaia as a modern False Dmitri the Fifth (see here for a summary of Polish-run False Dmitris), to the promise of a special “Marshall Plan for Belarus”, to the coordination of all the protests from Poland. The EU refuses to recognize Lukashenko as the winner (in spite of the fact that there is exactly zero evidence suggesting that Lukashenko lost) and refers to Tikhanovskaia as the “Leader of Belarus” (whatever that means).

As for our US American friends, having learned exactly nothing from the abject failure of their Guaido coup in Venezuela, they now want to repeat exactly the same with Tikhanovskaia in Belarus. As a result, Tikhanovskaia has been re-christened “Juanita Guaido”

But the worst are still the Europeans. Not only are they prostituting themselves to the leaders of the Empire, the following countries were the first to declare that they will not recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus: Poland, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia (which is no surprise, they all compete for the title of most pro-US colony on the planet), but also putatively mentally sane countries such as Germany, Czechia, Slovakia, Denmark. The case of Germany is particularly amazing, because Germany will now be placed under immense pressure to cancel North Stream 2, something which the entire German industry opposes. Eventually, the US, Canada, the Ukraine, the UK and the entire EU joined in and also refused to recognize Lukashenko as the leader of Belarus.

What is especially amazing to me is that these EU imbeciles apparently don’t care that without North Stream 2 they will have to purchase US gas, at much higher prices, which will make the EU economy less effective than the US one. And I thought that prostitutes are always acutely aware of the money they can make: not the European ones, apparently.

Still, I think that the “top honor” in this category goes to Poland which, while condemning some undefined Russian intervention in Belarus, runs the NEXTA Telegram channel which runs videos like this one: (in Russian – no, not in Belarusian, they know that 99.9999% Belarussians speak Russian):

Oh, but it gets better.

NATO seems to be trying to frighten Russia with maneuvers in Poland and B-52 flights over the Ukraine and the Black Sea (see here for a full analysis). As for the Poles and Ukronazis, they apparently believe that the Russian bear covered himself in poop and ran away at full speed.

What I am going to say next is not a secret, every military person who looked into this issue knows and understands this: NATO, and I mean the combined power of all NATO member states, simply does not have the hardware needed to wage a war against Russia in Europe. What NATO does have is only sufficient to trigger a serious incident which might result in a shooting war. But once this war starts, the chances of victory for NATO are exactly zero. Why?

Well, for one thing, while coalitions of countries might give a thin veneer of political legitimacy to a military action (in reality, only a UNSC resolution would), in purely military terms you are much better off having a single national military. Not only that, but coalitions are nothing but the expression of an often held delusion: the delusion that the little guy can hide behind the back of the big guy. Poland’s entire history can be summarized in this simple principle: strike the weak and bootlick (or even worse!) the powerful. In contrast, real military powers don’t count on some other guy doing the heavy lifting for them. They simply fight until they win.

Yes, the Europeans, being the cowards that they are, do believe that there is safety in numbers. But each time these midgets gang up on Russia and start barking (or, to use Putin’s expression, start oinking) all together, the Russians clearly see that the Europeans are afraid. Otherwise, they would not constantly seek somebody to protect them (even against a non-existing threat).

As a direct result of this delusion, NATO simply does not have the equivalent of the First Guard Tank Army in spite of the fact that NATO has a bigger population and much bigger budgets than Russia. Such a tank Army is what it would take to fight a real war in Europe, Russia has such an Army. NATO does not.

The other thing NATO does not have is a real integrated multi-layered air defense system. Russia does.

Lastly, NATO has no hypersonic weapons. Russia does.

(According to President Trump, the US does have super-dooper “hydrosonic” weapons, but nobody really knows what that is supposed to mean).

I would even argue that the comparatively smaller Belarusian military could make hamburger meat of the roughly three times larger Polish armed forces in a very short time (unlike the Poles, the Belarusian are excellent soldiers and they know that they are surrounded by hostile countries on three sides).

As for the “armed forces” of the Baltic statelets, they are just a sad joke.

One more example: the Empire is now sending ships into the Black Sea as some kind of “show of force”. Yet, every military analyst out there knows that the Black Sea is a “Russian lake” and that no matter how many ships the US or NATO sends into the Black Sea, their life expectancy in case of a conflict would be measured in minutes.

There is a popular expression in Russia which, I submit, beautifully sums up the current US/NATO doctrine: пугать ежа голой задницей, which can be translated as “trying to scare a hedgehog with your naked bottom”.

The truth is that NATO military forces currently are all in very bad shape – all of them, including the US – and that their only advantage over Russia is in numbers. But as soon as you factor in training, command and control, the ability to operate with severely degraded C3I capabilities, the average age of military hardware or morale – the Russian armed forces are far ahead of the West.

Does anybody sincerely believe that a few B-52s and a few thousand soldiers from different countries playing war in Poland will really scare the Russian generals?

But if not – why the threats?

My explanation is simple: the rulers of the Empire simply hope that the people in the West will never find out how bad their current military posture really is, and they also know that Russia will never attack first – so they simply pretend like they are still big, mighty and relevant. This is made even easier by the fact that the Russians always downplay their real capabilities (in sharp contrast to the West which always brags about “the best XYZ in the world”). That, and the fact that nobody in the Western ruling classes wants to admit that the game is over and that the Empire has collapsed.

Well, they apparently can hide these truisms from most of their public opinion: Trump promises super-dooper missiles and big red buttons, and his supporters immediately wave (Chinese made) US flags! But I assure you that the Russians (political leaders and even the general public) know what the real score is.

Yet the Empire still refuses to deal with Russia in any other way except insults, bullying, threats, accusations, sanctions, and constant sabre-rattling. This has never, and I mean never, worked in the past, and it won’t work in the future. But, apparently, NATO generals simply cannot comprehend that insanity can be defined as “doing the same thing over and over again, while hoping to achieve different results”.

Finally, I will conclude with a short mention of US politicians.

First, Trump. He now declares that the Russians stole the secret of hypersonic weapons from Obama. This reminds me of how the Brits declared that Russia stole their vaccine against the sars-cov-2 virus. But, if the Russians stole all that, why is it that ONLY Russia has deployed hypersonic weapons (not the US) and ONLY Russia has both two vaccines and 2 actual treatments (and not the UK)? For a good laugh, check out Andrei Martyanov’s great column “Russia Steal Everything”.

And then there is Nancy Pelosi who, apparently, is considering, yes, you guessed it – yet another impeachment attempt against Trump? The charge this time? Exercising this Presidential prerogative to nominate a successor to Ruth Ginsburg. Okay, Pelosi might be senile, but she also is in deep denial if she thinks impeaching Trump is still a viable project. Frankly? I think that she lost it.

In fact, I think that all the Dems have gone absolutely insane: they are now considering packing both the Supreme Court and the Senate. The fact that doing so will destroy the US political system does not seem to bother them in the least.

Conclusion: quos Deus vult perdere prius dementat!

We live in a world where facts or logic have simply become irrelevant and nobody cares about such clearly outdated categories. We have elevated “doubleplusgoodthinking” into an art form. We have also done away with the concepts of “proof” or “evidence” which we have replaced with variations on the “highly likely” theme. We have also, for all practical purpose, jettisoned the entire corpus of international law and replaced it with “rules-based international order“. In fact, I can only agree with Chris Hedges who, in his superb book the “Empire of illusions” and of the “triumph of spectacle”. He is absolutely correct: not only is this a triumph of appearance over substance, and of ideology over reality, it is even the triumph of self-destruction over self-preservation.

There is not big “master plan”, no complex international conspiracy, no 5D chess. All we have is yet another empire committing suicide and, like so many before this one, this suicide is executed by this empire’s ruling classes.

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RTVI television, Moscow, September 17, 2020

Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov’s interview with RTVI television, Moscow, September 17, 2020

September 18, 2020

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Russian Federation

Question: I’ll start with the hottest topic, Belarus. President of the Republic of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko visited Bocharov Ruchei. Both sides have officially recognised that change within the Union State is underway. This begs the question: What is this about? A common currency, common army and common market? What will it be like?

Sergey Lavrov: It will be the way our countries decide. Work is underway. It relies on the 1999 Union Treaty. We understand that over 20 years have passed since then. That is why, a couple of years ago, upon the decision of the two presidents, the governments of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus began to work on identifying the agreed-upon steps that would make our integration fit current circumstances. Recently, at a meeting with Russian journalists, President Lukashenko said that the situation had, of course, changed and we must agree on ways to deepen integration from today’s perspective.

The presidential election has taken place in Belarus. The situation there is tense, because the opposition, backed by some of our Western colleagues, is trying to challenge the election outcome, but I’m convinced that the situation will soon get back to normal, and the work to promote integration processes will resume.

Everything that is written in the Union Treaty is now being analysed. Both sides have to come to a common opinion about whether a particular provision of the Union Treaty is still relevant, or needs to be revised. There are 31 roadmaps, and each one focuses on a specific section of the Union Treaty. So, there’s clearly a commitment to continue the reform, a fact that was confirmed by the presidents during a recent telephone conversation. This is further corroborated by the presidents’ meeting in Sochi.

I would not want that country’s neighbours, and our neighbours for that matter, including Lithuania, for example, to try to impose their will on the Belarusian people and, in fact, to manage the processes in which the opposition is unwittingly doing what’s expected of it. I have talked several times about Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s situation. Clearly, someone is putting words in her mouth. She is now in the capital of Lithuania, which, like our Polish colleagues, is strongly demanding a change of power in Belarus. You are aware that Lithuania declared Ms Tikhanovskaya the leader of the Republic of Belarus, and Alexander Lukashenko was declared an illegitimate president.

Ms Tikhanovskaya has made statements that give rise to many questions. She said she was concerned that Russia and Belarus have close relations. The other day, she called on the security and law-enforcement forces to side with the law. In her mind, this is a direct invitation to breach the oath of office and, by and large, to commit high treason. This is probably a criminal offense. So, those who provide her with a framework for her activities and tell her what to say and what issues to raise should, of course, realise that they may be held accountable for that.

Question: Commenting on the upcoming meeting of the presidents of Russia and Belarus in Sochi, Tikhanovskaya said: “Whatever they agree on, these agreements will be illegitimate, because the new state and the new leader will revise them.” How can one work under such circumstances?

Sergey Lavrov: She was also saying something like that when Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin went to Belarus to meet with President Lukashenko and Prime Minister Golovchenko. She was saying it then. Back then, the opposition was concerned about any more or less close ties between our countries. This is despite the fact that early on during the crisis they claimed that they in no way engaged in anti-Russia activities and wanted to be friends with the Russian people. However, everyone could have seen the policy paper posted on Tikhanovskaya’s website during the few hours it was there. The opposition leaders removed it after realising they had made a mistake sharing their goals and objectives with the public. These goals and objectives included withdrawal from the CSTO, the EAEU and other integration associations that include Russia, and drifting towards the EU and NATO, as well as the consistent banning of the Russian language and the Belarusianisation of all aspects of life.

We are not against the Belarusian language, but when they take a cue from Ukraine, and when the state language is used to ban a language spoken by the overwhelming majority of the population, this already constitutes a hostile act and, in the case of Ukraine, an act that violates its constitution. If a similar proposal is introduced into the Belarusian legal field, it will violate the Constitution of Belarus, not to mention numerous conventions on the rights of ethnic and language minorities, and much more.

I would like those who are rabidly turning the Belarusian opposition against Russia to realise their share of responsibility, and the opposition themselves, including Svetlana Tikhanovskaya and others – to find the courage to resist such rude and blatant manipulation.

Question: If we are talking about manipulation, we certainly understand that it has many faces and reflects on the international attitude towards Russia. Internationally, what are the risks for us of supporting Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko? Don’t you think 26 years is enough? Maybe he has really served for too long?

Sergey Lavrov: The President of the Republic of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko, did say it might have been “too long.” I believe he has proposed a very productive idea – constitutional reform. He talked about this even before the election, and has reiterated the proposal more than once since then. President of Russia Vladimir Putin supports this attitude. As the Belarusian leader said, after constitutional reform, he will be ready to announce early parliamentary and presidential elections. This proposal provides a framework where a national dialogue will be entirely possible. But it is important that representatives of all groups of Belarusian society to be involved in a constitutional reform process. This would ensure that any reform is completely legitimate and understandable for all citizens. Now a few specific proposals are needed concerning when, where and in what form this process can begin. I hope that this will be done, because President Alexander Lukashenko has repeatedly reaffirmed carrying out this initiative.

Question: Since we started talking about the international attitude towards Russia, let’s go over to our other partner – the United States. The elections in the US will take place very soon. We are actively discussing this in Russia. When asked whether Russia was getting ready for the elections in the US at the Paris forum last year, you replied: “Don’t worry, we’ll resolve this problem.” Now that the US elections are around the corner, I would like to ask you whether you’ve resolved it.

Sergey Lavrov: Speaking seriously, of course we, like any other normal country that is concerned about its interests and international security, are closely following the progress of the election campaign in the US. There are many surprising things in it. Naturally, we see how important the Russian issue is in this electoral process. The Democrats are doing all they can to prove that Russia will exploit its hacker potential and play up to Donald Trump. We are already being accused of promoting the idea that the Democrats will abuse the mail-in voting option thereby prejudicing the unbiased nature of voting. I would like to note at this point that mail-in voting has become a target of consistent attacks on behalf of President Trump himself. Russia has nothing to do with this at all.

A week-long mail-in voting is an interesting subject in comparing election systems in different countries. We have introduced three-day voting for governors and legislative assembly deputies in some regions. You can see the strong criticism it is subjected to, inside Russia as well. When the early voting in the US lasts for weeks, if not months, it is considered a model of democracy. I don’t see any criticism in this respect. In principle, we have long proposed analysing election systems in the OSCE with a view to comparing best practices and reviewing obviously obsolete arrangements. There have been instances in the US when, due to its cumbersome and discriminatory election system, a nominee who received the majority of votes could lose because in a national presidential election the voting is done through the Electoral College process rather than directly by the people. There have been quite a few cases like that. I once told former US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice in reply to her grievances about our electoral system: “But look at your problem. Maybe you should try to correct this discriminatory voting system?” She replied that it is discriminatory but they are used to it and this is their problem, so I shouldn’t bother.

When the United States accuses us of interference in some area of its public, political or government life, we suggest discussing it to establish who is actually doing what. Since they don’t present any facts, we simply recite their Congressional acts. In 2014, they adopted an act on supporting Ukraine, which directly instructed the Department of State to spend $20 million a year on support for Russian NGOs. We asked whether this didn’t amount to interference. We were told by the US National Security Council that in reality they support democracy because we are wreaking chaos and pursuing authoritative and dictatorial trends abroad when we interfere in domestic affairs whereas they bring democracy and prosperity. This idea is deeply rooted in American mentality. The American elite has always considered its country and nation exceptional and has not been shy to admit it.

I won’t comment on the US election. This is US law and the US election system. Any comments I make will be again interpreted as an attempt to interfere in their domestic affairs. I will only say one thing that President Vladimir Putin has expressed many times, notably, that we will respect any outcome of these elections and the will of the American people.

We realise that there will be no major changes in our relations either with the Democrats or with the Republicans, as representatives of both parties loudly declare. However, there is hope that common sense will prevail and no matter who becomes President, the new US Government and administration will realise the need to cooperate with us in resolving very serious global problems on which the international situation depends.

Question: You mentioned an example where voters can choose one president and the Electoral College process, another. I even have that cover of Time magazine with Hillary Clinton and congratulations, released during the election. It is a fairly well-known story, when they ran this edition and then had to cancel it.

Sergey Lavrov: Even the President of France sent a telegramme, but then they immediately recalled it.

And these people are now claiming that Alexander Lukashenko is an illegitimate president.

Question: You mentioned NGOs. These people believe that NGOs in the Russian Federation support democratic institutions, although it is no secret to anyone who has at least a basic understanding of foreign and domestic policy that those NGOs act exclusively as institutions that destabilise the situation in the country.

Sergey Lavrov: Not all of them.

Question: Can you tell us more about this?

Sergey Lavrov: We have adopted a series of laws – on public associations, on non-profit organisations, on measures to protect people from human rights violations. There is a set of laws that regulate the activities of non-government organisations on our territory, both Russian and foreign ones.

Concepts have been introduced like “foreign agent,” a practice we borrowed from “the world’s most successful democracy” – the United States. They argue that we borrowed a practice from 1938 when the United States introduced the foreign agent concept to prevent Nazi ideology from infiltrating from Germany. But whatever the reason they had to create the concept – “foreign agent” – the Americans are still effectively using it, including in relation to our organisations and citizens, to Chinese citizens, to the media.

In our law, foreign agent status, whatever they say about it, does not prevent an organisation from operating on the territory of the Russian Federation. It just needs to disclose its funding sources and be transparent about the resources it receives. And even that, only if it is engaged in political activities. Initially, we introduced a requirement for these organisations that receive funding from abroad and are involved in political projects to initiate the disclosure process. But most of them didn’t want to comply with the law, so it was modified. Now this is done by the Russian Ministry of Justice.

Question: Do you think that NGOs are still soft power?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course. In Russia we have about 220,000 NGOs, out of which 180 have the status of a foreign agent. It’s a drop in the ocean. These are probably the organisations, funded from abroad, that are more active than others in promoting in our public space ideas that far from always correspond to Russian legislation.

There is also the notion of undesirable organisations. They are banned from working in the Russian Federation. But there are only about 30 of them, no more.

Question: Speaking about our soft power, what is our concept? What do we offer the world? What do you think the world should love us for? What is Russia’s soft power policy all about?

Sergey Lavrov: We want everything that has been created by nations and civilisations to be respected. We believe nobody should impose any orders on anyone, so that nothing like what has now happened in Hollywood takes place on a global scale. We think nobody should encroach on the right of each nation to have its historical traditions and moral roots. And we see attempts to encroach upon them.

If soft power is supposed to promote one’s own culture, language and traditions, in exchange for knowledge about the life of other nations and civilisations, then this is the approach that the Russian Federation supports in every way.

The Americans define the term “soft power” as an attempt to influence the hearts and minds of others politically. Their goal is not to promote their culture and language, but to change the mood of the political class with a view to subsequent regime change. They are doing this on a daily basis and don’t even conceal it. They say everywhere that their mission is to bring peace and democracy to all other countries.

Question: Almost any TV series out there shows the US president sitting in the Oval Office saying he’s the leader of the free world.

Sergey Lavrov: Not just TV series. Barack Obama has repeatedly stated that America is an exceptional nation and should be seen as an example by the rest of the world. My colleague Mike Pompeo recently said in the Czech Republic that they shouldn’t let the Russians into the nuclear power industry and should take the Russians off the list of companies that bid for these projects. It was about the same in Hungary. He then went to Africa and was quite vocal when he told the African countries not to do business with the Russians or the Chinese, because they are trading with the African countries for selfish reasons, whereas the US is establishing economic cooperation with them so they can prosper. This is a quote. It is articulated in a very straightforward manner, much the same way they run their propaganda on television in an unsophisticated broken language that the man in the street can relate to. So, brainwashing is what America’s soft power is known for.

Question: Not a single former Soviet republic has so far benefited from American soft power.

Sergey Lavrov: Not only former Soviet republics. Take a look at any other region where the Americans have effected a regime change.

QuestionLibya, Syria. We stood for Syria.

Sergey Lavrov: Iraq, Libya. They tried in Syria, but failed. I hope things will be different there. There’s not a single country where the Americans changed the regime and declared victory for democracy, like George W. Bush did on the deck of an aircraft carrier in Iraq in May 2003, which is prosperous now. He said democracy had won in Iraq. It would be interesting to know what the former US President thinks about the situation in Iraq today. But no one will, probably, go back to this, because the days when presidents honestly admitted their mistakes are gone.

QuestionHere I am listening to you and wondering how many people care about this? Why is it that no one understands this? Is this politics that is too far away from ordinary people who are nevertheless behind it? Take Georgia or Ukraine. People are worse off now than before, and despite this, this policy continues.

Will the Minsk agreements ever be implemented? Will the situation in southeastern Ukraine ever be settled?

Returning to what we talked about. How independent is Ukraine in its foreign policy?

Sergey Lavrov: I don’t think that under the current Ukrainian government, just like under the previous president, we will see any progress in the implementation of the Minsk agreements, if only because President Zelensky himself is saying so publicly, as does Deputy Prime Minister Reznikov who is in charge of the Ukrainian settlement in the Contact Group. Foreign Minister of Ukraine Kuleba is also saying this. They say there’s a need for the Minsk agreements and they cannot be broken, because these agreements (and accusing Russia of non-compliance) are the foundation of the EU and the US policy in seeking to maintain the sanctions on Russia. Nevertheless, such a distorted interpretation of the essence of the Minsk agreements, or rather an attempt to blame everything on Russia, although Russia is never mentioned there, has stuck in the minds of our European colleagues, including France and Germany, who, being co-sponsors of the Minsk agreements along with us, the Ukrainians and Donbass, cannot but realise that the Ukrainians are simply distorting their responsibilities, trying to distance themselves from them and impose a different interpretation of the Minsk agreements. But even in this scenario, the above individuals and former Ukrainian President Kravchuk, who now heads the Ukrainian delegation to the Contact Group as part of the Minsk process, claim that the Minsk agreements in their present form are impracticable and must be revised, turned upside down. Also, Donbass must submit to the Ukrainian government and army before even thinking about conducting reforms in this part of Ukraine.

This fully contradicts the sequence of events outlined in the Minsk agreements whereby restoring Ukrainian armed forces’ control on the border with Russia is possible only after an amnesty, agreeing on the special status of these territories, making this status part of the Ukrainian Constitution and holding elections there. Now they propose giving back the part of Donbass that “rebelled” against the anti-constitutional coup to those who declared these people terrorists and launched an “anti-terrorist operation” against them, which they later renamed a Joint Forces Operation (but this does not change the idea behind it), and whom they still consider terrorists. Although everyone remembers perfectly well that in 2014 no one from Donbass or other parts of Ukraine that rejected the anti-constitutional coup attacked the putschists and the areas that immediately fell under the control of the politicians behind the coup. On the contrary, Alexander Turchinov, Arseniy Yatsenyuk and others like them attacked these areas. The guilt of the people living there was solely in them saying, “You committed a crime against the state, we do not want to follow your rules, let us figure out our own future and see what you will do next.” There’s not a single example that would corroborate the fact that they engaged in terrorism. It was the Ukrainian state that engaged in terrorism on their territory, in particular, when they killed [Head of the Donetsk People’s Republic] Alexander Zakharchenko and a number of field commanders in Donbass. So, I am not optimistic about this.

Question: So, we are looking at a dead end?

Sergey Lavrov: You know, we still have an undeniable argument which is the text of the Minsk Agreements approved by the UN Security Council.

QuestionBut they tried to revise it?

Sergey Lavrov: No, they are just making statements to that effect. When they gather for a Contact Group meeting in Minsk, they do their best to look constructive. The most recent meeting ran into the Ukrainian delegation’s attempts to pretend that nothing had happened. They recently passed a law on local elections which will be held in a couple of months. It says that elections in what are now called the Donetsk and Lugansk people’s republics will be held only after the Ukrainian army takes control of the entire border and those who “committed criminal offenses” are arrested and brought to justice even though the Minsk agreements provide for amnesty without exemptions.

Question: When I’m asked about Crimea I recall the referendum. I was there at a closed meeting in Davos that was attended by fairly well respected analysts from the US. They claimed with absolute confidence that Crimea was being occupied. I reminded them about the referendum. I was under the impression that these people either didn’t want to see or didn’t know how people lived there, that they have made their choice. Returning to the previous question, I think that nobody is interested in the opinion of the people.

Sergey Lavrov: No, honest politicians still exist. Many politicians, including European ones, were in Crimea during the referendum. They were there not under the umbrella of some international organisation but on their own because the OSCE and other international agencies were controlled by our Western colleagues. Even if we had addressed them, the procedure for coordinating the monitoring would have never ended.

Question: Just as in Belarus. As I see it, they were also invited but nobody came.

Sergey Lavrov: The OSCE refused to send representatives there. Now that the OSCE is offering its services as a mediator, I completely understand Mr Lukashenko who says the OSCE lost its chance. It could have sent observers and gained a first-hand impression of what was happening there, and how the election was held. They arrogantly disregarded the invitation. We know that the Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights (ODIHR) is practically wholly controlled by NATO. We have repeatedly proposed that our nominees work there but they have not been approved. This contradicts the principles of the OSCE. We will continue to seek a fairer approach to the admission of members to the organisation, but I don’t have much hope for this. Former OSCE Secretary General Thomas Greminger made an effort with this for the past three years but not everything depended on him – there is a large bloc of EU and NATO countries that enjoy a mathematical majority and try to dictate their own rules. But this is a separate issue.

Returning to Crimea, I have read a lot about this; let me give you two examples. One concerns my relations with former US Secretary of State John Kerry. In April 2014, we met in Geneva: me, John Kerry, EU High Representative Catherine Ashton and then Acting Foreign Minister of Ukraine Andrey Deshchitsa. We compiled a one page document that was approved unanimously. It read that we, the representatives of Russia, the US and the EU welcomed the commitments of the Ukrainian authorities to carry out decentralisation of the country with the participation of all the regions of Ukraine. This took place after the Crimean referendum. Later, the Americans, the EU and of course Ukraine “forgot” about this document. John Kerry told me at this meeting that everyone understood that Crimea was Russian, that the people wanted to return, but that we held the referendum so quickly that it didn’t fit into the accepted standards of such events. He asked me to talk to President Vladimir Putin, organise one more referendum, announce it in advance and invite international observers. He said he would support their visit there, that the result would be the same but that we would be keeping up appearances. I asked him why put on such shows if they understand that this was the expression of the will of the people.

The second example concerns the recent statements by the EU and the European Parliament to the effect that “the occupation” of Crimea is a crude violation of the world arrangement established after the victory in World War II. But if this criterion is used to determine where Crimea belongs, when the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic joined the UN after WWII in 1945, Crimea did not belong to it. Crimea was part of the USSR. Later, Nikita Khrushchev took an illegal action, which contradicted Soviet law, and this led to them having it. But we all understood that this was a domestic political game as regards a Soviet republic that was the home to Khrushchev and many of his associates.

Question: You have been Foreign Minister for 16 years now. This century’s major foreign policy challenges fell on your term in office. We faced sanctions, and we adapted to them and coped with them. Germany said it obtained Alexey Navalny’s test results. France and Sweden have confirmed the presence of Novichok in them. Reportedly, we are now in for more sanctions. Do you think the Navalny case can trigger new sanctions against Russia?

Sergey Lavrov: I agree with our political analysts who are convinced that if it were not for Navalny, they would have come up with something else in order to impose more sanctions.

With regard to this situation, I think our Western partners have simply gone beyond decency and reason. In essence, they are now demanding that we “confess.” They are asking us: Don’t you believe what the German specialists from the Bundeswehr are saying? How is that possible? Their findings have been confirmed by the French and the Swedes. You don’t believe them, either?

It’s a puzzling situation given that our Prosecutor General’s Office filed an inquiry about legal assistance on August 27 and hasn’t received an answer yet. Nobody knows where the inquiry has been for more than a week now. We were told it was at the German Foreign Ministry. The German Foreign Ministry did not forward the request to the Ministry of Justice, which was our Prosecutor General Office’s  ultimate addressee. Then, they said that it had been transferred to the Berlin Prosecutor’s Office, but they would not tell us anything without the consent of the family. They are urging us to launch a criminal investigation.

We have our own laws, and we cannot take someone’s word for it to open a criminal case. Certain procedures must be followed. A pre-investigation probe initiated immediately after this incident to consider the circumstances of the case is part of this procedure.

Some of our Western colleagues wrote that, as the German doctors discovered, it was “a sheer miracle” that Mr Navalny survived. Allegedly, it was the notorious Novichok, but he survived thanks to “lucky circumstances.” What kind of lucky circumstances are we talking about? First, the pilot immediately landed the plane; second, an ambulance was already waiting on the airfield; and third, the doctors immediately started to provide help. This absolutely impeccable behaviour of the pilots, doctors and ambulance crew is presented as “lucky circumstances.” That is, they even deny the possibility that we are acting as we should. This sits deep in the minds of those who make up such stories.

Returning to the pre-investigation probe, everyone is fixated on a criminal case. If we had opened a criminal case right away (we do not have legal grounds to do so yet, and that is why the Prosecutor General’s Office requested legal assistance from Germany on August 27), what would have been done when it happened? They would have interviewed the pilot, the passengers and the doctors. They would have found out what the doctors discovered when Navalny was taken to the Omsk hospital, and what medications were used. They would have interviewed the people who communicated with him. All of that was done. They interviewed the five individuals who accompanied him and participated in the events preceding Navalny boarding the plane; they interviewed the passengers who were waiting for a flight to Moscow in Tomsk and sat at the same bar; they found out what they ordered and what he drank. The sixth person, a woman who accompanied him, has fled, as you know. They say she was the one who gave the bottle to the German lab. All this has been done. Even if all of that was referred to as a “criminal case,” we couldn’t have done more.

Our Western partners are looking down on us as if we have no right to question what they are saying or their professionalism. If this is the case, it means that they dare to question the professionalism of our doctors and investigators. Unfortunately, this position is reminiscent of other times. Arrogance and a sense of infallibility have already been observed in Europe, and that led to very regrettable consequences.

Question: How would you describe this policy of confrontation? When did it start (I mean during your term of office)? It’s simply so stable at the moment that there seems no chance that something might change in the future.

Sergey Lavrov: President of Russia Vladimir Putin has repeatedly spoken on this topic. I think that the onset of this policy, this era of constant pressure on Russia began with the end of a period that followed the collapse of the Soviet Union, a time when the West believed it had Russia there in its pocket – it ended, full stop. Unfortunately, the West does not seem to be able to wrap its head around this, to accept that there is no alternative to Russia’s independent actions, both domestically and on the international arena. This is why, unfortunately, this agony continues by inertia.

Having bad ties with any country have never given us any pleasure. We do not like making such statements in which we sharply criticise the position of the West. We always try to find compromises, but there are situations where it is hard not to come face to face with one another directly or to avoid frank assessments of what our Western friends are up to.

I have read what our respected political scientists write who are well known in the West. And I can say this idea is starting to surface ever stronger and more often – it is time we stop measuring our actions with the yardsticks that the West offers us and to stop trying to please the West at all costs. These are very serious people and they are making a serious point. The fact that the West is prodding us to this way of thinking, willingly or unwillingly, is obvious to me. Most likely, this is being done involuntarily. But it is a big mistake to think that Russia will play by Western rules in any case – as big a mistake as like approaching China with the same yardstick.

Question: Then I really have to ask you. We are going through digitalisation. I think when you started your diplomatic career, you could not even have imagined that some post on Twitter could affect the political situation in a country. Yet – I can see your smile – we are living in a completely different world. Film stars can become presidents; Twitter, Instagram, or Facebook can become drivers of political campaigns – that happened more than once – and those campaigns can be successful. We are going through digitalisation, and because of this, many unexpected people appear in international politics – unexpected for you, at least. How do you think Russia’s foreign policy will change in this context? Are we ready for social media to be impacting our internal affairs? Is the Chinese scenario possible in Russia, with most Western social media blocked to avoid their influence on the internal affairs in that country?

Sergey Lavrov: Social media are already exerting great influence on our affairs. This is the reality in the entire post-Soviet space and developing countries. The West, primarily the United States, is vigorously using social media to promote their preferred agenda in just about any state. This necessitates a new approach to ensuring the national security. We have been doing this for a long time already.

As for regulating social media, everyone does it. You know that the digital giants in the United States have been repeatedly caught introducing censorship, primarily against us, China or other countries they dislike, shutting off information that comes from these places.

The internet is regulated by companies based in the United States, everyone knows that. In fact, this situation has long made the overwhelming majority of countries want to do something about it, considering the global nature of the internet and social media, to make sure that the management processes are approved at a global level, become transparent and understandable. The International Telecommunication Union, a specialised UN agency, has been out there for years. Russia and a group of other co-sponsoring countries are promoting the need to regulate the internet in such a way that everyone understands how it works and what principles govern it, in this International Union. Now we can see how Mark Zuckerberg and other heads of large IT companies are invited to the Congress and lectured there and asked to explain what they are going to do. We can see this. But a situation where it will be understandable for everyone else and, most importantly, where everyone is happy with it, still seems far away.

For many years, we have been promoting at the UN General Assembly an initiative to agree on the rules of responsible behaviour of states in the sphere of international information security. This initiative has already led to set up several working groups, which have completed their mandate with reports. The last such report was reviewed last year and another resolution was adopted. This time, it was not a narrow group of government experts, but a group that includes all UN member states. It was planning to meet, but things slowed down due to the coronavirus. The rules for responsible conduct in cyberspace are pending review by this group. These rules were approved by the SCO, meaning they already reflect a fairly large part of the world’s population.

Our other initiative is not about the use of cyberspace for undermining someone’s security; it is about fighting crimes (pedophilia, pornography, theft) in cyberspace. This topic is being considered by another UNGA committee. We are preparing a draft convention that will oblige all states to suppress criminal activities in cyberspace.

QuestionDo you think that the Foreign Ministry is active on this front? Would you like to be more proactive in the digital dialogue? After all, we are still bound by ethics, and have yet to understand whether we can cross the line or not. Elon Musk feels free to make any statements no matter how ironic and makes headlines around the world, even though anything he says has a direct bearing on his market cap. This is a shift in the ethics of behaviour. Do you think that this is normal? Is this how it should be? Or maybe people still need to behave professionally?

Sergey Lavrov: A diplomat can always use irony and a healthy dose of cynicism. In this sense, there is no contradiction here. However, this does not mean that while making ironic remarks on the surrounding developments or comments every once in a while (witty or not so witty), you do not have to work on resolving legal matters related to internet governance. This is what we are doing.

The Foreign Ministry has been at the source of these processes. We have been closely coordinating our efforts on this front with the Security Council Office, and the Ministry of Digital Development, Communications and Mass Media and other organisations. Russian delegations taking part in talks include representatives from various agencies. Apart from multilateral platforms such as the International Telecommunication Union, the UN General Assembly and the OSCE, we are working on this subject in bilateral relations with our key partners.

We are most interested in working with our Western partners, since we have an understanding on these issues with countries that share similar views. The Americans and Europeans evade these talks under various pretexts. There seemed to be an opening in 2012 and 2013, but after the government coup in Ukraine, they used it as a pretext to freeze this process. Today, there are some signs that the United States and France are beginning to revive these contacts, but our partners have been insufficiently active. What we want is professional dialogue so that they can raise all their concerns and accusations and back them with specific facts. We stand ready to answer all the concerns our partners may have, and will not fail to voice the concerns we have. We have many of them.

During the recent visit by German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas to Russia, I handed him a list containing dozens of incidents we have identified: attacks against our resources, with 70 percent of them targeting state resources of the Russian Federation, and originating on German territory. He promised to provide an answer, but more than a month after our meeting we have not seen it so far.

Question: Let me ask you about another important initiative by the Foreign Ministry. You decided to amend regulations enabling people to be repatriated from abroad for   free, and you proposed subjecting the repatriation guarantee to the reimbursement of its cost to the budget. Could you tell us, please, is this so expensive for the state to foot this bill?

Sergey Lavrov: Of course, these a substantial expenses. The resolution that provided for offering free assistance was adopted back in 2010, and was intended for citizens who find themselves in situations when their life is at risk. Imagine a Russian ambassador. Most of the people ask for help because they have lost money, their passport and so on. There are very few cases when an ambassador can actually say that a person is in a life-threatening situation and his or her life is in danger. How can an ambassador take a decision of this kind? As long as I remember, these cases can be counted on the fingers of my two hands since 2010, when an ambassador had to take responsibility and there were grounds for offering this assistance. We wanted to ensure that people can get help not only when facing an imminent danger (a dozen cases in ten years do not cost all that much). There were many more cases when our nationals found themselves in a difficult situation after losing money or passports. We decided to follow the practices used abroad. Specifically, this means that we provide fee-based assistance. In most cases, people travelling abroad can afford to reimburse the cost of a return ticket.

This practice is designed to prevent fraud, which remains an issue. We had cases when people bought one-way tickets knowing that they will have to be repatriated.

Question: And with no return ticket, they go to the embassy?

Sergey Lavrov: Yes, after that they come to the embassy. For this reason, I believe that the system we developed is much more convenient and comprehensive for dealing with the situations Russians get into when travelling abroad, and when we have to step in to help them through our foreign missions.

Question: Mr Lavrov, thank you for your time. As a Georgian, I really have to ask this. Isn’t it time to simplify the visa regime with Georgia? A second generation of Georgians has now grown up that has never seen Russia. What do you think?

Sergey Lavrov: Georgians can travel to Russia – they just need to apply for a visa. The list of grounds for obtaining a visa has been expanded. There are practically no restrictions on visiting Russia, after obtaining a visa in the Interests Section for the Russian Federation in Tbilisi or another Russian overseas agency.

As for visa-free travel, as you know, we were ready for this a year ago. We were actually a few steps away from being ready to announce it when that incident happened with the Russian Federal Assembly delegation to the International Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy, where they were invited in the first place, seated in their chairs, and then violence was almost used against them.

I am confident that our relations with Georgia will recover and improve. We can see new Georgian politicians who are interested in this. For now, there are just small parties in the ruling elites. But I believe our traditional historical closeness, and the mutual affinity between our peoples will ultimately triumph. Provocateurs who are trying to prevent Georgia from resuming normal relations with Russia will be put to shame.

They are trying to use Georgia the same way as Ukraine. In Ukraine, the IMF plays a huge role. And the IMF recently decided that each tranche allocated to Ukraine would be short-term.

Question: Microcredits.

Sergey Lavrov: Microcredits and a short leash that can always be pulled a little.

They are trying to use Georgia the same way. We have no interest in seeing this situation continue. We did not start it and have never acted against the Georgian people. Everyone remembers the 2008 events, how American instructors arrived there and trained the Georgian army. The Americans were well aware of Mikheil Saakashvili’s lack of restraint. He trampled on all agreements and issued a criminal order.

We are talking about taking their word for it. There were many cases when we took their word for it, but then it all boiled down to zilch. In 2003, Colin Powell, a test tube – that was an academic version. An attack on Iraq followed. Many years later, Tony Blair admitted that there had been no nuclear weapons in Iraq. There were many such stories. In 1999, the aggression against Yugoslavia was triggered by the OSCE representative in the Balkans, US diplomat William Walker, who visited the village of Racak, where they found thirty corpses, and declared it genocide of the Albanian population. A special investigation by the International Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia found they were military dressed in civilian clothes. But Mr Walker loudly declared it was genocide. Washington immediately seized on the idea, and so did London and other capitals. NATO launched an aggression against Yugoslavia.

After the end of the five-day military operation to enforce peace, the European Union ordered a special report from a group of invited experts, including Swiss diplomat Heidi Tagliavini. She was later involved in the Minsk process, and then she was asked to lead a group of experts who investigated the outbreak of the military conflict in August 2008. The conclusion was unambiguous. All this happened on the orders of Mikheil Saakashvili, and as for his excuses that someone had provoked him, or someone had been waiting for him on the other side of the tunnel, this was just raving.

Georgians are a wise nation. They love life, perhaps the same way and the same facets that the peoples in the Russian Federation do. We will overcome the current abnormal situation and restore normal relations between our states and people.


In addition, if you follow the Minister, follow up on this interview with Sputnik

Exclusive: Sergei Lavrov Talks About West’s Historical Revisionism, US Election and Navalny Case

لوكاشينكو يكشف عن نصائح بوتين له وبيسكوف يستبعد تكرار السيناريو البيلاروسي في بلاده

البناء

كشف رئيس بيلاروس، ألكسندر لوكاشينكو عن الرسالة التي بعثها من خلال ظهوره أمام عدسات وسائل الإعلام مسلحاً ببندقية حربية، على خلفية موجة الاضطرابات الاجتماعية التي تمر بها بلاده.

وجاء ذلك في معرض تعليق لوكاشينكو، في حوار مع ممثلين عن وسائل الإعلام الروسية في مينسك، على شريط الفيديو المدوي الذي يظهره وهو يحلق على متن مروحية فوق مينسك ويخرج منها لدى هبوطها أمام قصر الاستقلال (المقر الرئاسي) حاملا بندقية كلاشنيكوف.

Might Belarus become the next Syria?
Might Belarus become the next Syria?

وأوضح لوكاشينكو أنه «قام بتلك الرحلة على متن المروحية الرئاسية بغية الاطلاع على واقع الوضع على الأرض، فيما كان المحتجون المعارضون يتقدمون لأول مرة نحو قصر الاستقلال».

وتابع: «أظهرت أن أطفالي هنا ووطني هنا وسأدافع عنه بأي ثمن».

وأشار الرئيس إلى أن «مسؤولين في إدارته حاولوا إقناعه بعدم مغادرة المقر الرئاسي في ذلك اليوم»، قائلاً: «كانوا يمسكون يدي وقدمي».

كما كشف لوكاشينكو، عن حديثه مع الرئيس الروسي فلاديمير بوتين، حول دعم رئيس أوكرانيا فلاديمير زيلينسكي.

وقال لوكاشينكو، رداً عن سؤال حول موافقة بوتين بأن يدعم رئيس أوكرانيا: «نعم (دعمني) في العديد من القضايا… (وقال بوتين) تحدث إليه بطريقة أبوية، إنه شاب… وقلت له حسناً، لقد تحدثت إليه، خلال مشاركتي في منتدى هناك، وأوضحت له (لزيلينسكي) أن بوتين ليس هدفه الاستيلاء على كييف… والسيطرة على كل شرق أوكرانيا».

وتابع لوكاشينكو، «بوتين تكفيه روسيا… وناقشنا العديد من القضايا الحياتية وحاولت إقناعه (زيلينسكي)، وهو شخص متفهم وعاملني بشكل جيد».

وحذر الرئيس البيلاروسي، من انهيار بلاده، منوهاً بأن» روسيا ستكون التالية إذا حدث ذلك»، قائلاً: «هل تعلمون إلى ماذا توصلنا مع المؤسسات والقيادة الروسية؟ إذا انهارت بيلاروس اليوم، فالتالية ستكون روسيا».

بدوره، علق المتحدث باسم الرئاسة الروسية، دميتري بيسكوف، على تصريحات لوكاشينكو، عن إمكانية تكرار الاضطرابات التي تشهدها بلاده في روسيا.

وقال بيسكوف للصحافيين، أمس: «لا أعتقد أن المقارنة ممكنة في هذا الشأن، إذ نحن بلدان مختلفان ودولتان سياديتان، وإن كنا متحدين ضمن الدولة الاتحادية التي نثمّنها كثيراً. فلكل منهما ما يميزه من الثقافة السياسية والواقع السياسي والتوجهات السياسية. لذا فيبدو لي أن من غير الصواب إطلاق أي تعميمات في هذا الشأن».

وأشار المتحدث باسم الكرملين إلى أن «روسيا تحترم بالكامل الثقافة السياسية البيلاروسية، على الرغم من هذه الاختلافات».

وفي تعليقه على تقارير عن اختفاء بعض النشطاء المعارضين في بيلاروس، وخاصة قياديين بمجلس التنسيق التابع للمعارضة هناك، قال بيسكوف: «بالتأكيد يمثل اختفاء أشخاص ما أمراً مثيراً للقلق.. وبالطبع نعوّل على أنه سيتم تقديم معلومات معينة (حول هذه الحوادث) في مواعيد محددة وفقا للقانون».

فيما قالت المحامية لودميلا كازاك إن «عضو هيئة رئاسة مجلس التنسيق المعارض في بيلاروسيا، ماريا كوليسنيكوفا، موقوفة بالاشتباه بها في قضية محاولة الاستيلاء على السلطة». وأصبحت كوليسنيكوفا من أول قادة المجلس بهذا الوضع.

ورداً على سؤال توضيحي، أضافت كازاك أن كولسنيكوفا مشتبه بها في ما يسمى «قضية مجلس التنسيق»، والتي بدأت بموجب المادة الخاصة بمحاولة الاستيلاء على السلطة.

وألقي القبض، أول أمس الثلاثاء، على عضو هيئة رئاسة المجلس التنسيقي للمعارضة البيلاروسية، ماريا كوليسنيكوفا، على الحدود مع أوكرانيا، والبحث جار عن ممثلين آخرين في المجلس، وهما إيفان كرافتسوف، وأنتون رودنينكوف، بالتعاون مع كييف.

ووفقاً لوكالة الأنباء التلفزيونية الأوكرانية: «اجتاز الهاربون نقاط التفتيش الحدودية والجمارك وعند تفتيش السيارة فقدوا أعصابهم، وانطلقوا بسرعة في اتجاه أوكرانيا حيث كادوا يصدمون أحد عناصر حرس الحدود، وفي الوقت نفسه دفعوا بـ كوليسنيكوفا من السيارة».

من جانبها أكدت لجنة حدود الدولة البيلاروسية، في وقت سابق، أن «الأشخاص الثلاثة تم تسجيلهم عند نقطة التفتيش وتوجهوا نحو أوكرانيا نتيجة لذلك تمكن أنطون رودنينكوف وإيفان كرافتسوف من الهرب، ولم تستطع كوليسنيكوفا فعل ذلك، وتم اعتقالها على الحدود مباشرة، والآن البحث جار عن الهاربين مع الجانب الأوكراني».

Related Posts

Poland and Lithuania Are Ready to ‘Take Back’ Belorussian Lands (Anna Sochina)

Poland and Lithuania Are Ready to ‘Take Back’ Belorussian Lands (Anna Sochina)

September 02, 2020

Translated by Sasha and subtitled by Leonya.

Hello dear friends, once again Anna Sochina is with you. You may accuse me of a biased attitude towards Poland and the Baltic states. I often criticize them in my releases. Firstly, these republics often throw such performances that one cannot just walk by. And secondly, there is food for discussion in view of the events in Belorussia. Because no matter how much the local authorities assure that they do not encroach upon Belorussian sovereignty, the facts speak the opposite.

Paralytics Politics with Anna Sochina

I read the news recently: “The European MP for Poland Jacek Dariusz Wolski raised a most important issue at the extraordinary session on the situation in Belorussia: Let us pronounce ‘Tichanowska’ instead of ‘Tikhanovskaya’, let us pronounce it the Polish way.” “Because when foreigners say ‘Tikhanovskaya,’” he explains, “they pronounce the last name in a Russian way, and this way they recognize that the Republic of Belarus is in the sphere of Russia’s interests.” While it should, by the looks of it, be within Poland’s sphere of interests. If the West is moulding you as a leader of protests, you must become clay. If they say you’re not going to be Tikhanovskaya but Tichanowska, you will be. If they say you’re not going to be Sochina but Soczynski, you will be.

Clearly I wouldn’t have paid attention to this news had it not been for this linguistic screen concealing rather more serious intentions of Poland towards its neighbouring country. Here is, for instance, Tomasz Sommer, the Chief Editor of the ‘Najwyższy Czas’ weekly, writes on his Twitter:

It is absolutely obvious that Grodno must, in case of Belarus breaking up, be taken by Poland. PiS (the ruling Law and Justice Party) knows this but is afraid to say so.”

Well, who cares what some editor in chief said somewhere, it’d seem. However, my friends, the voice of Tomasz Sommer is not alone. Many representatives of the Polish elite share his thoughts, only they don’t voice it. The Poles use other methods in order to advance their interests in Belorussia. Thus the Polish trade union conglomerate ‘Solidarność’, whose influence level arguably exceeds any parliamentary party, sent humanitarian aid to the Republic of Belarus, in the form of a few dozens tonnes of food, which could to be of use at the workplaces during strikes. Additionally, they, with the support from the Polish government, helped to create the Fund of Solidarity with Belarus, which has already collected 1,000,000 PLN to aid the protesters, which translates into over 700,000 Belorussian rubles, or over 20,000,000 Russian rubles which the Belorussian service of ‘Radio Freedom’ joyfully announces to us.

It’s not that much, it might seem. But ‘Solidarność’ is not the only one who pours money into the Republic of Belarus, and it is not just coming from Poland. For instance, the strike committee of ‘BelarusPotassium’ announced lately that the aid to the strikers from foreign funds and the EU will amount to 35,000,000 euros. The President of the European Commission, Ursula Von der Leyen, announces at the same time that the EU will allocate 53,000,000 euros to support Belorussia “in this difficult time.” Belorussia herself, on the other hand, was able to raise only 2,000,000 euros in aid of the striking workers. So it is not the Belorussians who will be determining their country’s policies in the near future I agree with the ‘Temnik’ Telegram channel:

The governments of the Baltic states and Poland announce almost on the daily basis that they assign new sums for ‘the civil society development’, for ‘the independent media’, ‘training of the psychologists’, ‘first aid to the victims’, etc. The sums are modest – only a few dozens of hundreds of thousands euros, but if you put together these streamlets, they shape up into a considerable investment in the regime change scenario in the Republic of Belarus.”

Apart from the direct financial injections, for which the Belorussians will of course be made to pay later, Poland and Lithuania employ other methods. Lithuania in particular jumps up the highest out of their pants. It is there where at the moment the Belorussian female version of Juan Guaido is being moulded. There a ‘strong leader’ is being created out of a ‘weak woman’, as Tikhanovskaya described herself. However, in this case, I will agree with our colleague Armen Gasparyan. A strong leader must be charismatic, which is a quality I cannot discern no matter what when I look at Tikhanovskaya’s writing. Either way Lithuania accepted ‘Tichanowska’ within its borders. Lithuania also wrote a hurriedly long sanctions list against over 130 names of Belorussian officials. Lithuania is organizing mass rallies in support of the Belorussians on its territory. “The ‘Road of Freedom’ from Vilnius to the border with Belarus. Tens of thousands of people formed a living chain in Lithuania in order to support the Belorussian protest.”

RBK: “On the Sunday evening, almost 50 thousand people in Lithuania held their hands, having formed a living chain from Vilnius to the village of Miadininkai on the border with Belarus, in order to express their support for the Belorussians who are fighting for democratic reforms in their country. The length of the chain during the ‘Road to Freedom’ action was 32 km.”

The authors of the Telegram channel ‘Horde’ noted an interesting moment in connection to this 32 km long chain. I don’t do well in math, but they made the calculations:

According to the estimates of the Sunday Party in Minsk, it gathered from 20,000-150,000 people, or if we average it, it was around 85,000 citizens. The Belorussian population is only 9 million. It is 3.5 times more than in Lithuania. So 50,000 sympathizers in lith is equivalent to 150,000 in Belorussia. In other words, the Lithuanians sympathize with the Belorussians more than the Belorussians sympathize with themselves.”

I, by the way, never stop being amazed at the Poles’ and the Baltics’ mentality. They make an impression of a small lap dog that pounces at your legs, wants to bite but is too afraid to do it and so it just yaps. I’ll explain why I think so, having quoted the Ministry of Defense of Republic of Belarus:

A probe consisting of eight air balloons carrying anti-state symbols was launched from the contiguous territory. Thanks to the actions of Mi-24 helicopter crews belonging to the duty air defense forces, the flight of the air balloons was stopped without weapon deployment.”

This news is actively ridiculed, including the mockery on behalf of some Russian authors. Wikipedia has already published an article titled “The Helium War”. Although I personally see nothing funny in this. Launching air balloons with the white-red-white symbol, which is totally anti-state but which very close in spirit to Poland and Lithuania, and to laugh when Belorussian helicopters take in the air: “Ha ha, the army is sent against our air balloons”, – can any one tell me what is so funny here? In reality, what’s laughable here are the imperial ambitions of Poland and Lithuania, who, in their dreams, are already dividing between themselves Grodno and other adjacent territories. And even if they are not yet dividing it, they demand to be included in the negotiations alongside Russia, Germany and France.

In this light, the interview with the former Foreign and Defense Minister of Poland Radosław Sikorski, is quite interesting and telling. Its headline is “The Crisis in Belarus Confined the Strength of Poland”. Nowhere in the article are arguments in support of this headline, but the principal thought developed by Sikorski sounds like this:

Radosław Sikorski: “Had Poland had normal diplomatic relations with Russia, she could have been the negotiator between Russia and the West about how Belarus could transform from a dictatorship into a democracy that does not infringe upon anyone’s interests. Poland should be in the centre of the situation but it is not so at the moment.”

It’s as if the neighbours on the floor have made a party but did not invite that one who always drills and makes noises after eleven. Poland is absent from the Normandy Four who negotiate about Donbass. It is also not awaited at the Minsk negotiations, although it would seem that nearest neighbour must be present. Evidently the Poles’ appetites for the tasty pieces of Belarus are apparent to Berlin, Paris and Brussels and the openly conservative policies of President Andrzej Duda doesn’t, let’s say, resonate in their hearts. Nevertheless this doesn’t mean that Poland and the Baltic states can be written off. As Sikorski himself incautiously notes in his interview when speaking of Lithuania’s role in the conflict, “sometimes small countries are used for scouting the battlefield.” That was a quote. And these small countries are being used by the United States, if to believe the former Defense and Foreign Minister of Poland.

It is on the Lithuanian territory where meetings between Tikhanovskaya and high ranking US representatives are being held at the moment. Strange is however that Sikorski does not draw parallels and does not understand that Poland, just like Lithuania, is being instigated, just like Lithuania, and is being used against Russia’s interests. But no, “Poland is the hegemon while Lithuania is just a mere pawn in the hands of the White House.” What do we have as a result? Cheap provocations like the one with air balloons. Large financial injections into Belorussia. Rallies in support of the protesters. Establishment of new foundations and non-governmental organizations within Belorussia. The support for such bloggers as ‘Nekhta’ or ‘Nexta’, I don’t know what is the correct pronunciation. I will quote Sikorski again:

Radosław Sikorski: “I am pleased that one of the principal Telegram bloggers ‘Nekhta’ came to Poland to study thanks the Erasmus program. The Belorussian House in Warsaw was founded in our time by the Polish Foreign Affairs Ministry and my personal idea was to create European Endowment for Democracy, and I know that it is also participating in the events in Belarus.”

Oh, European Endowment for Democracy is a topic for a separate conversation altogether. It this one is taking part, it is as good as lost. Someone may ask how do we differ from Poland or Lithuania. After all, Russia has been sponsoring Belorussia for years. Well, my friends, there is a huge difference between cooperation on the governmental level and pumping money and air balloons into the opposition. On the governmental level, Belorussia even holds joint marine exercises with Great Britain and it seems ok. But moulding a ‘Guaido’ on its territory and pumping money into the protesters and the strikers is not the official level, right? Besides answering the possible questions about Moscow’s role, I must remind that Russia and Belorussia are the Union State, and I don’t recall that Lukashenko made such unions with Lithuania or Poland.

Goodbye.

Syria stands by Belarus in confronting foreign interventions

Source

Thursday, 03 September 2020 

DAMASCUS, (ST)_Syria has asserted that it stands by the friendly Belarus Republic  and its elected president Alexander Lukashenko in confronting the attempts of foreign intervention in Minsk’s internal affairs. 

It said in a statement released on Thursday by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates that Syria is closely following the recent development in the Republic of Belarus and expresses its support for it in confronting the attempts of foreign intervention in Minsk’s internal affairs. 

The ministry, in addition, asserted Syria’s support for the president of Belarus and condemned the insistence of some countries on undermining the legitimate governments in independent and sovereign states. 

It pointed out that some western states threaten security and stability in many states and promote the projects of chaos and division with the aim of imposing hegemony over the peoples’ choices and decisions and wealth. 

“The Syrian Arab Republic renews its pride in the distinguished relations with the Republic of Belarus and always remembers the stance of Belarus with Syria in confronting the ongoing terror war on it and its rejection of the attempts of foreign interventions in Damascus’ internal affairs,” the statement added, pointing out the Syria looks forward to enhancing bilateral relations with Belarus for the common interest of the two states’ peoples. 

The ministry concluded by saying that Syria renews its trust in the friendly Belarusian people’s choices and in the wisdom of their leadership and government to overcome the crisis and to achieve more security and prosperity. 

Basma Qaddour

Related

President Putin says that Russia will help Belarus (UPDATED!)

Source

August 27, 2020

President Putin says that Russia will help Belarus (UPDATED!)

President Putin just gave an important interview to the Russian journalist Sergei Brilev in which he indicated that

  • Russia and Belarus are allies in the CSTO
  • Russia and Belarus are also Union states
  • Russia has obligations towards Belarus
  • Lukashenko has invoked these obligations
  • Putin has agreed to create a “security reserve force” which is ready to intervene in Belarus in case of danger for the Belarusian state and sovereignty
  • Putin added that these forces will only be used if “extremist elements” violently threaten the security and/or stability of the Belarusian state
  • Putin added that there is no need for such a force now, and he hopes that there never will be
  • Putin also added that neither the state nor the demonstrators should violate Belarusian laws (he did add that Belarusian cops are much less violent than the cops in the US).

It is important here NOT to start guessing what that force is, what it can do, etc.

Why?

Because Russia already had such forces, including light mobile military and police forces.

No, what is important is that Putin has just drawn a red line and made an implicit threat.

I consider that threat as absolutely credible.  Recall that just a few days ago, Putin told western leaders to stay out of Belarus, and at least some of them now clearly got the message (not all, obviously).

But, first and foremost, this is a direct warning for Poland and the Baltic statlets: stay out or else…

This is also a clear message to Tikhanovskaia and her puppet-masters: forget about Belarus leaving the CSTO or the Union state; also forget about Belarus joining the EU or NATO.  Ain’t gonna happen.

I am sure that we will post the full interview either dubbed or with English subs later today or tomorrow, but I wanted to share with you what I consider a watershed moment in the Belarus crisis.

I will keep you posted here should there be any updates.

The Saker

PS: full Russian speakers, this is the link to the original interview

Full English Transcript is here

Vladimir Putin – Interview with Rossiya TV channel

http://thesaker.is/vladimir-putin-interview-with-rossiya-tv-channel/embed/#?secret=0mbWdMOYXv

UPDATE: as predicted, the Poles are hysterical, see for yourself:

من روسيا البيضاء إلى لبنان عالم ما بعد الأميركان

محمد صادق الحسيني

مرة أخرى ورغم افتضاح أمرها، تحاول الامبريالية الأميركية ذات الهيمنة الغاشمة محاولاتها البائسة لإطلاق «ثورات» ملونة مدفوعة الأجر وتعمل بالقطعة من البلطيق والبحر الاسود الى شواطئ المتوسط…!

والعين اليوم تشخص في كلّ مسارح عمليات الحرب الناعمة بقوة وتركيز على روسيا البيضاء…!

على الرغم من الجهود الإعلامية التضليليّة، التي تقوم بها آلة الإعلام الاميركية الاوروبية / الناتو /، والتي تحاول تصوير ما يجري في جمهورية روسيا البيضاء السوفياتيه السابقة، على انه صراع بين الرئيس الشرعي اليكساندر لوكاشينكو وربة المنزل سڤيتلانا تيخانوفسكايا، التي يسميها الغرب «زعيمة المعارضة» والتي هربت الى جمهورية لاتفيا، العضو في حلف الناتو، قبل أيام إثر هزيمتها في الانتخابات الرئاسية، التي جرت في روسيا البيضاء وفاز فيها الرئيس لوكاشينكو. نقول إنه وعلى الرغم من كل هذا الجهد الاعلامي والضغوط السياسية، التي تمارس على روسيا البيضاء وروسيا الاتحادية، الحليفة للرئيس لوكاشينكو، وهما عضوان في معاهدة الأمن الجماعي، التي تضم دولاً سوفياتية سابقة اخرى، رغم كل ذلك فإن الأهداف التي تعمل الولايات المتحدة وأذنابها الأوروبيون على تحقيقها في هذا البلد، ذي الأهمية الاستراتيجية الكبرى، للأمن الاستراتيجي الروسي، لا علاقة لها بالديموقراطية طبعاً ولا بأي هدف إنساني نبيل آخر على الإطلاق.

الهدف الحقيقي لكل ما يجري هو بالضبط ما صرّحت به ربة المنزل المذكورة أعلاه يوم أمس، عندما دعت الى اغلاق القواعد العسكرية الروسية، الموجودة على أراضي جمهورية روسيا البيضاء، وانسحاب الأخيرة من منظمة الأمن الجماعي، التي تضم جمهوريات سوفياتيه سابقة عدة..

من هنا تنبع ضرورة توضيح طبيعة هذه القواعد والأسس القانونية، التي تنظم وجودها على أراضي روسيا البيضاء، وتفضح الأهداف العدوانية للولايات المتحدت واذنابها في حلف الناتو، وتعرّي نفاقهم ورياءهم وكذبهم واستغلالهم لعناصر عميلة في هذه الدولة، تماماً كما هو الوضع في كل بلد يقررون محاصرته وخنقه كما في لبنان مثلاً، وذلك بهدف نشر الفوضى والخراب وتهديد السلم الأهلي فيها.

اما تلك القواعد، التي يدور الحديث حولها، فهي قاعدتان:

الأولى: هي قاعدة هانتاسافيتشي التي تبعد 48 كم عن مدينة بارانافيتشي في جنوب غرب البلاد. وهي قاعدة رادارات من طراز 70 . وهي قاعدة رادار للإنذار المبكر، تابعة للقوات الجوفضائية الروسية ومخصصة لرصد إطلاق الصواريخ الباليستية الثقيلة، التي تطلق من اوروبا الغربية، كما أنها مخصصة لرصد الأقمار الصناعية ايضاً. وهي تقوم بالمهمات التي كانت تقوم بها قاعدة سكروندا في لاتفيا المجاورة والتي تم تفكيكها منذ سنوات، في إطار إجراءات إدخال لاتفيا الى حلف الناتو.

الثانية: هي قاعدة ڤولغا للرادار وتقع على بعد 8 كم شمال شرق بلدة هانتافيتشي في مقاطعة بريست. ويطلق عليها في اللغة العسكرية الروسية اسم: كليتيك 2 . وهي مخصصة للإنذار المبكر وتحديد مواقع إطلاق الصواريخ الباليستية الاستراتيجية. ويبلغ مدى عمل هذه الرادارات ستة آلاف كيلومتر.

ولكن السؤال الذي يطرح نفسه بقوة، في هذا المجال، هو: ما هي الأسباب الكامنة وراء التركيز على محطات الرادار هذه، من قبل الولايات المتحدة وحلف الناتو، واستمرار محاولاتهما التخلص منها، عبر إسقاط روسيا البيضاء والسيطرة عليها، ودمجها في نسيج الحلف الغربي العدواني والمعادي لروسيا؟

لأن هذه المحطات تعتبر من عناصر الإنذار المبكر الروسية، ضد الهجمات المعادية بالصواريخ الاستراتيجية، وبالتالي فإن استراتيجيي البنتاغون وأذنابهم في بروكسل (قيادة حلف الناتو) يعتقدون انهم بذلك سوف يوجهون ضربةً لقدرات الإنذار المبكر الروسي ولسلاح الدفاع الجوي فضائي

بالنتيجة هذه الخطط، أي إغلاق القواعد الروسية وإسقاط الدولة في روسيا البيضاء والسيطرة عليها وتنصيب ربة المنزل، سڤيتلانا تيخانوفسكايا، رئيسة لروسيا البيضاء، تأتي في إطار تنفيذ مسلسل خطوات الحشد الاستراتيجي ضد روسيا الاتحادية وجمهورية الصين الشعبية والجمهورية الاسلامية في ايران، على الرغم من البعد الجغرافي بين هذه القواعد وكل من الصين وإيران، حيث إن إضعاف قاطع من قواطع المواجهة العسكرية، مع الولايات المتحدة والناتو، كقاطع الجبهة الغربية الروسية، الممتدة من اقصى شمال الدول الاسكندنافية شمالاً، مروراً ببولندا واوكرانيا ورومانيا وبلغاريا وتركيا، على البحر الأسود جنوباً، انما هو إضعاف للوضع الجيواستراتيجي لكل من الصين وروسيا ومعهما إيران، خاصة بعد دخولها في تفاهمات تعاون متعددة الجوانب وبعيدة المدى، مع هاتين الدولتين.

الإمعان في محاولات واشنطن وبروكسل (قيادة الناتو) الاقتراب من الحدود الروسية، وتكرار محاولات الاعتداء على السيادة الجوية الروسية، باستخدام طائرات الاستطلاع الأميركية والغربية، بشكل يومي، ونجاح انظمة الدفاع الجوفضائي والمقاتلات الروسية الاعتراضية، في التصدي لهذه المحاولات وإفشالها، قد جعلهم يسيرون خلف السراب والاوهام المتبخره برفع مستوى الضغط على روسيا، واهمين انهم بذلك سيستطيعون إجبارها على تقديم التنازلات، في الكثير من الملفات الدولية، بدءاً بملفات الحد من انتشار الاسلحة النووية واتفاقيات تنظيم الاسلحة الصاروخية، وصولاً الى الكثير من الملفات الدولية، والتي يتصدرها الملف الفلسطيني والسوري والإيراني والفنزويلي. وهذه كلها ملفات ترتبط بشكل وثيق بميزان القوى الجيواستراتيجيي بين الدول العظمى، وبالتالي فإنها ملفات شديدة التأثير، في مسار إلغاء او دحر الهيمنة الأميركية الأحادية على العالم، وتشكيل هرم قيادي جديد، يقود العالم لا تكون الولايات المتحدة هي من يجلس على كرسي القيادة فيه.

وهو الأمر الذي يقودنا الى الاعتقاد الراسخ بأن معركة الصراع على جمهورية روسيا البيضاء لن ينتهي الى نصر أميركي غربي وذلك للأسباب التالية:

أ) شجاعة الرئيس لوكاشينكو، وتعامله وتفاعله الديناميكي، في التصدي للمؤامرة الاميركية التي تحاول إسقاط الدولة، وفهمه العميق لطبيعة هذه المؤامرة والدول التي تقف وراءها وتمولها.

ب) الموقف الحازم الذي اتخذه الرئيس لوكاشينكو، منذ بداية التحركات المعادية، ليس فقط بالوقوف في وجه المؤامرة داخل البلاد، وإنما بإصداره الأوامر الفورية للقطعات العسكرية لروسيا البيضاء، المرابطة على الحدود الشمالية الغربية، مع كل من دولتي الناتو، ليتوانيا وبولندا، وضرورة اتخاذ كافة الإجراءات العسكرية الضرورية لحماية حدود البلاد. خاصة بعد تكرار محاولات جهات استخبارية اميركية، وتابعة لحلف الناتو، لإرسال أموال واسلحة ومعدات مختلفة الى داخل روسيا البيضاء لتزود بها مثيري الشغب داخل البلاد. علاوة على تكثيف واشنطن وبروكسل لمحاولات التجسس الجوي في المناطق الحدودية وذلك باستخدام الطائرات المسيرة والمناطيد وطائرات الحرب الالكترونية العسكرية.

ج) الزيارات التفقدية، لخطوط المواجهة مع بولندا ولتوانيا، التي يقوم بها الرئيس لوكاشينكو، مرتدياً الزِّي العسكري وممتشقاً سلاحه الرشاش وجاهزاً للدفاع عن سيادة واستقلال بلاده ومنع سقوطها في أيدي الغرب والحاق الضرر الاستراتيجي بجمهورية روسيا الاتحادية من جراء ذلك.

د) اما العامل الذي يزيد التأكيد على أن مخططات واشنطن وبروكسل، في حرمان قوات الدفاع الجوفضائي الروسية، من قواعدها للإنذار المبكر المنتشره في روسيا البيضاء حسب اتفاقيات بين الدولتين مطابقة تماماً للقوانين الدولية، فهو أن لدى روسيا القواعد البديلة، التي تقوم بعمليات تغطية أوسع بكثير من العمليات التي تنفذه القواعد الموجودة في روسيا البيضاء.

هـ) فعلى سبيل المثال لا الحصر، هناك قاعدة رادارات الإنذار المبكر، من طراز فورونيش ، التابعة لقوات الدفاع الجوفضائية الروسية والموجودة في قرية بيونيرسكي على بعد 27 كم شمال مدينة / ميناء كاليننغراد. علماً أن مدى عمل هذه الرادارات يزيد على ستة آلاف كيلومتر وهي مخصّصة للإنذار المبكر ورصد الصواريخ الباليستية الثقيلة والبعيدة المدى.

و) تُضاف اليها قاعدة الإنذار المبكر المقامة في قرية ليختوسي، على بعد 40 كم شمال لينينغراد، وتحمل اسم القرية نفسها. وهي تابعة لقوات الدفاع الجوفضائية الروسية وتعمل بنوع من رادارات فورونيش من الجيل الثالث، ويصل مدى عمل رادارات هذه المحطة الى اربعة آلاف وخمسمئة كيلومتر، وتغطي كامل منطقة عمليات شمال غرب روسيا، وهي موجودة في الخدمة القتالية منذ شهر شباط 2012.

وهذا يعني أن الإجراءات الاحترازية المسبقة، التي اتخذتها قوات الدفاع الجوفضائية الروسية، قد أفشلت كل مشاريع واشنطن وبروكسل حتى قبل ان يفكروا في وضع خططها.

وانطلاقاً من هذه القراءة الموضوعية، لحالة الشغب المُوَجَّهْ من الدول الغربية في روسيا البيضاء، ولما شهده لبنان والعراق في الأشهر الماضية، ولما كان «مستوراً» وأصبح مفضوحاً من تآمر وتعاون أمني عسكري، بين مشيخة أبو ظبي و»اسرائيل»، منذ عقدين من الزمن، ليس ضد إيران فقط وانما ضد كل جهة تنتمي الى المقاومة وتقاتل الاحتلال الإسرائيلي والهيمنة الأميركية، فإن بامكاننا ان نؤكد ان الاستعدادات التي اتخذتها أطراف حلف المقاومة لاسقاط مؤامرات اعراب الخليج وسيدهم في البيت الابيض وصِنْوهُمْ الصهيوني قد حققت الكثير من النجاحات، سواءٌ في إسقاط مخطط تدمير الدولة السوريه وتفتيتها او في لبنان وفلسطين او في اليمن الصامد، الذي سيستكمل هزيمة قوى العدوان ويعلن انتصاره الناجز، على قوى العدوان الاميركي البريطاني الفرنسي الاسرائيلي السعودي الاماراتي وبعض السماسرة والمرتزقة الآخرين، ويلحق بهم الهزيمة النكراء قبل نهاية هذا العام، بإذن الله.

نصر يعتقد المراقبون بأنه سيترافق مع سقوط متزعم الحرب الظالمة على اليمن، محمد بن سلمان، وتوقع قيام دولة في نجد والحجاز، تختلف جذرياً عن المملكة الوهابية الحالية التي باتت مثالاً ونموذجاً للقمع والاستبداد والتبعية والعبودية للأجنبي القادم من وراء البحار ونهوض عالم جديد لا مكان فيه لضعفاء النفوس المتسولين على موائد الدول التي كانت يوماً كبرى وهي في طريقها للأفول وإن بعد حين…!

عالم ينهار

عالم ينهض

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله.

Might Belarus become the next Syria?

The Saker

Might Belarus become the next Syria?
Lukashenko and son

August 24, 2020

Okay, I admit it, the title is rather hyperbolic 🙂  But here is what I am trying to say: there are signs that Russia is intervening in the Belarusian crisis (finally!)

Second, Lukashenko did something rather weird, but which makes perfectly good sense in the Belarusian context: he dressed himself in full combat gear, grabbed an AKSU-74 assault rife, dressed his (15 year old!) son also in full combat gear (helmet included) and flew in his helicopter over Minsk and then landed in the Presidential building.  They then walked to the riot cops, where Lukashenko warmly thanked them and which resulted in the full police force giving him a standing ovation.  To most of us this behavior might look rather outlandish if not outright silly.  But in the context of the Belarusian crisis, which is a crisis primarily fought in the informational realm, it makes perfectly good sense.

  • Last week Lukashenko said that no other elections, nevermind a coup, will happen as long as he is alive.
  • This time Lukashenko decided to show, symbolically, that he is in charge and that he will die fighting along his son if needed.

The message here is clear: “I am no Ianukovich and, if needed, I will die just like Allende died”.

Needless to say, the AngloZionist propaganda machine has immediately declared that seeing Lukashenko carrying a Kalashnikov is a clear sign that he has gone insane.  In the western context, if this was, say, Luxembourg or Belgium this accusation of insanity would be spot on.  But in the Belarusian context, these accusations get very little traction, chalk it up to cultural differences if you wish.

To understand how powerful this message is, we need to keep in mind the two key rumors that the Empire’s PSYOP operation was trying to convey to the people of Belarus:

  • There are profound differences amongst and inside the ruling elites (especially the so-called “siloviki” – the “power ministries” if you want, like Internal Affairs or KGB).
  • Lukashenko either has already fled the country or is about to flee it (each time a helicopter files over Minsk, the western PSYOPs say that this is footage of Lukashenko “fleeing the country”).

I have a strong suspicion that what happened between Putin and Lukashenko is very similar to what happened between Putin and Assad: initially, both Assad and Lukashenko apparently thought that pure violence will solve the problem.  That profoundly mistaken belief resulted in a situation in which the legitimate authorities were almost overthrown (and this is still possible in Belarus).  In each case, the Russians clearly said something along the lines of “we will help you, but you have to radically change your methods”.  Assad listened.  Lukashenko apparently did too, at least to some degree (this process has just begun).

The truth is that the opposition is in a difficult situation: the vast majority of the people of Belarus clearly do not want a violent coup, followed by a bloody civil war, a total deindustrialization of the country and a total submission to the Empire, i.e. they don’t want to go down the “Ukie way”.  But how to you *legally* overthrow a government, especially if that government now sends the clear message “we will die before we allow you to seize power”?

Then there is the immense problem with Tikhanovskaia: while few believe that she got 10% and Lukashenko got 80% – nobody sincerely believes that she beat him.  So while the West wants to paint Lukashenko as “the next Maduro“, it is practically impossible to convince anybody “that Tikhanovskaia is the next Guaido“.

So where do we go from here?

Well, Lukashenko has not fired Foreign Minister Makei or KGB Head Vakulchik.  Truth be told, I tend to agree with some Russian analysts who say that Makei is not really the problem, and that the main russophobe in Minsk is Lukashenko himself (just one example: he was the one who removed the four Russian Sukhois which Russia had sent to help Belarus control their airspace).  It is quite true that Lukashenko runs all his ministries with an iron hand and that saying that Makei is all evil and black while Lukashenko is this white, innocent, victim is not very credible.  However, even if Makei and Vakulchik were only executing Lukashenko’s orders, then now need to fall in their swords as a sign of contrition and reparation towards Russia.  Still, the Russians will probably indicate the Lukashenko that the Kremlin will not work with these turncoats.

Then there are the public statements of the Belarusian Minister of Defense, Viktor Khrenin, who says all then right things and who seems to take a very hard line against those western forces which are behind this latest attempt at a color revolution.  It is well known in Russia that while Belarusian diplomats seems to, how shall I put it, prefer smiles to substantive collaboration with Russia.  The case of the Belarusian military is quite different, not only do the Russian and Belarusian militaries train together, they also share intelligence on a reportedly continuous basis.  Besides, without Russia the Belarusian military would find itself completely isolated, unable to procure technical support or parts, disconnected from the Russian early warning systems and removed from Russian intelligence support.

The Belarusian military is dramatically different from the Ukrainian military which had practically lost its combat readiness decades ago, which was then purged from all real patriots, and which was fantastically corrupt.  In contrast, the comparatively small Belarusian military is, by all accounts, very well-trained, decently equipped and commanded by very competent officers.  I think that it is a safe bet to say that the armed forces are loyal to Lukashenko and that they would probably welcome a full reunification with Russia.

As for Lukashenko himself, he has, for the first time, allowed an openly pro-Russian party to register (in the past, pro-Russian movements, organizations and parties were systematically persecuted and shut down).  He also declared on public TV that “his friend Putin” advised him on how to react to the demonstrators.

So will Belarus become the next Syria?

Well, no, of course not, the two countries are way too different.  But in a different sense, what happened in Syria might happen in Belarus: Russia will provide her full support, but only in exchange for major reforms on all levels.  And though Lukashenko now declares that the West only wants to destroy Belarus as a first phase of destroying all of Russia, I do not believe that there is any chance for a military conflict, unless one of three things happen:

  1. Some nutcase on either side opens fire and triggers a military incident (and even that might not be enough)
  2. The Poles get really desperate and do something fantastically dumb (Polish history demonstrates that this is a very real possibility)
  3. Lukashenko is killed and chaos ensues (not very likely either)

We must remember that when Russia intervened in Syria, the Syrian military was in shambles and basically defeated.  This is not at all the case in Belarus which has a superb military (of the “lean and mean” sort) and they can secure their own country, especially when backed by the KGB and the Ministry of Internal Affairs forces.

Still, while Lukashenko might be part of the solution in the short term, in the long term he must go and be replaced by a trustworthy leader whom the Belarusian people and the Kremlin could really trust and that leader’s main task will be to fully reintegrate Belarus into Russia.  Again, a major difference with Syria.

Russian-Belarusian Relations: Back To Being Brothers?

16 AUGUST 2020

By Andrew Korybko

American political analyst

Russian-Belarusian Relations: Back To Being Brothers?

Several recent developments in Russian-Belarusian relations — in particular, Belarus’ return of 32 suspected Wagner mercenaries to Russia, Belarusian opposition leader Tsepkalo’s departure from Russia, and the two phone calls between Presidents Putin and Lukashenko — hint that bilateral ties might soon return to their formerly fraternal level, though the fact of the matter is that Minsk simply doesn’t have any realistic option other than to re-engage Moscow (albeit on the latter’s terms) after the dramatic failure of the former’s “balancing” act and is thus destined to be Russia’s “little brother” instead of its “equal brother”.

A Russian-Belarusian Rapprochement?

Some notable developments occurred since the author’s analysis on Friday about how “Belarus’ ‘Democratic Security’ Operation Shouldn’t Be Exploited For Russophobic Purposes“. That piece painted a bleak picture of Russian-Belarusian relations, one in which Russia’s hosting of Belarusian opposition leader Tsepkalo could have potentially been instrumentalized to protect its national security interests. That’s no longer the case, however, since recent events have changed that calculation. Some observers are nowadays a bit more optimistic about their ties, even believing that they might soon return to their formerly fraternal level, though the fact of the matter is that Minsk simply doesn’t have any realistic option other than to re-engage Moscow (albeit on the latter’s terms) after the dramatic failure of the former’s “balancing” act and is thus destined to be Russia’s “little brother” instead of its “equal brother”.

Resolving The Wagner Incident

The first major development that occurred in the past few days was twofold and concerns both Belarus’ return of 32 suspected Wager mercenaries to Russia on Friday and Tsepkalo’s (subsequent?) departure from Russia. It certainly seems that the two are linked considering the timing in which they occurred, so it might very well have been the case that this was a quid pro quo. To explain, Belarus’ detainment of those nearly three dozen Russians can be seen in hindsight not simply as an anti-Russian provocation and “sign of good faith” about its intent to continue improving relations with the West after the election (before they decided to overthrow its leader), but also a misguided “insurance policy” against what Lukashenko had previously alleged was Moscow’s meddling in its internal affairs. In other words, those Russians were essentially political hostages to ensure that their homeland didn’t allow anti-government figures like Tsepkalo to operate from its territory.

The Tsepkalo Intrigue

His arrival there wasn’t anything that Moscow could have prevented considering the visa-free travel regime in place between the two members of the so-called “Union State”, but Minsk obviously felt uncomfortable with the fact that he fled to the Russian capital at the end of last month a few days prior to the Wagner provocation. In fact, the aforementioned provocation might have even been launched in response to that development considering the very acute “strategic dilemma” between the two nominal “allies” after Lukashenko stopped trusting Russia upon falling for the Western information warfare narrative that his neighbor harbored malicious intentions towards his country. The cover for this speculative quid pro quo of returning the suspected mercenaries in exchange for Tsepkalo’s departure from Russia was that the latter was added to an international wanted persons list upon Minsk’s request, hence why Moscow could no longer allow him to remain there.

Quid Pro Quo

This enabled both sides to “save face” and not appear as though they were enacting any “concessions” towards the other during this unprecedentedly tense period of their relations. Both sides therefore got what they wanted. Russia’s political hostages were released, while Belarus no longer had to worry about the possibility of Russia instrumentalizing Tsepkalo’s presence in its capital. Everything could thus return to how it was before late-July when Tsepkalo fled to Russia and the Wagner provocation occurred shortly thereafter. While ties were still tense up until that time, they weren’t as bad as they were afterwards following those two incidents. It’s premature to call this a “reset” though since a rapprochement is more accurate at this point. This quid pro quo indicates that each side understands the necessity of restoring trust and confidence in one another. As such, their leaders then spoke with one another the next day, Saturday, to take their rapprochement even further.

Two Phone Calls In Two Days

The official Kremlin website didn’t say much about the details of their talk but nevertheless sounded upbeat about the future of their relations. Lukashenko, however, later revealed that “I and he agreed that we will receive comprehensive assistance in ensuring Belarus’ security whenever we request it”. The Belarusian leader also warned against what he described as NATO’s threatening buildup along his borders, implying that the alliance might try to attack his country. The next day, Sunday, Presidents Putin and Lukashenko spoke again, and this time the official Kremlin website reported that they discussed possible security assistance through the CSTO mutual defense pact of which both states are members. This dimension of the crisis adds some more intrigue to the rapidly developing situation by making it seem like a Russian military intervention along the lines of the Crimean one might be imminent, though that scenario more than likely won’t come to pass.

Crimea 2.0 Is Unlikely

Firstly, foreign forces are ineffective for carrying out “Democratic Security” operations since the target nation’s own ones are required in order for the state to retain legitimacy except in situations where Color Revolutionaries and/or military defectors seize control of military bases and/or cities, which seems unlikely to happen. Secondly, NATO’s reported military buildup is probably just for show and isn’t anything serious. The alliance knows that attacking Belarus would trigger Russia’s mutual defense commitments, thus potentially worsening the crisis to the level of World War III in the worst-case scenario. And thirdly, Belarus previously balked at Russia’s prior request to establish an air base within its borders since it knows that its ally’s increased military presence there would be perceived real negatively by NATO and thus lead to even more pressure upon it. For these reasons, a forthcoming Russian military intervention in Belarus is unlikely.

Lukashenko’s Signals

The question thus becomes one of why Lukashenko is even flirting with this possibility in the first place if it probably won’t happen, with the answer likely being that he intends to send signals to Russia and the West with his words. About the first-mentioned, he’s reaffirming his country’s commitment to its traditional ally in an attempt to shore up support from its media after they’ve been uncharacteristically critical of him in response to his failed “balancing” act of the past year. Regarding the second, the West, he wants them to realize that he’s no longer as naive as before and no longer trusts them after they ordered their Color Revolution cadres to oust him. In other words, he’s trying to recalibrate his “balancing” act by moving closer to Russia in response to the Western pressure being put upon him from above (sanctions threats) and below (Color Revolution). Domestically, these dramatic statements are also intended to distract people by hyping up an external enemy.

Belarus’ Official Position On “Balancing”

A casual observer might be inclined to think that Belarus once again wants to return to its former brotherly relations with Russia, but the situation isn’t as simple as that. After all, Lukashenko declared earlier this month that “it is impossible” to strengthen his country’s “Union State” relations with Russia. “Even if I agreed to the reunification on the most favorable terms for Belarus, the people of Belarus would not accept it. The nation is not ready for this and will never be. The people are overripe. It was possible 20 or 25 years ago when the Soviet Union collapsed. But not now.” Nevertheless, he also said on Sunday that “Belarus does not want to be a ‘buffer zone’…to separate Russia from the West”, which essentially rules out its participation in the Polish-led and US-backed “Three Seas Initiative” (TSI) and related frameworks like the “Lublin Triangle“, at least for now. Put another way, Belarus wants closer relations with Russia, but not formal incorporation into a single state. While it wishes to retain friendly relations with the West, it won’t do so at the expense of Russia either.

Russia > West

The way that the situation is developing, it looks like Belarus has chosen to abandon its “balancing” act in favor of realigning itself with Russia, though it lost whatever previous leverage it thought that it had throughout the course of the past year after it so terribly failed to take advantage of its newfound relations with the West to bargain for better terms from Moscow in the run-up to the ongoing Color Revolution. Lukashenko is therefore at President Putin’s mercy when it comes to any potential Russian assistance to his government, which is unlikely to be military aid for the earlier mentioned reasons but would most probably be deeper integration through the “Union State” framework despite the Belarusian leader’s hesitancy. In a “perfect world”, his “balancing” act would have turned Belarus into the New Cold War’s version of Tito’s Yugoslavia, but in the imperfect reality in which everyone lives, Belarus has little choice but to accept Russia’s “Union State” terms.

“Saving Face”

It’s of the highest importance for Lukashenko to “save face” while commencing this policy pivot (provided of course that he remains in office long enough to see it through), which is where the wording of the Kremlin’s statement on Saturday following the first phone call between him and Putin comes in. The last sentence speaks about the “fraternal nations of Russia and Belarus”, which is a symbolic narrative “concession” to Lukashenko after he complained earlier in the month about “Russia switching from a brotherly relationship to a partnership — suddenly.” The Belarusian leader can therefore claim that the two countries are once again “brothers”, which could be relied upon by him as the pretext for agreeing to resume integration within the “Union State” framework even though it’ll likely be on Russia’s terms instead of his own. That would in effect formalize Belarus’ status as Russia’s “junior partner”, which it’s always been but he’d been loath to acknowledge it.

A True “Brotherhood” Or A “Fraternal Hierarchy”?

This brings the analysis back to the question posed in the title about whether Russian-Belarusian relations have returned back to their formerly fraternal nature. The answer is yes and no. On the one hand, they’ll probably continue to repair their relations after Lukashenko’s failed “balancing” act threatened to ruin them once and for all, but on the other, they won’t ever have equal relations given the hierarchy involved. To use Lukashenko’s own metaphor, President Putin is his “elder brother“, and in traditional family arrangements, seniority carries with it certain perks. So too can the same be said about the relations between a Great Power like Russia and a comparatively smaller and much weaker state like Belarus. Regardless of the rhetoric that politicians love to espouse, there can never be true equality between such vastly different states. What there can be, however, is respect of each other’s core interests but recognition that there still exists a “fraternal hierarchy” among them.

Concluding Thoughts

The Belarusian Crisis is still very serious, though the positive developments of the past two days in respect to bilateral relations with Russia inspire cautious optimism about the future. If Lukashenko can survive the Hybrid War against him, which he’d more than likely have to do on his own without any Russian military support considering the fact that foreign military forces are ineffective in dealing with most manifestations of such wars, then there’s a high chance that Belarus will agree to strengthen its integration with Russia through the “Union State” framework on Moscow’s terms. Lukashenko can still “save face” by claiming that he restored his country’s “brotherhood” with Russia, though that would only be half-true since no true “brotherhood” would exist (or ever has) since what’s really in force is a “fraternal hierarchy”. In any case, Lukashenko seems to have finally learned his lesson about “balancing”, but it’ll remain to be seen whether he learned it too late.

Belarus: Why Is Lukshenko Being Color Revolutioned Just Now?

By F. William Engdahl

Global Research, August 21, 2020

The globalist Powers That Be have clearly decided to topple the long-standing sole-ruler of Belarus, President Aleksander Lukashenko. The question is why at just this time? There is a case to be made that one reason is he is being destroyed for his unforgivable coronavirus defiance. In any case Belarus is being hit with a full force West-led Color Revolution. The protests over the August 9 election show every sign of the usual Color Revolution destabilization protests, manufactured by the usual Western NGOs, as well as private contractors using social media to steer the protests.

Under Lukashenko’s regime, the country defied WHO and the global coronavirus lockdown demands. He refused to order lockdown of his citizens or the economy. As of August 13 the country had recorded a total of 617 covid19 related deaths. Belarus stood together with Sweden and the US State of South Dakota as one of the very few places in the world to successfully disprove the bizarre and dangerous WHO demands for a global lockdown to control the pandemic. Belarus ordered no lockdown so most industry continued. Schools remained open other than a 3 week closing during Easter. There were no mask requirements, though volunteer groups distributed masks to some and in June the EU sent a shipment of PPE including masks to Health officials for distribution. Football and the May 9 Victory parade went as normal. And now the country stands as an example the WHO and friends do not want.

One very important point is that the Health Ministry ignored the very flawed WHO recommendations on loosely classifying deaths as Covid19 when only a “suspicion” is there. The basis for the Belarus pathologists to state the cause of death from coronavirus is the presence of a patho-morphological picture with laboratory confirmation of Covid-19.i

This all did not sit well with the globalist Powers That Be. The manifestly corrupt WHO, whose main private donor is the Gates Foundation, criticized Lukashenko’s government for lack of quarantine and in June, when announcing it would grant Belarus a $940 million loan, the IMF said it was conditional on the country imposing quarantine, isolation and closed borders, demands Lukashenko rejected as “nonsense.” He noted in a widely-quoted statement, “the IMF continues to demand from us quarantine measures, isolation, a curfew. This is nonsense. We will not dance to anyone’s tune.”

Color Revolution Begins

Clearly NATO and the Western globalist circles have been working on toppling Lukashenko well before the covid19 events. That coronavirus defiance may only have helped galvanize events. The West and its “democracy” NGOs have long had Lukashenko in their targets. During the Bush Administration in 2008 US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice denounced Lukashenko as Europe’s “last dictator.” After that, Russia created the Eurasian Economic Union along with Kazakhstan and Belarus as members. Until now Lukashenko has refused Putin’s proposal to merge with Russia in one large Union State. That may soon change.

The protests broke out in Belarus after elections on August 9 gave Lukashenko some 80% of the vote against his last-minute opposition candidate, the ‘western’ candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Those protests are being run using the same model that the CIA and its various “democracy” NGOs, led by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) developed in Serbia, Ukraine, Russia and numerous other states whose leaders refused to bow to the globalist dictates. A co-founder of the NED, Allen Weinstein, declared in the Washington Post in 1991, “A lot of what we do today was done covertly 25 years ago by the CIA.” The NED gets its financing from the US government, but poses around the world as a “private” democracy-promoting NGO, where it was instrumental in most every Washington-backed regime change destabilizations since the collapse of the Soviet Union in the early 1990s.

In 2019, the NED listed on its website some 34 NED project grants in Belarus. All of them were directed to nurture and train an anti-Lukashenko series of opposition groups and domestic NGOs. The grants went for such projects as, “NGO Strengthening: To increase local and regional civic engagement… to identify local problems and develop advocacy strategies.” Another was to “expand an online depository of publications not readily accessible in the country, including works on politics, civil society, history, human rights, and independent culture.” Then another NED grant went, “To defend and support independent journalists and media.” And another, “NGO Strengthening: To foster youth civic engagement.” Another large NED grant went to, “training democratic parties and movements in effective advocacy campaigns.”ii Behind the innocent-sounding NED projects is a pattern of creating a specially-trained opposition on the lines of the CIA’s NED model.

Belarus Kicks Off Large-scale Military Drills Near Poland, Lithuania

The Murky Nexta

A key role in coordinating the “spontaneous” protests was played by a Warsaw-based texting and video channel called “Nexta,” based on the Telegram messaging app. Nexta, which is Belarusian for “somebody,” is nominally headed by a 22-year old Belarus exile based in Poland named Stepan Putila. With the Belarus Internet shut by the government since days, Nexta, operating from Poland, has posted numerous citizen videos of protest and police crackdown and claims now to have 2 million followers. It quickly became the heart of the Color Revolution once Belarus shut its Internet access.

Stepan Putila is also known under the moniker Stepan Svetlov. Putila previously worked for the Warsaw-based Belsat channel which broadcasts propaganda into Belarus and is funded by the Polish Foreign Ministry and USAID. The co-founder and Editor in Chief at Nexta since March, 2020 is a Belarus exile named Roman Protasevich who used to work for the US Government’s propaganda media, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty. Protasevich also worked for the Polish-based Euroradio which is partly funded by USAID. He was active in the CIA’s 2013-14 Maidan Square demonstrations in Kiev and according to his Facebook likes is close to Ukrainian neo-nazi Pahonia Detachment. In April 2018, Protasevich ends up at the US State Department in Washington, a notable contact. On his Facebook then he noted, “The most important week in my life begins.” The same day he posted a picture of himself inside the US State Department, stating “Never had so many important and interesting encounters in my life.”iii After he left Washington he went to work for the USAID-funded radio in Belarus Euroradio.fm on August 31, 2018. Two years later Protasevich is coordinating the anti-Lukashenko events from Warsaw via Nexta. Coincidence?

Nexta which uses the London-registered Telegram, and is in NATO-member Poland, outside the country, so far has eluded shutdown. Nexta has been sending out, via social media, such information as plans for protests, at what time and where to gather for a rally, when to start a strike, where police are assembled and so on. Nexta has also circulated texts of protesters’ demands, updates about arrests, locations of arrests by riot police, and contacts for lawyers and human rights defenders as well as maps showing where police are located and addresses for protesters to hide in.

It has also advised subscribers how to bypass internet blocking by using proxies and other means. As Maxim Edwards, a pro-opposition British journalist at Global Voices, describes Nexta, “It is clear that the channel does not merely report on the protests, but has played a substantial role in organising them.”iv

No doubt such coordination from abroad would not be possible unless Nexta had some very sophisticated assistance from certain intelligence services. Nexta claims it depends on “donations” and ads for funding, but claims to get no “grants” from governments or foundations. Whether true or not, it is an answer that gives little clarity. Is USAID one of their “donors” or the Open Society Foundations? The relevant point is that Nexta uses cyber technology that Belarus is not able to shut down. In 2018 the Russian governments unsuccessfully tried to ban Telegram for refusing to reveal their source codes.

Global Stakes

The opposition political candidates to Lukashenko is also surprisingly clever in tactics, suggesting they are being guided by professionals. Svetlana Tikhanovskaya the alleged “political novice” who stepped in when her husband was arrested and forbidden to run, claims she won the election based on exit pollers. On August 14 Tikhanovskaya announced that she was forming a “coordination council” to secure a peaceful transfer of power. It echoed the earlier call by another opposition candidate, Valery Tsepkalo, a former Belarus Ambassador to Washington who, like Tikhanovskaya’s husband Sergei Tikhanovsky, was barred from running for president. Tsepkalo called it a “national salvation front.”

Though Belarus is a small country of less than 10 million, the stakes of this destabilization effort of the West are enormous. In 2014 the Obama CIA head John Brennan led a US-backed coup d’etat in Ukraine to prevent Ukraine joining Russia’s economic union. That coup has not given Ukraine anything positive. Instead it has resulted in rule but by other corrupt oligarchs, but friendly with Washington, especially under Obama.

The NED tried in 2018 to destabilize Armenia, another part of the Russian Eurasian Economic Union. Were they now to break off Belarus, the military and political consequences for Russia could be severe. Whether or not the Lukashenko defiance of the WHO coronavirus dictates had a role in the timing of the ongoing Minsk Color Revolution attempt, clearly some powers that be in the West, including the EU and Washington would love to collapse Belarus as they did in Ukraine six years ago. If they succeed we can be sure they will be emboldened to try Russia after.

*

Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on the author’s blog site, williamengdahl.com.

F. William Engdahl is strategic risk consultant and lecturer, he holds a degree in politics from Princeton University and is a best-selling author on oil and geopolitics. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization. 

Notes

Natalya Grigoryeva, How Belarus Ignored the WHO and Beat Coronavirus, FRN, June 21, 2020, https://fort-russ.com/2020/06/covid-19-psychosis-defeated-how-belarus-ignored-the-who-and-beat-coronavirus/

NED, Belarus 2019, https://www.ned.org/region/central-and-eastern-europe/belarus-2019/

Anonymous, Roman Protasevich, August 17, 2020, https://www.foiaresearch.net/person/roman-protasevich

Maxim Edwards, How one Telegram channel became central to Belarus protests, August 19, 2020, https://radioeonline.com/2020/08/19/how-one-telegram-channel-became-central-to-belarus-protests/

Featured image:  Protest rally against Lukashenko, 16 August. Minsk, Belarus License: The Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license Under Some Conditions https://bit.ly/325WwSw


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This skilfully researched book focuses on how a small socio-political American elite seeks to establish control over the very basis of human survival: the provision of our daily bread. “Control the food and you control the people.”

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The author cogently reveals a diabolical world of profit-driven political intrigue, government corruption and coercion, where genetic manipulation and the patenting of life forms are used to gain worldwide control over food production. If the book often reads as a crime story, that should come as no surprise. For that is what it is.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © F. William Engdahl, Global Research, 2020

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight

Two clicks to midnight[1]

by Ken Leslie for The Saker Blog

While I was absent from this esteemed blog focusing on other things, an extremely dangerous situation started to develop and I found myself reaching for the keyboard again. If some of my previous writings were a bit alarmist, the tone was motivated by a genuine angst before an unfeeling and unstoppable machine of conquest and destruction the likes of which the world had never seen. And angst it is—anybody with an ounce of common sense can see that the World is hurtling towards some kind of catastrophe. Whether this occurs in a year or five is less relevant. The point is that we are witnessing a process of rapid implosion of the current global system and are not able to see what will replace it. There is no compelling vision of the future—a universal vessel of hope that would transport us across the turbulent waters of fundamental change. This time I am not anxious but resigned. Resignation does not imply learned helplessness—unlike most people around me I am grateful for the ability to be aware of the danger and to articulate what I see as the truth without fear or self-censorship.

Oh, and if the post sounds like a rant, that’s because it is one.

Some academics (ideologues?) such as Steven Pinker have argued that things are much better than they were a 100 years ago—at least in terms of deaths caused by wars and other hard indicators of well-being. Although it pains me to say that Pinker could be correct, this essay is not about “progress” but about the approach of the ultimate regress—the unavoidable and ultimately catastrophic clash between the “West” and the “East”. A couple of months ago I was writing about the danger of NATO hordes closing in on Moscow from the Ukraine, Poland and the Baltics only to realize that unless a miracle happens, in a few months, Russia will be completely surrounded by enemies. The only exceptions—Norway at the extreme North and Azerbaijan at the extreme South are less relevant at the moment but as we have seen recently, these countries too are being subjected to accelerated weaponization—just yesterday, a Russian diplomat was detained in Norway and Azerbaijan is involved in a tense standoff with a (supposed) ally of Russia.

The fracturing and occupation of the post-Soviet space that began in 1991 is almost complete. More or less willingly, the former Warsaw pact and buffer states of Eastern Europe joined the criminal alliance that is NATO and over the last 30 years gradually prepared for the coming war against Russia. When did it all begin? The blueprint for the current mechanism was established by the Nazi Germany which narrowed the distance between itself and the Soviet Union over a few years. Moreover, the political mechanism behind the new Drang (the European Union) was designed in 1944 by Hitler’s economic experts (and put into practice by the founder of the CIA, William Donovan). It should be noted that on his way to the USSR, Hitler had to “pacify” a few countries including Poland, France, Yugoslavia and Greece. This time around, the whole West is united in its enmity towards Russia (economic links notwithstanding) and ALL European countries with the exception of Serbia and Byelorussia have placed themselves willingly in the anti-Russian camp. This is not to say that the majority of people in those countries hate Russia (in many they do) but that the governing cliques and military juntas inside various NATO satrapies are ready to contribute to the “joint effort to bring freedom and democracy” to the “benighted Rus”.

Of these two pariahs, the Serbs, despite their love of Russia are doomed by geography and by the privilege of being the only nation to have a piece of their country (Kosovo and Metohija) taken away, of being bombed by the combined forces of the West for 78 days and having a quarter of a million of their number cruelly expelled from their homeland in Srpska Krajina (currently occupied by Croatia). Exhausted and surrounded by enemies, the Serbs can do little to stop the clock ticking towards the Armageddon. This leaves Byelorussia, the only post-Soviet country that has not flirted with overt Russophobia and whose president showed many signs of real independence of mind vis-à-vis the West. Alexander Lukashenko’s personal bravery is not in question. In the midst of the NATO bombing in 1999, he visited Belgrade and declared himself openly pro-Serb. He signed the accession to the Union State between his country and Russia that same year.[2] He was somebody who wanted to preserve the positive legacy of the Soviet Union and his unwillingness to toe the EU line (pro-German “democracy” at home and anti-Russian posture abroad) earned him the sobriquet of the “last European dictator”.

But then, things started to go wrong, especially after the Nazi takeover of the Ukraine in 2014. Lukashenko might have started to feel isolated and between Western pressure and ossification of his quasi-socialist system (nothing wrong with it in principle), he began to turn against his only genuine ally—Russia. The reasons for this U turn are complex but at this moment also irrelevant. Whatever the cause of the cooling of the relations between Russia and Byelorussia, the consequences are dire and are fast becoming catastrophic. To understand the gravity of the situation, we should be able to see the “Gestalt”—the whole of the current geopolitical situation and its trends. That a global conflict between the West and the East is in the offing there is no doubt. Not only has Russia been targeted since the mid-1990s, but the total war on China and Iran declared by Trump and his Jesuitical agents provocateurs confirms absolutely that we are facing something unprecedented. I need to remind the reader that nothing like this was even remotely possible only 30 years ago. The brazenness and sheer bloodthirst of the new Operation Barbarossa with its global ambitions dwarfs any conquests known to history. What boggles the mind is how successful it has been.

No bromides about how strong Russia is, how well it’s coping (I repeat—coping) with the cruel sanctions by the West will suffice this time. No empty hope that somehow the miserable quisling statelets from the Balkans to the Baltics will experience a Zen-like enlightenment and disobey their Western masters. No false hope that the push towards Russia’s borders can somehow be reversed and no end in sight to the total war waged by the combined “West” (a dire temporary reconciliation of a resurgent Roman Catholicism, neutered Protestantism and newly respectable Zionism). From this point on, there is no going back. The distance between Moscow and the closest point in the Ukraine is 440 km (as crow flies). In the case of Byelorussia, it is 410 km. Although symbolic, this advance would be hugely important for the would-be conquerors as it is for Russia. Starting with Orsha in Byelorussia, the path to Moscow leads through Smolensk, Vyazma and Mozhaysk—towns that experienced so much suffering in WWII because they were on the road to Moscow. But what about the suffering of Byelorussia? It was probably the worst-suffering Soviet republic with an unknown number of people killed or sent of to Germany as slave labour and uncountable number of villages and towns destroyed.

None of this matters in the upside-down Western world view in which black is white and white is black. It is a world in which the close descendants of the worst war criminals in history are now the unofficial rulers of Europe together with their Gallic poodles and Anglo-Saxon frenemies, while the nation which bore the brunt of the cruellest genocide ever is being attacked by those same criminals again—as if two Vernichtungskriege in 30 years weren’t enough.

Many will point out that we are already at war and this would be true. The threat of a nuclear conflict has prompted Western strategists to think of alternative ways of destroying their opponents. We are talking about a broad-spectrum effort which includes political, economic, intelligence, cultural, psychological, religious and military components. By weaving these different strands into a single coordinated strategy, the West is hoping (and succeeding) in getting closer to Moscow every day without igniting a global nuclear war. This time however, it is different. Not only has the West crossed Russia’s geopolitical red lines, it has given notice that it will stop at nothing until Russia is defeated and destroyed. They are skilfully neutralising Russia’s nuclear deterrent by inflicting a thousand cuts from all sides without suffering any harm themselves. Two days ago, a Russian major general was killed by America’s proxies in Syria while delivering food to the people of Idlib. Today, Alexey Navalny is in a coma after an alleged poisoning attempt. The quickening is palpable but no event demonstrates the current danger better than the attempted colour revolution in Byelorussia which is unfolding as we speak.

The genius of the Western destruction-mongers lies not in their ingenuity and creativity but in their understanding of the lower reaches of human nature (in this respect they have no peer). They know how to exploit weaknesses such as greed, envy and ego and especially people’s susceptibility to vices. Moreover, these agents of darkness know that most people are frightened, helpless, largely ignorant and easily swayed and distracted. With this knowledge and an inexhaustible source of money, the West has settled on a winning scheme of “peaceful” conquest which has brought it all the way from the Atlantic coast to the gates of Moscow after 30 years of colour revolutions, coups and open war. I need to stress the importance and success of this “boiling frog” strategy.[3] There is nothing new or surprising in their latest move on Lukashenko—the same combination of underground CIA-funded networks from Poland, Ukraine and the Baltics and incompetent opposition which is transformed into a “plausible democratic alternative” overnight. Nazi-linked symbols, Russophobic vultures such as the buzzard-faced Bernard Henri-Levi circling above the scene, invented ancient roots… It’s all there.

But that is not why I’m writing. Throughout my years as a keen observer of the latest (and last) Drang, I have been fascinated by the patterns of behaviour (on a geopolitical level) which seem to come straight out of a history book to describe the period circa 1940. While the Western juggernaut hurtles through space, the decorum of “partnership” is maintained to the very last moment. Even though a few lonely voices are screaming that the war is inevitable and that Russia must neutralise any further advances by the new Nazis, most people are distracted by COVID, Joe Biden’s dementia and other nonsense. This could be cowardice but could also be wisdom in the face of an inevitable tragedy.

Even the tone of the Russian diplomacy is slowly changing—as it did in the autumn of 1940 following the cooling of German-Soviet relations. The ever measured and moderate Sergei Lavrov (like Vyacheslav Molotov before him) has started describing the international situation in more realistic terms using noticeably harsher language. Nevertheless, unless Russia does something very quickly, it will find itself completely surrounded and unable to defend itself as it did in 1941—hypersonic weapons notwithstanding.

However, the most fascinating aspect of this latest escalation is the fact that another colour revolution could be attempted at all and that Russia is still unable to assert itself in its neighbourhood, if only in order to save itself. “Unable” is perhaps too strong a word. What I mean is that unlike the West which is achieving its geopolitical goals without shedding blood and even without suffering any significant economic damage (no, Russian countersanctions have not crippled Germany or France), the Russians know that any attempts to stop and reverse the Western push will cost them dearly—primarily in terms of further isolation from all Western countries (already, Russian diplomats are being detained and expelled throughout the EU, as if in anticipation of the Byelorussian endgame). [4]The Western planners know that Russia can survive on its own but they also know that it can’t survive for long if deprived of the oxygen of international exchange—the feeling that it belongs to the family of European nations. No Eurasian ideology can ever replace the esteem in which Europe has been held by Russian intellectuals. While I see this pronounced inferiority complex as Russia’s curse, I have to acknowledge it in order to explain president Putin’s attempts to get various EU countries on his side.

It is not so much about economy but about Russia’s eternal yearning to prove itself worthy of “European standards” despite the fact that it was Europe that has been attacking Russia relentlessly and is guilty of crippling it possibly beyond healing. Hope springs eternal. And yet, president Putin must be aware of the dirty double-dealing game the EU is playing (I am giving the villain du jour a miss this time) by leaning on the United States to re-establish its hegemony over the Eurasian, African and Middle-Eastern space while lecturing Putin and Lukashenko on the merits of democracy. There is something deeply hypocritical—not to say Jesuitical—about EUs posture. It is doing everything in its power to isolate and weaken Russia while offering carrots such as Nord stream 2. This is much more pernicious than the open enmity of Trump and his crude supremacism because it offers the deeply unpleasant EU block an opportunity to play a good cop towards Russia at no cost to itself. Compared with the US’s Berserker-like attack on anything and everything, the EU appears “reasonable” and ready for a compromise by comparison—but this is only a dangerous illusion.

While the EU is wholeheartedly supporting the new Maidan (relying on the nazified pockets in the West of Byelorussia and the usual pro-Western suspects), it has the temerity to issue warnings to Putin not to “meddle” and to Lukashenko not to “oppress”. This coming from a president who has been perpetrating mass violence on the peaceful demonstrators in the centre of Paris for over a year. Even worse, Angela Merkel who is initiating a more muscular foreign policy under the guidance of expansionist hawks who are champing at the bit to replace her (Annegret whatever and Ursula I don’t care) dares lecture Russia on interfering in other countries’ affairs—after her illustrious predecessors. the CDU crypto-Nazis Kohl, Kinkel and Genscher destroyed Yugoslavia (only for Russian top partnyor Gerhardt Schröder to finish the job by sending German bombers, spies and military trainers to Serbia in 1999). And yet, all Russia can do is appeal meekly to the EU in the hope that the Ukrainian scenario will not recur. Promises of military help given to Lukashenko are almost worthless in the light of the cumulative EUs response—which would be nothing short of traumatic. The proof of this is the complete support by Germany for the Ukrainian regime notwithstanding its dirty role in overthrowing Yanukovich and undermining the Minsk accords.

So, what am I trying to say? The moment of reckoning has arrived. Despite the heroic battle by President Putin and his comrades to buy time and delay the inevitable, the time for procrastination and appeasement has passed. Russia must choose between a difficult but sustainable future and no future at all. The Western offensive has destroyed all buffers between Russia and its enemies and although this might not mean much militarily, it has a vast symbolic value.[5] If Byelorussia goes, Russia remains geopolitically isolated like never before. Furthermore, its enemies, far from collapsing as many have been predicting, are strong and more united than ever despite various internecine squabbles.[6] This is not to say that Russia is at the death’s door. On the contrary, it is precisely because it is so resilient and forward-looking that its enemies are compelled to ramp up the pressure.

Even if Lukashenko survives the current jeopardy, he will cease to be a relevant political factor in years to come. The weakening of his rule (however clumsy and obsolescent) can mean only one thing—the infiltration of the Byelorussian political life by various pro-Western agents of influence who will find it easy to corrupt and disrupt by dipping into NED’s and USAID’s seemingly inexhaustible coffers. The moment Russia intervenes in the affairs of Minsk in any detectable way, it will be subjected to a barrage of hatred, military threats and punitive measures that have not been seen before. President Putin has an unenviable choice—act sub rosa (like he has been doing in the Donbass) and watch Byelorussia slowly descend into an orgy of anti-Russian madness or intervene openly and risk alienating the EU further, at a time when the fate of the lifeline pipeline crucially depends on EUs goodwill and willingness to antagonise Trump (a perfect good cop, bad cop scenario played by the USA and EU).

All of this is clear to president Putin and his cabinet and I have no doubt that they are burning midnight oil trying to think of the best ways to counter the Western aggression. Yet, history still holds valuable lessons. Stung by what he saw as the betrayal by the British and the French, Joseph Stalin signed a non-aggression treaty with Hitler in order to delay the inevitable. The period of collaboration involved the USSR shipping oil to Germany, oil which would later power German tanks on the road to Stalingrad. Although he did buy enough time to execute some important war preparations, Stalin waited far too long. Months after having received reports of German reconnaissance planes overflying Byelorussia and Ukraine, Stalin refused to believe that Hitler would betray him and ascribed the “anti-German” panic to the agents of Winston Churchill. Yet, this time he was horribly wrong and his error cost the USSR millions of lives and billions in damage. None of the subsequent amazing victories of the Soviet arms would quite wash away the bitter taste of Stalin’s epic blunder of 1941.

The historical lesson I was alluding to is simple yet devilishly hard to implement because it is “two-tailed”. In other words, the possibility of a deadly miscalculation stretches equally in both temporal directions away from the point that represents a timely decision. In other words, given the huge stakes that are involved, making a correct decision is well-nigh impossible. And although the choice can be defended post-hoc, especially if it results in a victory, we can never know if a better decision could not have been made. Like Stalin, Putin is facing the Scylla and Charybdis of time, only I would argue that he is facing an even more difficult decision. For all its weaknesses, the Soviet Union was much larger than its successor state and possessed by far the largest armed forces in the world (to say nothing about the reserves of raw materials and workforce). The factor that probably decided its fate was a relative weakness of the fifth column inside the country and the ability of the security services to neutralise pro-German networks operating inside the country. President Putin has entered the twilight zone in which the smallest mistake can cost him everything. I don’t envy him but pray for his wisdom and Russia’s preparedness.

Of course, circumstances have changed dramatically and today’s warfare bears scant resemblance to the mass movement of army fronts across thousands of kilometres of chernozem and steppe. These days, the crude manoeuvring of armoured columns has been replaced by silent software attacks on a state’s currency system and infrastructure, covert takeovers and sabotage of its assets, denial of open and free intercourse with other countries, replacement of the indigenous values and goals by the foreign dogma and suborning of its institutions to will of the Empire. This new form of warfare requires sophistication and intercontinental co-ordination. Occasionally, we are made aware of the bloopers of the Western intelligence services and their silly attempts to blame Russia for all their ills, but make no mistake! The cumulative effect of their misdeeds has been a complete homogenisation of the European space along the Russophobic lines prescribed by the behind-the-scene bosses. Let me put it this way: If tomorrow the USA and the EU were to declare a war on Russia, do you believe that any of the Slav vassals would openly defy the clarion call? Again, let me give you a couple of examples from history.

When NATO bombed Serbia, not a single country refused to participate in this egregious war crime and the honour of defying the black criminal cabal of Brussels belongs to a few heroic soldiers from Greece, Spain and France. With Iraq it was different in that Germany and France did not feel sufficiently incentivised to participate in what they saw as a neocon-inspired Anglo-Saxon adventure (for which they have been lauded no end). To pre-empt the possibility of future betrayal by its vassals, the US has shifted to a new strategy which seeks to weaken Russia (or China) without having to mobilise military “coalitions of the willing”. The war is being fought in small, almost invisible increments which do not require absolute allegiance to the cause and payment in blood.

The new army consists of spies, computer and finance specialists, thinktank ideologues, NGO “activists”, “security experts” and other assorted ghouls whose victories are not measured in square kilometres of conquered territory or body counts but in fractions of a percent of damage caused to the currency, prestige or freedom of action of the enemy. This leaves a lot of space for “plausible deniability” and the maintenance of the “business as usual” posture while the deadly blows are administered below the waterline. It also bamboozles the ordinary people into thinking that the war could never happen. It can and it will.

Another consequence will be accelerated squeezing and neutralisation of the semi-impotent Serbia and the final Gleichschaltung of the Eastern wing of NATO in preparation for a more muscular phase of the war. This will involve transferring more troops and missiles to the East (but always under the retaliation threshold), closing down of Russia’s embassies and consulates in Europe while pretending to oppose the United States, closing down financing channels and media outlets, making life miserable for Russian citizens and businessmen abroad plus hundreds more nasty tricks. In many ways, the strategy of sustained pressure is more dangerous than open conflict because it sucks out hope from the people of the affected country—the hope that they will be treated as equals by the “cultured” West. A similar tactic has been used against China but China is in a much better economic position to withstand such pressures.

The fall of Lukashenko and “old Byelorussia” can mean only one thing—an intensified total war which Russia will have to face totally isolated. If Russia’s last real ally (yes, that’s what he is) can be removed with such ease, Russia cannot hope to attract and keep long-term allies and neutral partners. This is only partly Russia’s fault. The power aligned against it is unprecedented in history and I am praying that Russia will be able to overcome the forces of evil again.

One piece of good news though—the dissolute Jesuitical warmonger Bannon has been arrested for fraud—finally showing the Chinese the fruits of a “Christian” education.

Notes:

  1. The illustration has been borrowed from the irreplaceable Colonel Cassad (Boris Rozhin) whose blog most of us visit regularly. The link is: https://colonelcassad.livejournal.com/6110832.html 
  2. Generally, I agree with the Saker that Byelorussia should not exist as an independent state. Nor should the Ukraine for that matter, apart from the Uniate appendage of Galicia. 
  3. From Wikipedia: “The boiling frog is a fable describing a frog being slowly boiled alive. The premise is that if a frog is put suddenly into boiling water, it will jump out, but if the frog is put in tepid water which is then brought to a boil slowly, it will not perceive the danger and will be cooked to death. The story is often used as a metaphor for the inability or unwillingness of people to react to or be aware of sinister threats that arise gradually rather than suddenly.” 
  4. A recent episode has infuriated me no end. After helping Italy to stem the spread of COVID in a gesture of friendship and good will, the Russian air force has had to chase an Italian military aeroplane that was approaching the Russian Black Sea coast. Even if this was an attempt by the Americans to poison the relations between the two nations, it is inexcusable and leaves another stain of dishonour on the standard of the much abused battle standard of Italy. 
  5. Actually, it does mean a lot militarily because it allows for all kinds of fast aggressive moves for which Russia cannot find timely countermeasures. In today’s world of nanosecond processing, 10 km is a huge distance. 
  6. If you think that Brexit and Greek-Turkish tensions prove me wrong, remember that modern European history was a never-ending saga of bloody and destructive wars. 

Will Belarus become the next Banderastan?

THE SAKER • AUGUST 19, 2020

The situation in Belarus is evolving very rapidly, and not for the better, to say the least. A lot has been going on, but here is a summary of what are the most crucial developments in my opinion:

  • Last Sunday was a major success for the Belarusian opposition: huge crowds took to the streets of several Belarusian cities and, in most cases, the demonstrations were peaceful.
  • Belarus now has its own “Juan Guaido” in the person of Svetlana Tikhanovskaia – whose only “qualification” to lead the opposition is that is that her husband is in jail. Tikhanovskaia has already declared herself the “national leader” of Belarus.
  • The Belarusian opposition formed a coordinating committee which is staffed by well-known and long-time rabid russophobes.
  • The program of the opposition (they call it “Reanimation package of reforms for Belarus”) is simple: new “fair” elections followed by the following goals: Belarus must withdrawn from all the collective agreements she has with Russia (including the union state, the SCO, etc.). Instead, the national goal ought to be, what else, to join NATO and the EU. All the Russian military forces in Belarus must be expelled. The Belarusian language must be reimposed, Ukie-style, on the Belarusian society (including, apparently, the military – good luck with that!). Russian organizations will be banned in Belarus, and Russian TV channels forbidden. The border with Russia must be closed. Next, a new, independent “Belarusian Orthodox Church” must be created. Finally, the Belarusian economy will “reformed” – meaning that whatever can be sold will be sold, then the country will be deindustrialized (like the Ukraine or the Baltic states).
  • At this point, it is pretty clear that the Western-controlled “opposition” has successfully taken over the control of the events from the very REAL local popular opposition. This mechanism (the hijacking of a truly popular and legitimate opposition by western controlled agents of influence) is exactly what happened in the Ukraine, in Syria and in many other places (I would eve argue that this is what is happening to the US right now). Some Belarusian ambassadors (Slovakia, Switzerland, Sweden) have now sided with the opposition just like what happened with Venezuela, Syria and other countries.

To be honest, there are more similarities between the recent events in Venezuela and what is now taking place in Belarus, it’s not just Tikhanovskaia as the Belarusian Guaido. For example, Lukashenko made at least as many, if not more, crucial mistakes than Maduro and now there is hell to pay for it.

Let’s look at Lukashenko’s actions:

  • Now Lukashenko is fuming against the West again, to the degree that he actually moved the most capable Belarusian military unit (the 103rd Special Mobile Guards Airborne Brigade from Vitebsk) to the western border, and the rest of the military forces have been put on high alert. Lukashenko explained that by saying that there is a real risk of western military intervention (which is utter nonsense, NATO does not have what it takes to attack Russia, which is present in Belarus, and survive).
  • Lukashenko and at least two of his ministers did go out to talk to the protesters, which is a courageous act which should not be overlooked (as in: Lukashenko, for all his very real faults, is no Ianukovich, and neither are many of his ministers). The meetings did not go well, especially for the two ministers who both clearly lack the undeniable personal charisma of Lukashenko.
  • Lukashenko has also publicly admitted that he has to engage Belarusian special forces against some demonstrations. He gave no further details, but that admission is interesting as it shows two things: a) since special forces had to be used, it means that other police forces were either unable or unwilling to control the situation and b) elite Belarusian forces are still backing Lukashenko
  • Lukashenko has also called Putin several times and he is now declaring that the current threat is not only a threat to Belarus, but also a threat to Russia. Clearly, Lukashenko is begging for Russian help.
  • Lukashenko has publicly declared “unless you remove me there will be no other elections” adding that the opposition would have to kill him before it will get to destroy Belarus (again – the dude is no Ianukovich).

Now let’s also note what Lukashenko has NOT done:

  • He has not fired his ministers of foreign affairs and the head of the Belarusian KGB (according to a pro opposition Telegram channel the Minister of Foreign Affairs did resign, but Lukashenko has rejected his resignation; this is one of the many rumors about Belarus inundating Telegram right now)
  • He has NOT declared that his so-called “multi-vector policy” (i.e. courting the West) was a mistake or that it has now been changed or abandoned. Clearly, and in spite of the overwhelming evidence to the contrary, Lukashenko still hopes that he can somehow sit between the two chairs of submission to the Empire or reunification with Russia.
  • He has not apologized to Putin and/or Russia for all the false accusations he was hurling at them just a few days ago.
  • Paradoxically, following the numerous cases of wanton violence which the Belarusian cops used initially, now the streets are almost entirely free from any police forces. On one hand this is good, the violence used initially did A LOT of damage to the government and it got people very angry. Furthermore, the amount of violence by the opposition did dramatically decrease too, which is also good. But the problem is that there are now very clearly special organized groups, not necessarily formed by locals, who are now trying to seize power illegally and by violence. It is vital that the Belarusian KGB now locate and arrest these people. My fear is that the Belarusian KGB has been infiltrated by pro-western elements who will be hard to neutralize.

Now let’s look at what the “collective West” has done:

  • The West has clearly taken a consolidated, common, position towards this crisis. The West does not recognize the outcome of the elections and the West has now thrown its full weight behind the so-called “opposition”.
  • Western leaders have called Putin, apparently to demand that Russia not intervene in Belarus. Putin apparently told them that what is taking place is Belarus is none of their business, thank you.
  • It is now clear that the West will accept nothing short of what we could call a “Ukronazi outcome” and that the Empire will use all its resources short of military action to try to seize control of Belarus.

Next, let’s look at what Belarus’ neighbors are doing:

  • Very predictably, the Poles are clearly thinking that they will restore something which is know by the evocative (to some..) concept of “Rzeczpospolita” in Polish and which roughly translates as “Polish Commonwealth” (see here for a quick primer). In this context, it is very important to understand that modern Poland is an ideological heir to the infamous Józef Piłsudski (here for details). This means that Poland’s ultimate goal is to break up Russia, restore the Polish Commonwealth, and become a willing prostitute to the western power, especially the US (it is just as easy for the current Polish pseudo-patriots to prostitute their nation to the US as it was for Piłsudski to prostitute himself before Hitler). If some of you bump into the concepts of “Prometheism” or “Intermarium” then click on these words for more details. It is hardly surprising that the nation Winston Churchill called the “the hyena of Europe” would pounce on Belarus: the Poles always, always, attack when either they think that a) there is some big guy behind them and b) that their victim is weak. I fully expect the Pope to publicly “pray for peace in Belarus” and express his “distress” at the violence. Truly – this has been the same gang for almost 1000 years (see here and here) and they are still at it. There is really nothing new under the sun…
  • The clueless Balts also want to join the Rzeczpospolita for a very simple reasons: they are terrified that the West will eventually dump them and they know that by themselves they will never achieve anything. So as much as the Poles like to hide behind the US, the Balts like to hide behind Poland. Finally, these countries probably realize that even Belarus alone could prevail militarily over them, nevermind Russia, so they figure that united and protected by Uncle Shmuel they will seize Russia like they seized the Ukraine and finally (!) become the (collective?) “Prometheus” they think they are, but which history never allowed them to become.
  • As for the EU gerontocrats, they are just doing what they know how to do: try to impersonate some kind of (moral?) “authority” which gets to decide which elections are fair, which are not, which regimes get to beat up demonstrators (Macron anybody?) and which ones must immediately yield to the demands of a carefully controlled “opposition”. It is especially touching to see Merkel who clearly does not realize the utter contempt the Russians feel for her and for what she stands for.

Lastly, let’s look at what Putin and other Russians are saying:

  • Putin and Xi have both recognized the outcome of the elections. Frankly, I don’t know of any halfway serious source which would dispute the fact that Lukashenko beat Tikhanovskaia by a wide margin. Yes, I also seriously doubt the frankly silly 80% vs 10% figures, but I doubt those who say that Lukashenko lost even more. Neither Putin nor Xi will “unrecongnize” these elections. Which means that neither Putin nor Xi will ever accept the western narrative about what happened or what is happening now.
  • Putin’s reaction to Lukashenko’s phone calls appears to be a special kind of “restrained goodwill” or “polite benevolence”. Clearly, nobody in Russia has forgotten what just happened and I notice a very clear trend on Russian talkshows, news reports and articles: while most Russians sincerely see Belarusians as fellow Russian brothers, the level of frustration and even disgust with Lukashenko is hard not to notice, and it is only growing. Even very pro-Kremlin commentators are losing their cool with what Lukashenko is doing (they are no less angry at what Lukashenko is not doing), I think of Igor Korotchenko, the head of the Public Council under the Ministry of defense of the Russian Federation, a typical Kremlin-insider, who has now declared that the Belarusian Foreign Minister is a “foreign agent of influence” (which I don’t doubt) and that Russia ought to demand that he be fired. I can only agree with him.
  • Crucially, in the official summary transcript of the telephone conversation between Lukashenko and Putin the latter repeated that the integration between Russia and Belarus must continue. Here is how the Kremlin put it: “The Russian side reaffirmed its readiness to render the necessary assistance to resolve the challenges facing Belarus based on the principles of the Treaty on the Creation of a Union State, as well as through the Collective Security Treaty Organization, if necessary“. In other words, Putin is laying down the legal framework under which Russia might intervene in some manner, especially if such an intervention is officially requested by Minsk.

Now let’s summarize what is really taking place, I will also do that in the form of a bullet-point list:

  • There is no doubt that many Belarusians are fed up with Lukashenko
  • There is no doubt that many Belarusians still support Lukashenko (if only as a guarantor against a Ukraine-like collapse).
  • There is no doubt that the legitimate Belarusian opposition was quickly and effortlessly co-opted by western and, let’s call them “Promethean”, special services.
  • Lukashenko was so sure of himself, that he never bothered to really campaign, to talk and plead with his own people. He entered this election cocky sure of himself, only to find out that what is immediate entourage of yes-man (they stand when they report to him) either was lying or was clueless.
  • Next, it is also clear that Lukashenko was sure that between his KGB and the Belarusian riot police, he could easily clear the streets. And while this seemed to work for 24 hours, the last couple of days are proof that the regime has lost control of the streets and/or is clueless as to what to do next. Furthermore, while you can use riot police to disperse demonstrators, you cannot use this riot police to force anybody to work: there are many consistent reports of strikes in major Belarusian plans and corporation. How will Lukashenko force these people to work? He cannot. In fact, he specifically said so when he declared that strikes will destroy Belarus. There are now even reports that the company Belaruskalii, one of the most profitable companies in Belarus (it produces potassium fertilizer) has now stopped working.
  • In extremis, Lukashenko began calling Putin and he even said “we, Russians” during a public meeting. Right now I know of no respectable analyst in Russia who would believe that Putin owes Lukashenko anything.
  • The blame for what just happened cannot be placed solely on Lukashenko’s infinite arrogance, the infiltration of the Belarusian KGB or on Ukronazi provocations: it is possible that the SVR and GRU dropped the ball in this instance, in spite of the fact that what happened was easy to predict (and many did predict this). Had it not been for the superb work of the FSB, it is quite possible that by now some Russian citizens would be sitting in Ukronazi jails. The Russian Foreign Ministry also appears to have been caught off guard. I don’t necessarily feel that “heads should roll” at the SVR/GRU, but at the very least there ought to be a full internal investigation on why this crisis apparently caught the Kremlin off-guard and some “organizational conclusions” ought to be drawn. By the way, there is also the possibility that the SVR/GRU and Ministry of Foreign Affairs didprovide timely and substantive (actionable) warnings. In this case, the problem is with the heads of these services, the Russian government and the President. It is sometimes said that the process of intelligence involves three phases referred to as the “three As”: acquisition (data collection), analysis (data management and interpretation) and acceptance (convincing the political decision makers). I do, obviously, not know at what level this failure happened, but I see it as a clear sign of a major problem.

Now lets look at the core of the “Russian problem in Belarus”: it is simple, really: Belarusians are Russians, even more so than the Ukrainians. Not only that, but judging from the footage from Belarus (on all changes and from all sources), while the (supposed) “leaders” of the so-called “opposition” are all rabid russophobes, the vast majority of those who protested against Lukashenko are not.

The problem here is that it is impossible to get truly reliable numbers. Official Belarusian polls are a joke, but “opposition” polls, or western run polls, are probably even MORE unreliable. Then there is the fact that Minsk is somewhat of a special case amongst Belarusian cities. Furthermore, there is a difference between urban and rural Belarus. And, finally, the opposition itself is not monolithic at all, and when somebody is asked whether he supports Lukashenko or not, there are many possible reasons why somebody might reply “no” (heck, many Russians in Russia do not support Lukashenko either). So we have to accept that until some kind of normalcy return to Belarus and truly free elections are held, nobody will know for sure what percentage of Belarusian think about this crisis or Lukashenko.

Then there is the fact that, just as in Syria or the Ukraine, the initial protest were legitimate, both in terms of having many valid reasons to protest and in terms of being truly local, not controlled from aboard. But then, just as in Syria and in the Ukraine, these protests were infiltrated and co-opted by foreign agents. Ideally, Russia would want to support the original/real demonstrators as much as possible within reason and counter-act the infiltrated subversives. But how can the Russian separate them unless they themselves make it happen?

One idea circulated here and there is that Russia should intervene very openly, in the context of the Union State between Russia and Belarus and, even more so, under the auspices of the Collective Security Treaty Organization. Putin did mention this organization already, so this is definitely an option for Russia. But would that be a good option?

To be honest, I am not even sure that there are ANY good options left for Russia. I mentioned several times that I personally came to conclusion that the only possibly way for the Belarusian people to remain free is to join Russia. I still think that. However, I am not at all sure that this is even really possible right now, if only because the only interlocutor of Moscow in Belarus appears to be losing control of his own government and because there is no easy way to make progress on this issue while Belarus is at the very real risk of complete collapse.

The root cause of it all?

Corruption. As always.

It is often said that the Ukrainian leaders since 1991 were terrible, and that is true: every one of them seemed to be acting in some kind of toxic freak show. And yes, in Belarus, people feared the cops and the KGB a lot more than the did in the Ukraine. But that does not necessarily mean that Belarus was less corrupt. All this means, is that in Belarus the government did a great job running a semi-feudal system of protection which only guaranteed that only officials and their “business partners” got to make good money.

And this is not a Belarus or Ukrainian problem only. The exact same thing took place in Russia in the 90s. It is not even a personality problem, it is a class problem, in the Marxist sense of the word.

We need to remember that the CPSU and its Nomenklatura was a fantastically corrupt organization, not necessarily at the member level, but as a whole. I would summarize the “integrity” of these people as so:

  • First they betrayed Stalin and the ideals of Marxism-Leninism (Khrushchev years)
  • Then they betrayed their own USSR and CPSU (Brezhnev & Gorbachev years)
  • Then they disguised themselves as patriots (or even nationalists, like that hardcore communist ideologue Kravchuk did!).
  • Next, they deeply penetrated the West to seek protection, hide their real revenues and obtain the right to rule.
  • Next, they sucked their countries dry of all their wealth while their personal worth skyrocketed.
  • Finally, they all volunteered to prostitute themselves and their people before the West.

These guys have no more morals than an amoeba and they are as ruthless as any psychopath. They used to prostitute themselves before their Party bosses, and now they do the same to their AngloZionist ones.

So here is the question: how could Russia remove this ruling class without a) major bloodshed and b) making it look like what Russia is really doing is trying to save Lukashenko?

What Russia really needs now is for the West to do something as terminally stupid as when the US tried to overthrow Erdogan. But that would only be sufficient to bring Lukashenko to heel and get rid of some of the most dangerous elements in his entourage. The bigger problem is how could Russia help the Belarusian people?

Just tossing more money at the Belarusian regime makes no sense and does not work. Been there, done that.

Using military force is possible (I don’t expect anybody in the Belarusian military, at least key commanders and units, to object to this). But that is very tricky and outright politically dangerous. It might also not be correctly understood by Belarusians and by many Russians too.

The first conclusion I personally am coming to is that Russia must not do anything which could be credibly construed as “saving Lukashenko”. Lukashenko needs no “saving”. Belarus does.

Second, while in military terms securing Belarus would not be a problem for the Russian military, in political terms it would be a major crisis as the West would, no doubt, pounce on that to not only impose more sanctions (that is not really a problem) but also to create a New Cold War in which mentally sane and patriotic Europeans would be “shouted down” by hysterical mantras about “the Russians are coming! the Russians are coming!”.

I am also concerned about the recent military moves by Belarus. To forward deploy high readiness forces near the Polish border is a very bad idea: considering the historical record the Russians should never assume that any Polish leader won’t do something fantastically stupid which will end up as fantastically tragic. I don’t believe for one second that NATO has plans to invade Belarus. If anything, Lukashenko and Russia ought to leave what is called a “tripwire force” in the West while preparing their strategic defenses in depth. There is NO need to go and provoke the Poles, the Balts or anybody else in NATO.

If given a choice, Putin would probably want for both Lukashenko and the so-called ‘opposition’ to go (this reminds me of the Argentinian “que se vayan todos” or the Lebanese كلهم يعني كلهم both of which can be roughly translated as “they all have to go”and “all means all” – including both Tikhanovskaia AND Lukashenko.

At the time of writing this (Aug. 19th) it appears that Lukashenko will now have to chose between the “civilized West” and “Putin’s bloody Mordor”. Truly, he really has no option other than to chose Moscow, but that does not at all mean that Moscow thinks that there is anything salvageable from Lukashenko’s regime. His latest “zag!” back to being a “Russian brother” is way too little and way too late. And if his foreign minister and his head of KGB are still in the next government, all this talk will also become irrelevant and meaningless.

Simply put: if Lukashenko wants to remain in power he has only one option – beg for Putin’s mercy, not publicly, of course, be most emphatically and as sincerely as he can pretend to be. Then he needs to purge his government from every single name Putin (or the Russian special services) will hand to him. Yes, that means that he has to truly and really relinquish control. As for Putin, he needs to address both the Russian and the Belarusian people to explain whatever decision he comes to. This is, yet again, a situation where Putin’s biggest weapon might be his very high popular support (not only in Russia, but also, by all accounts, in Belarus).

Right now it appears that the West seriously fears a Russian intervention: they probably (correctly) realize how easy it would be for Russia and how there is absolutely nothing anybody, including NATO or, even less so, the EU could do about it. Trump personally has much bigger fish to fry and I doubt if he cares much. But his narcissistic Secretary of State probably feels like he can turn Belarus into another US-run Banderastan.

So what can happen next?

I think that it is crucial that Russia reach out to the non-US-controlled opposition in Belarus, publicly, and try to establish some kind of dialog. Russia also has to publicly warn the people of Belarus that if they allow the current US-controlled “opposition leaders” to come to power, Belarus will collapse just like the Ukraine did.

This might be the strongest argument Russia could repeat over and over again: as bad as Lukashenko was, if he is overthrown in some kind of Maidan-like coup, then Belarus will become the next Banderastan. This will be a major headache for Russia, but Russia can easily survive this. Belarus cannot.

But simply keeping Lukashenko in power is no solution either: whether he did or did not win the latest elections is not even the real issue anymore – the real issue is that he did lose his credibility with pretty much everybody involved. For this reason alone – Lukashenko has to go. Next, some kind of government of national unity which would include the main political forces in Belarus except the ones controlled by the West should probably be formed. Finally, whoever is in power in Minsk needs to set a course on a full reintegration of Belarus into Russia. That remains the only viable long-term solution for the people of Belarus.

Turmoil in Belarus, Another US Color Revolution Attempt?

By Stephen Lendman

Global Research, August 16, 2020

E-40 Waterway Project

Time and again, the CIA, National Endowment for Democracy (NED), International Republican Institute (IRI), National Democratic Institute (NDI), and USAID have been involved in US schemes to replace independent governments with pro-Western puppet ones.

Tactics include violent and non-violent labor strikes, mass street protests, major media propaganda, and whatever else it takes to achieve Washington’s aims — at times succeeding, other times failing.

In late 2013, early 2014, the Obama regime successfully replaced Ukraine’s democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych with pro-Western putschist rule — a fascist dictatorship in Europe’s heartland, targeting Russia.

For months in Hong Kong last year and sporadically in 2020,  Trump regime orchestrated violence, vandalism and chaos failed to achieve its aims that were all about weakening China by attacking its soft underbelly.

Tactics employed by the US in Ukraine, Hong Kong, and elsewhere were first used against Serbia’s Slobodan Milosevic in 2000.

What appeared to be a spontaneous political uprising was developed by RAND Corporation strategists in the 1990s — the concept of swarming.

It replicates “communication patterns and movement of” bees and other insects used against nations to destabilize and topple their governments.

The CIA and other anti-democratic US organizations are involved.

Their mission is all about achieving what the Pentagon calls “full spectrum dominance,” seeking control over planet earth, its resources, populations, and outer space.

Swarming and related actions are war by other means, including by use of information and communications technologies, along with social media.

Cyberwar today is what blitzkrieg was to 20th century warfare.

Swarming is a way to strike from all directions in an overwhelming fashion similar to an all-out military attack.

Is this what’s been going on in Belarus for months, especially since the August 9 presidential election.

Longtime incumbent Alexander Lukashenko claimed victory by more an 80% majority over key opposition figure Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya.“The Weaponization of Sanctions”: Waging War by Other Means against Russia

Now in Lithuania, she cried foul, claiming she won. He lost.

Disruptive actions against Lukashenko have been ongoing since last spring, dubbed a “slipper revolution” by Belarusian Belsat TV in May.

Like Ukraine, Belarus borders Russia, why Washington aims to transform it into a client state.

On Saturday, Lukashenko said he’s being target by a “color revolution” attempt to remove him from power he’s had as president since 1994.

Reportedly he said “(w)e have read the guidelines on how to conduct color revolutions,” adding that’s what happening in Belarus suggests that Russia is next if not effectively countered.

Late Saturday, he and Putin spoke by phone, a Kremlin readout saying:

Lukashenko initiated the call. He “informed Vladimir Putin about the developments following the presidential election in Belarus.”

“Both sides expressed confidence that all existing problems will be settled soon.”

“The main thing is to prevent destructive forces from using these problems to cause damage to mutually beneficial relations of the two countries within the Union State.”

In 1995, both countries agreed on this arrangement that lets their citizens work and/or live in either nation at their discretion — while retaining their passports and national identity.

A bilateral 1999 treaty calls for economic integration and mutual cooperation to defend both nations from foreign threats — with the intent of integrating Belarus with Russia.

So far, it hasn’t happened because Lukashenko’s power would be subordinated to Moscow.

Is now the time to accept where he hasn’t gone before because of concern about a fate similar to Ukraine’s Yanukovych?

Public anger is fueled by Belarusians wanting change, his dubious one-sided reelection margin, and police state tactics against street protesters, including thousands of arrests and reported mistreatment in detention.

Opposition elements demand he step down. Mass protests continued over the weekend, including many thousands in Minsk, the nation’s capital.

Lukashenko said he ordered the deployment of an air assault brigade to border areas in response to US-led NATO military exercises in bordering Poland and Lithuania.

Belarus “cannot calmly observe this” and do nothing, he reportedly said, adding that Putin offered to help protect the country’s security.

Now is the time for integration into Russia, perhaps in similar fashion to how Crimeans corrected an historic error by becoming the Republic of Crimea in the Russian Federation.

The alternative for Lukashenko may be a successful US-style color revolution that replaces him with pro-Western rule.

The alternative for Russia would be having another hostile US controlled state on its border.

Belarusians under Lukashenko are between a rock and a hard place — his hardline rule v. a likely worse fate under a US installed regime similar to Ukraine’s.

Full integration as a Russian Federation republic makes most sense, perhaps where things are heading.

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Award-winning author Stephen Lendman lives in Chicago. He can be reached at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net. He is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization (CRG)

His new book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

http://www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

Visit his blog site at sjlendman.blogspot.com.The original source of this article is Global ResearchCopyright © Stephen Lendman, Global Research, 2020

WEST OFFERS POISONOUS ‘HAND OF FRIENDSHIP’ TO LUKASHENKO AMID MASS PROTESTS AGAINST HIS GOVERNMENT

South Front

West Offers Poisonous 'Hand Of Friendship' To Lukashenko Amid Mass Protests Against His Government

The mass usage of force by Belarusian authorities against mass protests that erupted after the presidential election play a dirty trick on President Alexander Lukashenko.

While the decisive usage of force was a useful tool to supress the coup attempt and violent street riots on August 9 and August 10, the further actions of Police and the Internal Troops against protests on August 11, 12, 13 and 14, when the opposition mostly switched to nonviolent resistance approaches undermined the image of the Lukashenko government among the neutral part of the population and even among its supporters. This situation became a trigger for the intensification of street protests (this time peaceful ones), the first successes of the opposition’s attempts to stage a nation-wide strike and contributed to the popularity of the anti-Lukashenko movement in general.

On August 14, the Belarusian Electoral Commission officially declared Lukashenko a winner of the presidential election with 80.1% of votes, while the opposition candidate, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, got 10.1%. Regardless these numbers, the government says that the election was fire and transparent, while the opposition has declared it rigged, the situation on the ground has clearly turned not into the favor of the acting president.

Pro-opposition media organizations, including those managed from Poland and Lithuania, have achieved a decisive victory over pro-government media, and the popularity of protests inside the country and on the international scene is growing.

Harsh statements of the top Belarusian leadership mocking all the protesters as solely provocateurs and foreign agents and denying the usage of force against protesters also played their own role. While it’s wrong to deny actions of destructive forces, it’s an apparent distortion of reality to describe all opposition supporters as foreign agents or provocateurs.

“For starters, I’m still alive and I haven’t fled abroad as some of our vaunted, ‘informed’ compatriots are drumming up that the president has fled the country and is now abroad,” President Alexander Lukashenko said on August 14 adding that his opponents are trying to “stir up laborers’ associations”.

He also warned workers against participating in strikes.

“Today you don’t produce 10 tractors, they don’t go to the market, and tomorrow the Germans will come with the Americans. The Russians will bring their equipment,” the president said.

The anti-Russian statements of the Belarusian leaders are also surprising in the sitaution while it’s an open secret that a large part of protests is being coordinated from PolandFrom the practical point of view, the destruction of relations with the only really ally of Belarus (and a de-facto sponsor of its economy) also does not help his regime to remain in power.

Meanwhile, police officers guarding the government building in Minsk put down their shields in an apparent sign of the collapse of the commitment of at least a part of law enforcements to use the force against protestsers. Pro-opposition media outelts cirtulate over a dozens of photos supposedly showing resignation letters of police officers and personnel of the Internal Troops. Earlier, the opposition staged a flash mob motivating former police officers and servicemembers to throw away their unifroms on cameras. Opposition supporters achieved another important victory, they got the moral ascendancy over the Lukashenko government in the eyes of residents of large cities.

West Offers Poisonous 'Hand Of Friendship' To Lukashenko Amid Mass Protests Against His Government

West Offers Poisonous 'Hand Of Friendship' To Lukashenko Amid Mass Protests Against His Government
West Offers Poisonous 'Hand Of Friendship' To Lukashenko Amid Mass Protests Against His Government

The Minsk Tractor Works (MTZ) was hit by protests and its workers joined the anti-government rally on August 14. The plant is one of the biggest employers in the Belarus capital, giving jobs to some 15,000 people. The incident took place shortly after Belarus Prime Minister Roman Golovchenko arrived there to talk with protesters. He reportedly refused to speak to the crowd in front of the press, angering many there and setting off the protest march. Workers of several other plants across Belarus also joined the protests.

The inability of the Belarusian government to participate in a real dialogue with the pro-opposition part of the population is among the key problems that put it in the current situation. 

Meanwhile, Belarus is facing an expected and increasing pressure on the international scene. Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya that fled to Lithuania declared (with an apparent help from foreign special services) that she was staring to create a special council tasked with the transition of power from Lukashenko to her. The council, according to Tsikhanouskaya, should include representatives of all associations that are interested in dialogue and the peaceful transfer of power – labor collectives, parties, trade unions, etc. She also called on the ‘international community’, including European states, to help with the dialogue with the current authorities. It should be noted that, according to the opposition version of events, Tsikhanouskaya won the election (with 10% sic).

The European Union and the United States already condemned violence in Belarus and expressed their ‘concerns’ over the protests there. Lithuania, Latvia, Estonia and Poland declared that they are ready to become mediators in the dialogue between the opposition and the Lukashenko government. Apparently they hope that Lukashenko forgot how ‘EU states’ already became mediators between the government and the ‘opposition’ in Ukraine in 2014. The Yanukovich government fell just a few days after they supposedly reached a deal to settle the tensions.

Meanwhile, Alexander Schallenberg, Minister of Foreign Affairs Austria, said that the European Union is not interested in the rapprochement between Russia and Belarus. He added that the current situation in Belarus is the setback for the EU-Belarusian relations and supported calls for sanctions against the Lukashenko government. The European Union sees the threat of sanctions as a useful tool to pressure Lukashenko to ‘negotiate’ (surrender to) with the opposition.

It is interesting to see how Lukashenko’s best friend in the European Union and the United States immediately betrayed him amid the crisis and in fact work to overthrow his government. The de-facto anti-Russian foreign policy, the public anti-Russian rhetoric and the Lukashenko-initiated economic and political conflicts with Russia appeared to be not enough to satisfy them. They need the fully-controlled and ‘European’ Belarus – i.e. the goal of Euro-Atlantic structures is to get a full foreign control of Belarus, like they (led by the United States) did in Ukraine.

As to Russia, which is painted by the ‘destructive force’ by the West and even by the government of Lukashenko for years funded by the Russians, it seems that Moscow’s main problem is the lack of political will to provide a really strong policy towards its supposed ally. The Russian indulgence to Lukashenko’s multiple anti-Russian moves and the unwillingness of Moscow to whip into the line the Lukashenko regime and put an end to its destructive actions led to the current situation. The years of direct and indirect sponsorship of Belarus (billions of dollars) are turning into dust. Furthermore, a large part of the Belarusian population, which in fact survived due to Russian donations only, see Moscow as the supposed ‘aggressor’ that want to suppress the ‘democracy’ in mighty and flourishing Belarus. The soft policy towards Belarus only set conditions for the expansion of anti-Russian forces there and Lukashenko’s political adventures with the West that led to the situation, when Russia could easily get another point of instability on its border.

In own turn, Lukashenko is just reaping the fruit of his own actions of the previous years.

MORE ON THE TOPIC:

A quick update on Belarus

A quick update on Belarus

The Saker

August 12, 2020

A quick update on the events in Belarus:

To make a long story short, two major developments have happened:

  1. My guess is that by now Lukashenko has now figured (again) that the West wants him dead AND he has figured out that he has been conned by the Ukie SBU and, most likely, elements inside his own KGB.
  2. The Belarusian security forces (riot police and KGB) have ruthlessly cracked down on the opposition and right now they seem to be in control of the situation.

I base my first conclusion on the clear and sudden change of tone of Lukashenko who, yet again, praises Putin and Russia and who is now playing nice hoping that the Kremlin will forget what just happened (it won’t)

As for the second conclusion, now that the Internet has been reopened (Belarus and the West accuse each other of having disconnected it), there is a lot of media (video and images) coming out of Minsk and other Belarusian  cities and it appears that the following has happened:

While many people did sincerely and peacefully protest, a number of criminal elements were recruited (for US dollars) and they instantly attacked the security forces with great skill and violence: cops were lynched, some were shot (at least one), agent provocateurs even ran over cops with their cars, one guy was caught with 10’000 USD in the streets during the riots and his explanation was “this is my money” (as if anybody in his right mind would carry large sums of money in the midst of riots), others were caught with knives, baseball bats, Molotov cocktails, radios, flash-bang grenades (from Poland), fireworks, etc. etc. etc.  Many of the hardcore rioters have multiple criminal convictions in the past and were well known by the authorities.  Last but not least, some of these rioters had Ukie-style Nazi tattoos all over their bodies.  What else is new….?

Predictably, the riot police retaliated in kind and started beating the crap out of anybody breaking the law and, alas, also beating the crap left and right of people who were not doing anything illegal (including severely beaten up journos, including Russian ones).

It appears that for the time being, the Belarusian KGB has the upper hand and that many of the subversives which were caught by the KGB were run by the Ukraine and Poland.

As for the main opposition figure (officially, she got 10% of the vote), she has now left for Lithuania (probably because her husband’s curators are located there).

Conclusion:

While the plot to create a major crisis between Belarus and Russia has been foiled thanks to the Russian FSB (молодцы ребята!), the plot to overthrow Lukashenko is still ongoing and might very well succeed.  For one thing, people are really angry at the violence of the Belarusian cops.  Second, the Belarusian economy is hurting and Russia cannot forever “carry” Belarus on her back. Third Lukashenko has been in power for way too long and for all this time he “sat between two chairs” – this has to change and it will change, the only question is will it change for the better or for the worse?

At the very least, Moscow should now demand that Lukashenko fire his Russia-hating foreign Minister, Makei, and the head of the Belarusian KGB, Vakulchik, (if these men had any sense of honor, they would immediately resign by themselves but, clearly, they do not…) and renew the talks on fully uniting Belarus and Russia.

As for Lukashenko, he has to put his actions were his mouth is and take retaliatory sanctions against the USA and the EU.  Now, obviously, Belarus has no economic levers to use against the West, but what Minks could and SHOULD do is to reduce the size of all the key diplomatic missions, embassies, consulates, etc. from the worst offending countries: USA, the Ukraine and Poland.  This would not only be fair, it would be prudent as it is 100% clear now that these countries stand behind the current crisis and they will do all they can to turn a (comparatively heavenly) Belarus into the kind of Banderastan they turned the long-suffering Ukraine into.

Finally, it appears that the opposition (law abiding and other) are now talking stock of their apparent initial failure and a regrouping for the upcoming week-end.

At this point, the AngloZionist Empire does not need to pretend to like Lukashenko anymore (that plan has failed), so they can do something which they are very good at: provoke more and more violence, forcing the state to resort to violent repression (that is the “action is in the reaction” tactic) and then all that is needed is what they have successfully done in Riga, Vilnius, Moscow (1993), Kiev, Aleppo and many other places: send in professional snipers to shoot at BOTH sides, thereby creating a civil war.

Will the Belarusian KGB be capable of intercepting all the teams which will probably be sent in?

Maybe.  The Belarusian KGB is, unlike its Ukie SBU counterpart, mostly formed of competent professionals who had all the time needed to carefully study what happened in the Ukraine, how it happened and why it happened.  So they can probably keep control of the situation for a while longer, but it is anybody’s guess for how long.

Personally, I can only repeat that I have zero confidence in Lukashenko and I don’t believe that an independent Belarus is viable.  The only solution I see is a full integration of Belarus into Russia.

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