There have been no important developments since the last Belarus Sitrep. The protests continue to periodically simmer, but they are massively down from their peak several weeks ago.
The pro-Russian orientation has become progressively clearer:
- Chairman of the Standing Commission on International Affairs Andrey Savinykh has openly stated that Belarus’ prior “multivector” foreign policy no longer corresponded with its national interests in an era of “unification of states and destruction of global trade and financial systems.” Its new “highest priority” is to be the “strengthening of political, economic, and military relations with Russia in the framework of the Union State.”
- Pro-Union State information campaigns.
- Rumors floating that Lukashenko has sent his son Kolya to an elite boarding school in Moscow.
In this context, the diminution of the protests makes sense. While only ~30% of Belorussians support Lukashenko, only ~15% may be considered hardcore zmagars. When it looked like Lukashenko was going to continue his permanent potato dictatorship, it is understandable that 70% of the population was peeved at him. Now that it looks like there’s a course set for integration with Russia, neither pro-Lukashenkoists nor anti-Lukashenko Russophiles have any reason to be out on the streets, so it’s mainly the zmagarists who remain.
Yury Dud’, the most popular zoomer icon in Russia (hipster type who specializes in interviews and has twice as many YouTube subscribers as Navalny), was in Poland. He helpfully, if inadvertently, helped expose the Polish roots and financing of the NEXTA Telegram channel used to coordinate the protests:
Machine translation from state TV journalist Vladimir Soloviev’s Telegram channel from September 20:
People from NEXTA are completely open and naturally speak out or don’t even try to be shy. Well, first of all, all the participants are essentially very polonized. Dud’ asks, almost everyone answers like this:
– How long have you been here?
– A week since I arrived.
– And where in general?
– From Minsk.
– How do you like being in Poland? Are you used to it?
– Yes, I have already lived here for 10 years.
Secondly, the main character himself, Putilo, calmly says that he actually studied at the Belarusian gymnasium, which is maintained by the Polish Republic. He has a constant Polish accent and Polish declensions.
Thirdly. Supervision from the Polish government, a meeting with the Polish prime minister does not raise questions from people, well, like, why, such support. External interference? Well, what is it? This is good support, right intervention.
Fourth. Propaganda? Well, yes, we are propaganda. But we are good propaganda, for everything good, against everything bad, such propaganda is needed.
Fifth. Constant talk. Like. Well, there are 4 of us working in total. An hour of interview: we have a whole department monitoring insiders from the Belarusian special services; but there is still a guard around us, who it is – I don’t know, I’m not interested, maybe the Polish special services, or maybe just good people.
Here, in theory, there should be lesson, about the cunning Poles who taught the Belarusian youth in their universities, made anti-Russian and pro-Polish activists out of them – scoundrels! But the Poles are right, that’s the only way. There are no less, but more Belarusians studying in Russian universities, but none of them made pro-Russian activists, they did not make any pro-Russian media centers out of Belarusian youth. And these are all the numerous questions to the Russian authorities, which again screwed up out of the blue.
Fair point. And one that I and others have often made as well.