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From the beginning I have stressed that the opposition protesters in Belarus – the masses of people out on the streets because they have issues with electoral fraud, economic stagnation, and/or Lukashenko having overstayed his welcome – are not anti-Russian ideologues. These “zmagars” do exist, and their influence has grown since 2014, thanks in significant part to Lukashenko’s own policies of sidelining and repressing Russophiles after Crimea. Nonetheless, even amongst the opposition, they remain a small minority.

However, we also know that the “people” hardly decide many questions in any “democracy”. To what extent do the writers of the opposition platforms reflect even the wishes of anti-Lukashenko Belorussians – to say nothing of Belorussians at large?

These questions must come to the fore after several Russians, as I believe starting with the head of the Russian Democrats nationalist party Sergey Grigoriev, later expounded upon by others, noticed some rather interesting things about the programs of the opposition.

(1) The program of Tikhanovskaya ( https://tsikhanouskaya2020.by/moya_programma/ ) states the following (machine translated):

We have teamed up with the teams of Victor Babariko and Valery Tsepkalo, the best experts, parties and public organizations cooperate with us. They offer programs for the development of the country, which can be found at reformby.com.

(2) We go to that website, which consistently of normal, nice-sounding democratic things such as free elections, fair courts, freedom of the press, concern for ecology, etc. while studiously avoiding mention of geopolitics and other “sensitive topics”.

In the footer, though, it states that the program is based on material from the platform “Reanimation Packet of Reform for Belarus.” We go to that link zabelarus.com.

(3) And find some rather “interesting” proposals that did not find their way into the united opposition platform. Proposals which basically constitute a blueprint for the accelerated reformatting of Belarus into a hardcore zmagarist regime:

  • Immediate exit from the Union State, Eurasian Union, and the CSTO.
  • Ban on pro-Russian organizations and their financing structures.
  • Criminal penalties for publicly questioning the existence of the Belarusian nation, its historical right to its own state, and insulting the Belarussian language (something that commenter Belarusian Dude might have already fallen afoul of).
  • Restore the Belarusian language to its status as the only official state language.
  • Border control and tariffs on Russian border.
  • Ban on selling infrastructure to Russian companies.
  • “Wide social discussion” over the fate of the (Rostatom-constructed) Astravets Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Freeing “independent media” from state pressure, ensuring media freedom and freedom of speech… a ban on the translation of political and news programs created by Russian TV companies… standard TV packet to include TV channels from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine.
  • Return of Belorussian control over its own anti-air and anti-missile defense.
  • Expulsion of Russian military objects from Belarusian territory, including the Vileyka VLF transmitter and the Hantsavichy radar station.
  • Popularization of “national heroes”, with an accent on the 19-20th centuries.
  • Patriotic education and switch to the Belarusian language within the Belarusian Army.
  • Privatization of state enterprises, with a ban on Russian capital acquiring more than 20% stakes in them.
  • Joining the Three Seas Initiative by 2025.
  • Fulfilling the requirements and submitting applications for EU and NATO membership by 2030.
  • Restoration of the Belarusian Autocephalic Orthodox Church as a “national alternative” to the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

One of the biggest reasons for not intervening to save Lukashenko’s bacon is that even should he fall, the political space that will be opened up can be exploited by Russophile forces – hitherto repressed by the Lukashenko regime – to steer Belarus in a pro-Russian direction. With Belorussians not alienated by military intervention as in the Ukraine, much more pro-Russian to begin with, and significantly more economically dependent on Russia than Ukraine in 2014, the chances of success are high and probably incurs much less tail risk than wading in with little green men.

However, this all becomes irrelevant if the opposition’s agenda is set by crypto-zmagarists who intent to turn Belarus into a dictatorship so far as Russophiles are concerned the moment they acquire power, and the only electoral choices they intend to offer are zmagarism with or zmagarism without a rainbow flag.

This zabelarus.com website went down soon after it was publicized by Russian nationalists on social networks, and now displays an “error establishing a database connection.” But this being the Internet, not before those “extra” pages, excised from the official program presented by the united opposition at reformby.com were archived and screenshotted. Moreover, not only is there a chain of hyperlinkage from the Tikhanovskaya campaign to these materials, but there were also mentioned by name (“Reanimation Packet of Reform for Belarus”) by none other than Tikhanovskaya’s press secretary Anna Krasulina, who presented them as the agreed upon platform of “leading democratic parties” in an August 15 interview with Echo of Moscow.

Now yes, it is true that Russians should not make premature conclusions – after all, it could have been the work of a lone ideologue, or even a sophisticated provocation to sour Russians on the Belorussian opposition. But considering the radical positions taken in the materials upon which the public platform of the united opposition is based – some of which are even more extreme than what has actually transpired in the Ukraine – it would also not be unreasonable for Russia to seek an explanation for this from the Belorussian opposition. They, in turn, had better have a good answer prepared – at least if they hope for Russia to continue exercising neutrality in the domestic struggle between them and Lukashenko.

 
• Category: Ideology • Tags: Belarus, Color Revolution, Svidomy 
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  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. In a news segment yesterday, McFaul suggested an EU and US mediating intervention that could (as he put it) include Russia.

    Talk about an insulting imperial mindset.

    • Replies: @A123
    @Mikhail


    In a news segment yesterday, McFaul suggested an EU and US mediating intervention that could (as he put it) include Russia.

    Talk about an insulting imperial mindset.
     
    McFaul was Ambassador under the Worst President in U.S. History, Barack Hussein Obama:
    -- Why would any self respecting program include McFaul on a panel?
    -- Who would be stupid enough to believe what McFaul says?

    Trump will keep the U.S. out of Belarus for the next 4 1/2 years. BoJo has no apparent interest either. What EU nation(s) is wingnut McFail implying?

    The idea of a mediating intervention is SJW Globalist delusion.

    PEACE ūüėá
    , @El Dato
    @Mikhail

    Isn't McFaul that corridor-dwelling guy who can't into Russian?

    Faul is "Rotten" or "Lazy" in German. Just sayin'

    Replies: @Mikhail

  3. @Mikhail
    In a news segment yesterday, McFaul suggested an EU and US mediating intervention that could (as he put it) include Russia.

    Talk about an insulting imperial mindset.

    Replies: @A123, @El Dato

    In a news segment yesterday, McFaul suggested an EU and US mediating intervention that could (as he put it) include Russia.

    Talk about an insulting imperial mindset.

    McFaul was Ambassador under the Worst President in U.S. History, Barack Hussein Obama:
    — Why would any self respecting program include McFaul on a panel?
    — Who would be stupid enough to believe what McFaul says?

    Trump will keep the U.S. out of Belarus for the next 4 1/2 years. BoJo has no apparent interest either. What EU nation(s) is wingnut McFail implying?

    The idea of a mediating intervention is SJW Globalist delusion.

    PEACE ūüėá

  4. That platform is far beyond anything realistically acceptable to Russia. At a minimum they are not removing military assets, forward staging like missile and air defense or permitting Belarus to join NATO in any capacity.

    I’ve said this before – this would be like the US permitting Nova Scotia to secede from Canada, join the Eurasian Union, remove DEW infrastructure and start building Russian naval and airbases.

    Russia cannot and should not permit this kind of fatal NATO proximity. No serious nation would.

    Belarus for all that it’s my grandmother’s homeland is a small nation whose history, location and population dictate that it march in step with Russia.

    Russia has not committed any acts against Belarus that justify the kind of hostile posture implicit in NATO membership or most of the rest of that opposition wish-list.

  5. NBC already labeled Lukashenko as “pro-Russian.” That’s basically everything everyone will understand now. I wonder if they will accuse him of a) pulling babies off ventilators, b) pumping his security services with viagra so they can rape all the women, or c) gassing his own people.

    • Replies: @A123
    @jonial


    NBC already labeled ... everything everyone will understand
     
    Americans do not trust NBC, or any of the other Fake Stream Media outlets.
    .
    https://media.breitbart.com/media/2019/02/cjr-reuters-confidence.jpg
    .
    PEACE ūüėá

    Replies: @Matra, @songbird, @Jaakko Raipala

  6. It’s a race between the EU and Russia to make a mediation offer that saves Lukashenko’s face. The US has nothing to offer. No trade and pointless military presence. Lukashenko might try his own mediation but he has been a bit too uncouth for that with Tikhonovskaya, the Irish candidate. Ireland is going to make some running in this inside the EU and they won’t be favouring the colonial oppressor. Poland, the Balts, Visegrad and the Balkans all have theri own fond brotherly memories of the Russian led USSR. That’s quite a lobby for some EU intervention. The Spanish and Italians might be less enthusiastic but not outrageously so. Macron is visibly filling gaps Trump is leaving open in EurAfrica.

    Putin needs to talk to Macron. Macron is no great fan of extending NATO by the way.

    • Agree: El Dato
  7. @jonial
    NBC already labeled Lukashenko as "pro-Russian." That's basically everything everyone will understand now. I wonder if they will accuse him of a) pulling babies off ventilators, b) pumping his security services with viagra so they can rape all the women, or c) gassing his own people.

    Replies: @A123

    NBC already labeled … everything everyone will understand

    Americans do not trust NBC, or any of the other Fake Stream Media outlets.
    .

    .
    PEACE ūüėá

    • Replies: @Matra
    @A123

    Americans do not trust NBC, or any of the other Fake Stream Media outlets

    True, but irrelevant. The people with influence still believe the MSM.

    , @songbird
    @A123

    There have been political purges of officers in the American military. IMO, it is silly to trust them to be anything but stooges of globohomo.

    , @Jaakko Raipala
    @A123


    Americans do not trust NBC, or any of the other Fake Stream Media outlets.
     
    That's true but it doesn't matter much in an issue where Americans have no prior knowledge.

    When Americans see BLM riots doing damage to their closest city and the media calls that "peaceful protesting", nonliberals get enraged at the propaganda and the liberals support the propaganda. They know the players and the background context and they already have a side in the fight and that all allows them to spot the attempt to manipulate the general public.

    When most Americans hear Belarus described as a "pro-Russian dictatorship" that might fall to "pro-democracy protests", they don't get enraged because they've never even heard of Lukashenko before and they have no emotional investment in the issue. In such cases propaganda usually works because people default to the only thing that they think they know about Belarus which is the few lines they heard from the media. If you know nothing at all about an issue it's hard to avoid being manipulated by propagandists.

  8. @A123
    @jonial


    NBC already labeled ... everything everyone will understand
     
    Americans do not trust NBC, or any of the other Fake Stream Media outlets.
    .
    https://media.breitbart.com/media/2019/02/cjr-reuters-confidence.jpg
    .
    PEACE ūüėá

    Replies: @Matra, @songbird, @Jaakko Raipala

    Americans do not trust NBC, or any of the other Fake Stream Media outlets

    True, but irrelevant. The people with influence still believe the MSM.

  9. I suppose television is of declining importance, but I wonder what sort of Russian cultural penetration there is. Do they watch Russian dramas and movies, in Russian? Or is it dubbed?

    I was also wondering about the schools, if anyone can inform me. Is Russian mandatory? If not, were does it rank in relation to other foreign languages, like English and Chinese?

    And the tech sphere: do they primarily use Yandex, etc?

    • Replies: @Russian Unionist
    @songbird

    Dubbed? Virtually everyone in the country speaks and uses Russian in their everyday life with an exception of some older folks in the countryside (some of them speak a mix of both) and some radical nationalists.
    Belarusian is essentially a toy language maintained by "nationally councious" intelligencia and would die off quickly without state support. Everybody in the country is fully proficient in Russian, while not everybody in Belarusian.

    To answer your question, they watch movies in the same language as people in Moscow or Novosibirsk.

    , @The Big Red Scary
    @songbird

    I’ve never met a Byelorussian who could speak Byelorussian. Lukashenko himself is routinely mocked for his unsuccessful attempts at speaking it.

  10. @A123
    @jonial


    NBC already labeled ... everything everyone will understand
     
    Americans do not trust NBC, or any of the other Fake Stream Media outlets.
    .
    https://media.breitbart.com/media/2019/02/cjr-reuters-confidence.jpg
    .
    PEACE ūüėá

    Replies: @Matra, @songbird, @Jaakko Raipala

    There have been political purges of officers in the American military. IMO, it is silly to trust them to be anything but stooges of globohomo.

  11. [MORE]

    Criminal penalties for publicly questioning the existence of the Belarusian nation, its historical right to its own state, and insulting the Russian language (something that commenter Belarusian Dude might have already fallen afoul of).

    You mean “insulting the Belarusian language, no?”

    AK: Yes, thanks.

  12. Immediate exit from the Union State, Eurasian Union, and the CSTO.

    Good. They could even push to join the EU just so long as NATO membership will be off the table a la Finland.

    Ban on pro-Russian organizations and their financing structures.

    Unnecessary.

    Criminal penalties for publicly questioning the existence of the Belarusian nation, its historical right to its own state, and insulting the Russian language (something that commenter Belarusian Dude might have already fallen afoul of).

    Stupid.

    Restore the Belarusian language to its status as the only official state language.

    Their choice–though maybe a referendum here could be good?

    Border control and tariffs on Russian border.
    Ban on selling infrastructure to Russian companies.
    ‚ÄúWide social discussion‚ÄĚ over the fate of the (Rostatom-constructed) Astravets Nuclear Power Plant.

    Their choices, I suppose.

    Freeing ‚Äúindependent media‚ÄĚ from state pressure, ensuring media freedom and freedom of speech‚Ķ a ban on the translation of political and news programs created by Russian TV companies‚Ķ standard TV packet to include TV channels from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine.

    Reasonable other than the ban on the translation of Russian TV-produced materials, which sounds really stupid.

    Return of Belorussian control over its own anti-air and anti-missile defense.
    Expulsion of Russian military objects from Belarusian territory, including the Vileyka VLF transmitter and the Hantsavichy radar station.
    Popularization of ‚Äúnational heroes‚ÄĚ, with an accent on the 19-20th centuries.
    Patriotic education and switch to the Belarusian language within the Belarusian Army.
    Privatization of state enterprises, with a ban on Russian capital acquiring more than 20% stakes in them.
    Joining the Three Seas Initiative by 2025.

    All reasonable.

    Fulfilling the requirements and submitting applications for EU and NATO membership by 2030.

    OK–though Belarus’s EU application should be accepted while Belarus’s NATO application should probably be declined.

    Restoration of the Belarusian Autocephalic Orthodox Church as a ‚Äúnational alternative‚ÄĚ to the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church.

    Their choice.

    • Replies: @Russian Unionist
    @Mr. XYZ

    Their choice‚Äďthough maybe a referendum here could be good?
    There has ready been referendum in 1995, and the majority of the country voted in favour of having two official languages. It would clearly be against the interests of the people to make their native language that they use in everyday life (the vast majority of the people) a foreign language.

    When you say "their choice", it will not actually be their (people's) choise, but one of a tiny clique.

    Also, the EU should definitely not approve any new applications in the foreseeable future unless it's from a developed country like Norway.

  13. Huh. I recommend always assuming the worst. Anyone is to be considered a zmagroid until proven otherwise

  14. I think some of these proposals are even more radical than what the course of the matters is in Baltics.

    Whatever multi-party mediation happens I hope the Russian side demands that no encroachment on the function of the Russian language in the country should happen, acting on the side of the majority of the people of Belarus. Same goes for the freedom of expression when it comes to language issues and history (no one should be punished expressing an opinion) and ban of any media. I also think that most Belarusians would prefer to preserve the freedom of movement between two countries.

    Popularization of ‚Äúnational heroes‚ÄĚ, with an accent on the 19-20th centuries.
    Hasn’t that already been happening? Like with Konstanty Kalinowski or different other “heroes” of Polish nobility uprisings? Not only they can’t help themselves but to unleash their radical anti-Russian brainwashing agenda on the people at the time when there are acute economic issues to tackle, but they are also set the make things radically worse for their economy by severing economic ties with Russia and privatizing state assets (to whoever who is not Russian, no matter for what price).

    Very importantly, it’s primarily the Belarusian public, not just Russia, that should seek an explanation to these expremist proposals. Someone needs to get them popularized in the masses pretty quickly, and, of course, Russia should do something to create/support a candidate/party/movement clearly representing the moderate majority and which would be guaranteed to stand against this anti-Russian (or indeed anti-Belarusian as most Belarusians see themselves) agenda once in power.

  15. @Mr. XYZ

    Immediate exit from the Union State, Eurasian Union, and the CSTO.
     
    Good. They could even push to join the EU just so long as NATO membership will be off the table a la Finland.

    Ban on pro-Russian organizations and their financing structures.
     
    Unnecessary.

    Criminal penalties for publicly questioning the existence of the Belarusian nation, its historical right to its own state, and insulting the Russian language (something that commenter Belarusian Dude might have already fallen afoul of).
     
    Stupid.

    Restore the Belarusian language to its status as the only official state language.
     
    Their choice--though maybe a referendum here could be good?

    Border control and tariffs on Russian border.
    Ban on selling infrastructure to Russian companies.
    ‚ÄúWide social discussion‚ÄĚ over the fate of the (Rostatom-constructed) Astravets Nuclear Power Plant.
     
    Their choices, I suppose.

    Freeing ‚Äúindependent media‚ÄĚ from state pressure, ensuring media freedom and freedom of speech‚Ķ a ban on the translation of political and news programs created by Russian TV companies‚Ķ standard TV packet to include TV channels from Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine.
     
    Reasonable other than the ban on the translation of Russian TV-produced materials, which sounds really stupid.

    Return of Belorussian control over its own anti-air and anti-missile defense.
    Expulsion of Russian military objects from Belarusian territory, including the Vileyka VLF transmitter and the Hantsavichy radar station.
    Popularization of ‚Äúnational heroes‚ÄĚ, with an accent on the 19-20th centuries.
    Patriotic education and switch to the Belarusian language within the Belarusian Army.
    Privatization of state enterprises, with a ban on Russian capital acquiring more than 20% stakes in them.
    Joining the Three Seas Initiative by 2025.
     
    All reasonable.

    Fulfilling the requirements and submitting applications for EU and NATO membership by 2030.
     
    OK--though Belarus's EU application should be accepted while Belarus's NATO application should probably be declined.

    Restoration of the Belarusian Autocephalic Orthodox Church as a ‚Äúnational alternative‚ÄĚ to the Belarusian Exarchate of the Russian Orthodox Church.
     
    Their choice.

    Replies: @Russian Unionist

    Their choice‚Äďthough maybe a referendum here could be good?
    There has ready been referendum in 1995, and the majority of the country voted in favour of having two official languages. It would clearly be against the interests of the people to make their native language that they use in everyday life (the vast majority of the people) a foreign language.

    When you say “their choice”, it will not actually be their (people’s) choise, but one of a tiny clique.

    Also, the EU should definitely not approve any new applications in the foreseeable future unless it’s from a developed country like Norway.

  16. opposition protesters in Belarus ‚Äď the masses of people out on the streets because they have issues with electoral fraud, economic stagnation, and/or

    Protesters are “unrepresentative masses” as they are including disproportionate numbers of young people (age 20-35).

    Many interviews with protesters I saw, in which they say they want to join Europe, and protests can shout:

    Population pyramid of Belarus, are mostly old people, and we can believe most of the country want to integrate with Russia. Belarus is a very aging society, which should support political stability, and reduce the scale of protests.

    But among the young people in the demographic age 20-30 (which is only 11% of the country), then the results of polls are the other way round, and the majority of this age-group support Europe, and want to join the EU.

    This 11% of the population of Belarus, who were born in the 1990s, are also demographic who disproportionately have energy to go to streets and protest, as well as the nationalists. So this is likely why the pro-Lukashenko rally was pathetic, and needed to import people into Minsk.

    Lukashenko having overstayed his welcome

    Lukashenko has been a relatively competent and moderate leader overall – and the country has developed as well as probably can expected considering their geographical situation. He likely still has support of the country’s old people, who are the majority of the country’s population, and may be the wiser part – but they don’t have energy for street protests.

    In Lukashenko supporters’ rally were mostly such old people. And they wildly supported Russia when the crowd was asked.

    On the other hand.

    Anti-Lukashenko rally, are something the disproportionately people 20-30. Although it seems like more older people were there today . It is majority young people.

    • Replies: @Hartnell
    @Dmitry

    Yes this is my concern too Dmitry. It is always about the bloody EU. To be honest, I do wonder if the youth really do care about their country anymore or if they really do care about themselves....I mean, the EU continues to fill up with more Islamic migrants each year and the idiots in this video want to join it!? I guess it really is a huge case of selfish "me, me me" individualism over what is the right direction for the country.

    You know, if it wasn't for the EU lovers, I'd actually be sympathetic to the protesters if they promised to genuinely build a patriotic state that remained neutral to both sides. But this huge desire to join with the West is a step too far. But once again, they care about money and the false dreams the EU will give them....

    Replies: @Dmitry

  17. @songbird
    I suppose television is of declining importance, but I wonder what sort of Russian cultural penetration there is. Do they watch Russian dramas and movies, in Russian? Or is it dubbed?

    I was also wondering about the schools, if anyone can inform me. Is Russian mandatory? If not, were does it rank in relation to other foreign languages, like English and Chinese?

    And the tech sphere: do they primarily use Yandex, etc?

    Replies: @Russian Unionist, @The Big Red Scary

    Dubbed? Virtually everyone in the country speaks and uses Russian in their everyday life with an exception of some older folks in the countryside (some of them speak a mix of both) and some radical nationalists.
    Belarusian is essentially a toy language maintained by “nationally councious” intelligencia and would die off quickly without state support. Everybody in the country is fully proficient in Russian, while not everybody in Belarusian.

    To answer your question, they watch movies in the same language as people in Moscow or Novosibirsk.

    • Agree: justiana, RadicalCenter
    • Thanks: songbird
  18. Also notice how they spell –Ī–Ķ–Ľ–ĺ—Ä—É—Ā—Ā–ļ–ł–Ļ on their website as –Ī–Ķ–Ľ–į—Ä—É—Ā–ļ–ł–Ļ (a grammatically incorrect word that doesn’t exist in any dictionary).

  19. [MORE]

    AK: Zero people here are interested in your 15 year old beef with David Johnson. Keep those comments to your own blog.

    An anti-Russian propagandist:

    • Replies: @Mikhail
    @Mikhail


    AK: Zero people here are interested in your 15 year old beef with David Johnson. Keep those comments to your own blog.
     
    BS on your part. A commenterat this thread asked who considers McFaul worthy? In turn, I matter of fact noted that he has been featured at the top of the JRL homepage on numerous occasions.

    Yes, it's your venue. So feel free to cover for Dave Johnson.

  20. @A123
    @jonial


    NBC already labeled ... everything everyone will understand
     
    Americans do not trust NBC, or any of the other Fake Stream Media outlets.
    .
    https://media.breitbart.com/media/2019/02/cjr-reuters-confidence.jpg
    .
    PEACE ūüėá

    Replies: @Matra, @songbird, @Jaakko Raipala

    Americans do not trust NBC, or any of the other Fake Stream Media outlets.

    That’s true but it doesn’t matter much in an issue where Americans have no prior knowledge.

    When Americans see BLM riots doing damage to their closest city and the media calls that “peaceful protesting”, nonliberals get enraged at the propaganda and the liberals support the propaganda. They know the players and the background context and they already have a side in the fight and that all allows them to spot the attempt to manipulate the general public.

    When most Americans hear Belarus described as a “pro-Russian dictatorship” that might fall to “pro-democracy protests”, they don’t get enraged because they’ve never even heard of Lukashenko before and they have no emotional investment in the issue. In such cases propaganda usually works because people default to the only thing that they think they know about Belarus which is the few lines they heard from the media. If you know nothing at all about an issue it’s hard to avoid being manipulated by propagandists.

  21. @songbird
    I suppose television is of declining importance, but I wonder what sort of Russian cultural penetration there is. Do they watch Russian dramas and movies, in Russian? Or is it dubbed?

    I was also wondering about the schools, if anyone can inform me. Is Russian mandatory? If not, were does it rank in relation to other foreign languages, like English and Chinese?

    And the tech sphere: do they primarily use Yandex, etc?

    Replies: @Russian Unionist, @The Big Red Scary

    I’ve never met a Byelorussian who could speak Byelorussian. Lukashenko himself is routinely mocked for his unsuccessful attempts at speaking it.

    • Thanks: songbird
  22. It was pretty obvious who that Tita woman was, even before she went off to Poland, is she a Juan Guaido or does she have genuine support, what of the fella who fled to Russia?

  23. Anything that leads to less globo-homo is good, anything that leads to more globo-homo is bad. I don’t trust mostly young people/college students protesting, the young are extremely easily manipulated and are almost always on the wrong side. Especially if they are educated (brainwashed). Still, red and white flags look better than rainbow flags.

  24. Belarus protests: State TV staff join strikes as Lukashenko remains defiant
    https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53796436

    My speculative reading: It is a well know fact that state TV is alway more loyal and orthodox to those who hold the real power than any other state institution even the secret police because unlike the secret police the state TV has zero autonomy and is peopled with the worst kind of sycophantic apparatchiks whose only skill is in reading tea leaves from glasses used by central committee members. The state TV is the last bastion that gives in to a revolutionary change. So if Belarus state TV goes on strike even if this is only a symbolic gesture it means that the holders of real power in Belarus (like the secret police) have already sold Lukashenko down the river.

    Lukashenko might be dangerously close to Romanian solution where the state police executed Ceausescu to capture the front end of the revolutionary wave on which they could surf ahead of the revolutionary mob who would want to lynch them.

  25. @Dmitry

    opposition protesters in Belarus ‚Äď the masses of people out on the streets because they have issues with electoral fraud, economic stagnation, and/or
     
    Protesters are "unrepresentative masses" as they are including disproportionate numbers of young people (age 20-35).

    Many interviews with protesters I saw, in which they say they want to join Europe, and protests can shout:

    https://vimeo.com/447932628

    Population pyramid of Belarus, are mostly old people, and we can believe most of the country want to integrate with Russia. Belarus is a very aging society, which should support political stability, and reduce the scale of protests.

    But among the young people in the demographic age 20-30 (which is only 11% of the country), then the results of polls are the other way round, and the majority of this age-group support Europe, and want to join the EU.

    This 11% of the population of Belarus, who were born in the 1990s, are also demographic who disproportionately have energy to go to streets and protest, as well as the nationalists. So this is likely why the pro-Lukashenko rally was pathetic, and needed to import people into Minsk.


    Lukashenko having overstayed his welcome

     

    Lukashenko has been a relatively competent and moderate leader overall - and the country has developed as well as probably can expected considering their geographical situation. He likely still has support of the country's old people, who are the majority of the country's population, and may be the wiser part - but they don't have energy for street protests.

    In Lukashenko supporters' rally were mostly such old people. And they wildly supported Russia when the crowd was asked.


    https://tutby.gcdn.co/720x720s/n/zamirovskiy/06/d/provlastnyj_miting_20200816_zam_010_20200816124124_fo2a0889.jpg

    https://tutby.gcdn.co/720x720s/n/zamirovskiy/06/d/provlastnyj_miting_20200816_zam_007_20200816123601_fo2a0796.jpg

    -

    On the other hand.

    Anti-Lukashenko rally, are something the disproportionately people 20-30. Although it seems like more older people were there today . It is majority young people.

    https://i.c97.org/ai/389645/aux-1597592263-33.png

    https://vimeo.com/448258112

    Replies: @Hartnell

    Yes this is my concern too Dmitry. It is always about the bloody EU. To be honest, I do wonder if the youth really do care about their country anymore or if they really do care about themselves….I mean, the EU continues to fill up with more Islamic migrants each year and the idiots in this video want to join it!? I guess it really is a huge case of selfish “me, me me” individualism over what is the right direction for the country.

    You know, if it wasn’t for the EU lovers, I’d actually be sympathetic to the protesters if they promised to genuinely build a patriotic state that remained neutral to both sides. But this huge desire to join with the West is a step too far. But once again, they care about money and the false dreams the EU will give them….

    • Agree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Dmitry
    @Hartnell

    EU is not just a machine for transferring vast amounts of money from the wealthy net contributor countries of Europe, to the relatively poor net recipient countries. But it also allows those people lucky enough to have a EU member passport to live freely in any member country they want, as if choosing from a menu.

    And this EU menu has some of the world's best and most successful countries, with the best infrastructure, health service, education systems, transportation, and careers. I.e. choose from your menu from such elite countries as:

    Germany
    UK
    Sweden
    Ireland
    Netherlands
    Austria

    Then in addition, EU menu, also includes less successful Latin countries, but which have the most attractive lifestyle, health service, longest life expediencies and where it's at least convenient to be able to vacation without the visa, even if you couldn't ever attain a job there:

    Italy
    Spain
    France


    Maybe some of the only countries in the world you would need to add to make EU more attractive for living, are:

    Japan,
    Australia,
    USA
    Canada

    Otherwise EU has most of the most attractive countries.


    To be honest, I do wonder if the youth really do care about their country anymore or if they really do care about themselve
     
    The most wealthy North-West European countries in the EU like UK, Netherlands, etc, are the great financial victims of the EU - it's their money which is partly buying German trains for net recipient countries like Poland or Portugal.

    So youth which supports so much EU in those countries which are net contributors to the EU, are a bit like spoilt traitors of their parents' tax money. That said, even if you have English standards of living and career prospects - there is some attraction to being able to live so easily in a lot of other developed countries which only EU makes possible.

  26. [MORE]

  27. One of the biggest reasons for not intervening to save Lukashenko‚Äôs bacon is that even should he fall, the political space that will be opened up can be exploited by Russophile forces ‚Äď hitherto repressed by the Lukashenko regime ‚Äď to street Belarus in a pro-Russian direction.

    True. This seems like a golden opportunity for Russia to step in as the ‚Äúguarantor‚ÄĚ of democracy. The odds that a pro-Russian candidate can win a free election in Belarus are still pretty decent. But those odds drop the longer Lukashenko hangs around and is perceived as surviving with Russian approval.

  28. Sounds like a plan for North Ukorea.

    To be fair, what choice do zmagarists have? Whatever they do, the economy will be , so they better already start looking for somebody to blame.

  29. @Mikhail
    In a news segment yesterday, McFaul suggested an EU and US mediating intervention that could (as he put it) include Russia.

    Talk about an insulting imperial mindset.

    Replies: @A123, @El Dato

    Isn’t McFaul that corridor-dwelling guy who can’t into Russian?

    Faul is “Rotten” or “Lazy” in German. Just sayin’

    • Replies: @Mikhail
    @El Dato

    I'm not the one propping him at a homepage, or covering up for a given entity that does so. Jus sayin.

  30. It surprises me that anyone should be surprised by any of the material discussed in the article.

    It should be crystal clear by now to even the most geopolitically naive Рand frankly even prior to the election Рthat seeing Lukashenko’s popularity dwindling and his inevitable resort to manipulation to hold on to power, highly experienced Western regime change specialists have been operating to further the goal of making Belarus another Western colony.

    The ingredients are fairly straightforward. Find a figurehead to rally around with some popular support. In this case it is Tikhanovskaya. (In Venezuela it is Gauido). Use the vast power of media, diplomatic missions, bottomless resources (To fund operations, bribe existing key regime elements) to cement her as the legitimate ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President of Ukraine while stoking legitimate anti-Lukashenko protests to support the ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President.

    Harsh US/EU Sanctions be levied against the ‚ÄúLukashenko regime‚ÄĚ with the stated goal of Lukashenko leaving and turning power over to the ‚Äútransitional President‚ÄĚ who will hold elections ‚Äúsoon‚ÄĚ. It is of course unclear as to whether once a ‚Äútransitional President‚ÄĚ takes power, elections will ever be held until it can be assured that a President with the ‚Äúright agenda‚ÄĚ will win. See the case of Bolivia where a right-wing US-backed coup ousted a highly popular left-wing indigenous leader and a ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President took over. Elections have been repeatedly postponed while the ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President has already made a sharp right turn to align with US policy in the region without any pretense of legitimacy from elections. She has left regional leftist blocs, supported the ouster of Maduro, made concessions to US corporations and so on.

    Tikhanovskaya will be visited by Western ambassadors and leaders and do tours of EU capitals as the economic situation and Lukashenko’s popularity further erodes. Key regime members defect via a combination of threats, monetary bribes and promises of continued power in the new regime.

    A tipping point moment comes and Lukashenko leaves for Russia. Tikhanovskaya triumphantly returns to Minsk. Media play up the adoring crowds.

    Even as she settles in, the forces behind her already on the move. The US ambassador to Minsk is the quarterback to the orchestrations. The IMF will promise unlimited loans based on certain reforms. Key ministries are purged of pro-Russian elements as part of these reforms and/or parallel structures created. A path out of the CSTO, Union State will be announced to ensure an ‚Äúindependent Belarus‚ÄĚ. No elections will take place until it is ensured that the only victors will all follow variations of the central theme of moving to the EU/NATO and away from Russia and fulfilling all the bullet points stated above. Given that the actual long term fate of Belarussians is not important makes this entire production easier.

    This is pretty much all written, as predictable as a Hollywood blockbuster. The producers of this particular movie are highly experienced.

    The question for Russia then is that given this predictable script, whether they have the intention or ability to introduce a plot twist to their advantage. Given their failures in their near abroad, it seems doubtful. Indeed it’s unclear as to whether even the situation at the moment is something that Russia desired or forecast whereas there is every indication that the West has prepared for this.

    • Replies: @Aedib
    @Ludwig

    Well, the Maidan script ended with an undesired outcome for the Western plotters in 2014: Crimea back to Russia.
    I don’t know what will happen with Belorussia but this attempt would hardly be a surprise for anyone. If the Kremlim let it go, it is because of its passivity.

    Replies: @Ludwig

    , @Denis
    @Ludwig

    I'll reiterate what I've argued before: at this point, hoping that the protests lead to a more pro-Russian regime on their own is simply misguided. Russia should intervene militarily and either put an end to Luka, or send him off somewhere where he can't cause trouble. After successfully restoring order to the country, Russia can deepen integration to the extent that is convenient for her.

    I think the only matter of debate should be whether the intervention is open or disguised. I am of the opinion that it should be open since Russia shouldn't show itself to be reluctant to use force in these situations.

  31. @El Dato
    @Mikhail

    Isn't McFaul that corridor-dwelling guy who can't into Russian?

    Faul is "Rotten" or "Lazy" in German. Just sayin'

    Replies: @Mikhail

    I’m not the one propping him at a homepage, or covering up for a given entity that does so. Jus sayin.

  32. @Ludwig
    It surprises me that anyone should be surprised by any of the material discussed in the article.

    It should be crystal clear by now to even the most geopolitically naive - and frankly even prior to the election - that seeing Lukashenko’s popularity dwindling and his inevitable resort to manipulation to hold on to power, highly experienced Western regime change specialists have been operating to further the goal of making Belarus another Western colony.

    The ingredients are fairly straightforward. Find a figurehead to rally around with some popular support. In this case it is Tikhanovskaya. (In Venezuela it is Gauido). Use the vast power of media, diplomatic missions, bottomless resources (To fund operations, bribe existing key regime elements) to cement her as the legitimate ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President of Ukraine while stoking legitimate anti-Lukashenko protests to support the ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President.

    Harsh US/EU Sanctions be levied against the ‚ÄúLukashenko regime‚ÄĚ with the stated goal of Lukashenko leaving and turning power over to the ‚Äútransitional President‚ÄĚ who will hold elections ‚Äúsoon‚ÄĚ. It is of course unclear as to whether once a ‚Äútransitional President‚ÄĚ takes power, elections will ever be held until it can be assured that a President with the ‚Äúright agenda‚ÄĚ will win. See the case of Bolivia where a right-wing US-backed coup ousted a highly popular left-wing indigenous leader and a ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President took over. Elections have been repeatedly postponed while the ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President has already made a sharp right turn to align with US policy in the region without any pretense of legitimacy from elections. She has left regional leftist blocs, supported the ouster of Maduro, made concessions to US corporations and so on.

    Tikhanovskaya will be visited by Western ambassadors and leaders and do tours of EU capitals as the economic situation and Lukashenko’s popularity further erodes. Key regime members defect via a combination of threats, monetary bribes and promises of continued power in the new regime.

    A tipping point moment comes and Lukashenko leaves for Russia. Tikhanovskaya triumphantly returns to Minsk. Media play up the adoring crowds.

    Even as she settles in, the forces behind her already on the move. The US ambassador to Minsk is the quarterback to the orchestrations. The IMF will promise unlimited loans based on certain reforms. Key ministries are purged of pro-Russian elements as part of these reforms and/or parallel structures created. A path out of the CSTO, Union State will be announced to ensure an ‚Äúindependent Belarus‚ÄĚ. No elections will take place until it is ensured that the only victors will all follow variations of the central theme of moving to the EU/NATO and away from Russia and fulfilling all the bullet points stated above. Given that the actual long term fate of Belarussians is not important makes this entire production easier.

    This is pretty much all written, as predictable as a Hollywood blockbuster. The producers of this particular movie are highly experienced.

    The question for Russia then is that given this predictable script, whether they have the intention or ability to introduce a plot twist to their advantage. Given their failures in their near abroad, it seems doubtful. Indeed it’s unclear as to whether even the situation at the moment is something that Russia desired or forecast whereas there is every indication that the West has prepared for this.

    Replies: @Aedib, @Denis

    Well, the Maidan script ended with an undesired outcome for the Western plotters in 2014: Crimea back to Russia.
    I don’t know what will happen with Belorussia but this attempt would hardly be a surprise for anyone. If the Kremlim let it go, it is because of its passivity.

    • Replies: @Ludwig
    @Aedib

    Yes, the loss of Crimea was a setback to the US but in the larger scheme of things, the US successfully made the bulk of Ukraine another colony. And in Donbass, Putin made the mistake of half-measures: there was a time when there was a large bloc in the South East peacefully protesting and voting against the Kiev regime and later overrun by the army directed from Kiev and fully backed (or even managed) by the US/EU. It is unclear what the strategic benefit to the Kremlin of hanging on to a portion of Donbass is and whether it was carefully wargamed or just happened leaving another frozen conflict which seems to only benefit the US.

    To be fair to Putin, he inherited a very weak geopolitical Russia and while he has undoubtedly strengthened it, it is still weak compared to the might of the US and its ever expanding EU vassals. To use a Chess metaphor it is as if he took over playing black from a series of incompetent players against a grandmaster playing white, half-way through the game. Putin can be credited for doing his best to shore up defenses to protect the dangerously exposed King - which is the Russian Federation itself - and at least aim for a prolonged end-game.

    In Belarus, it may well be that the given a choice between a military occupation of Belarus, and completely abandoning Belarus to its fate, an optimal solution for Russia would be to admit Belarus is lost but try to minimize or delay the implications of the loss. One way would be to speak up for the Belorussian people and away from the radioactive Lukashenko, and move towards trying to find accommodation with the new regime. Of course, the moment even a hint of this appears, it will be the tipping point alluded today earlier and Lukashenko would have to leave the same day.

    This is of course where the particular nuances of the local situation are key (which those like Karlin are much more knowledgeable than I). Perhaps there is a anti-Lukashenko pro-Russian popular leader who Russia can try to drum up support behind in preparation for Lukashenko’s exit. But all of these scenarios should have been wargamed even before the election - indeed way before as Lukashenko’s two timing and lack of popularity was evident, along with increased US attention on regime change in Belarus - and unless the Kremlin’s current approach is something that was carefully planned as to how to proceed in the predicted scenario, it seems from the outside to be purely reactive and without strategic purpose.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan, @anonymous coward

  33. @Mikhail


    AK: Zero people here are interested in your 15 year old beef with David Johnson. Keep those comments to your own blog.

    An anti-Russian propagandist:

    https://twitter.com/franakviacorka

    Replies: @Mikhail

    AK: Zero people here are interested in your 15 year old beef with David Johnson. Keep those comments to your own blog.

    BS on your part. A commenterat this thread asked who considers McFaul worthy? In turn, I matter of fact noted that he has been featured at the top of the JRL homepage on numerous occasions.

    Yes, it’s your venue. So feel free to cover for Dave Johnson.

  34. Chinese food in Russia or the US is not real Chinese food unless you have been to China btw. It appears that Putin is going to do exactly zero? I mean if he is planning to do something he would have done it by now.

    • Replies: @Sinotibetan
    @128

    I think Putin is not going to intervene. Looks like Lukashenko has lost support from even the siloviks and other ruling elites. Those who oppose him now probably include both pro-Western and pro-Russian folks. Instead of military intervention to prop up Lukashenko's unpopular rule, Putin may be in favour of re-negotiating Russia-Belarus relations with the next Belarusian President after a re-election. In my opinion, it's the least worst outcome for failed Russian soft power to further integrate Belarus into Russia's sphere of influence. Sadly, I think there is more likelihood of post-Lukashenko Belarus being absorbed into EU than further integration with Russia in the Union State although there is some slim chance that at least the situation remains status quo with regards to the Union State. Perhaps Putin thinks it's a less risky and less expensive option. At least, most Belarusians may not become hardened Russophobes....

  35. @Hartnell
    @Dmitry

    Yes this is my concern too Dmitry. It is always about the bloody EU. To be honest, I do wonder if the youth really do care about their country anymore or if they really do care about themselves....I mean, the EU continues to fill up with more Islamic migrants each year and the idiots in this video want to join it!? I guess it really is a huge case of selfish "me, me me" individualism over what is the right direction for the country.

    You know, if it wasn't for the EU lovers, I'd actually be sympathetic to the protesters if they promised to genuinely build a patriotic state that remained neutral to both sides. But this huge desire to join with the West is a step too far. But once again, they care about money and the false dreams the EU will give them....

    Replies: @Dmitry

    EU is not just a machine for transferring vast amounts of money from the wealthy net contributor countries of Europe, to the relatively poor net recipient countries. But it also allows those people lucky enough to have a EU member passport to live freely in any member country they want, as if choosing from a menu.

    And this EU menu has some of the world’s best and most successful countries, with the best infrastructure, health service, education systems, transportation, and careers. I.e. choose from your menu from such elite countries as:

    Germany
    UK
    Sweden
    Ireland
    Netherlands
    Austria

    Then in addition, EU menu, also includes less successful Latin countries, but which have the most attractive lifestyle, health service, longest life expediencies and where it’s at least convenient to be able to vacation without the visa, even if you couldn’t ever attain a job there:

    Italy
    Spain
    France

    Maybe some of the only countries in the world you would need to add to make EU more attractive for living, are:

    Japan,
    Australia,
    USA
    Canada

    Otherwise EU has most of the most attractive countries.

    To be honest, I do wonder if the youth really do care about their country anymore or if they really do care about themselve

    The most wealthy North-West European countries in the EU like UK, Netherlands, etc, are the great financial victims of the EU – it’s their money which is partly buying German trains for net recipient countries like Poland or Portugal.

    So youth which supports so much EU in those countries which are net contributors to the EU, are a bit like spoilt traitors of their parents’ tax money. That said, even if you have English standards of living and career prospects – there is some attraction to being able to live so easily in a lot of other developed countries which only EU makes possible.

    • Agree: AltanBakshi
  36. @Aedib
    @Ludwig

    Well, the Maidan script ended with an undesired outcome for the Western plotters in 2014: Crimea back to Russia.
    I don’t know what will happen with Belorussia but this attempt would hardly be a surprise for anyone. If the Kremlim let it go, it is because of its passivity.

    Replies: @Ludwig

    Yes, the loss of Crimea was a setback to the US but in the larger scheme of things, the US successfully made the bulk of Ukraine another colony. And in Donbass, Putin made the mistake of half-measures: there was a time when there was a large bloc in the South East peacefully protesting and voting against the Kiev regime and later overrun by the army directed from Kiev and fully backed (or even managed) by the US/EU. It is unclear what the strategic benefit to the Kremlin of hanging on to a portion of Donbass is and whether it was carefully wargamed or just happened leaving another frozen conflict which seems to only benefit the US.

    To be fair to Putin, he inherited a very weak geopolitical Russia and while he has undoubtedly strengthened it, it is still weak compared to the might of the US and its ever expanding EU vassals. To use a Chess metaphor it is as if he took over playing black from a series of incompetent players against a grandmaster playing white, half-way through the game. Putin can be credited for doing his best to shore up defenses to protect the dangerously exposed King – which is the Russian Federation itself – and at least aim for a prolonged end-game.

    In Belarus, it may well be that the given a choice between a military occupation of Belarus, and completely abandoning Belarus to its fate, an optimal solution for Russia would be to admit Belarus is lost but try to minimize or delay the implications of the loss. One way would be to speak up for the Belorussian people and away from the radioactive Lukashenko, and move towards trying to find accommodation with the new regime. Of course, the moment even a hint of this appears, it will be the tipping point alluded today earlier and Lukashenko would have to leave the same day.

    This is of course where the particular nuances of the local situation are key (which those like Karlin are much more knowledgeable than I). Perhaps there is a anti-Lukashenko pro-Russian popular leader who Russia can try to drum up support behind in preparation for Lukashenko’s exit. But all of these scenarios should have been wargamed even before the election Рindeed way before as Lukashenko’s two timing and lack of popularity was evident, along with increased US attention on regime change in Belarus Рand unless the Kremlin’s current approach is something that was carefully planned as to how to proceed in the predicted scenario, it seems from the outside to be purely reactive and without strategic purpose.

    • Replies: @Sinotibetan
    @Ludwig

    Unfortunately, I think the Kremlin is trying to salvage a lost cause with regards to Belarus. Both Lukashenko and Putin miscalculated. The Victor = Washington and EU.

    Lukashenko played a dangerous game flirting with the West and her vassals(USA, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Poland, EU etc) while resisting further integration with Russia. He miscalculated thinking the West was the 'lesser evil'.

    Putin miscalculated thinking that by weakening Belarus economically, Lukashenko might cave in to the demands for tighter integration. I think Putin was even trying to prop up pro Russian opposition towards Lukashenko. Instead, it is now leading to regime change, to one that will likely be assimilated into the EU and a vassal of the West.

    With regards to soft power to instigate regime change and vassalage, Putin and co seem amateurish compared to those in power in the EU and Washington.

    Replies: @Philip Owen

    , @anonymous coward
    @Ludwig


    ...the US successfully made the bulk of Ukraine another colony.

     

    Colony? That clay is absolutely worthless to everyone, the unfortunate souls living on it included.

    As you already noticed, the most fervent Ukrainian patriots are those who prefer to live as far away from it as possible.
  37. @128
    Chinese food in Russia or the US is not real Chinese food unless you have been to China btw. It appears that Putin is going to do exactly zero? I mean if he is planning to do something he would have done it by now.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan

    I think Putin is not going to intervene. Looks like Lukashenko has lost support from even the siloviks and other ruling elites. Those who oppose him now probably include both pro-Western and pro-Russian folks. Instead of military intervention to prop up Lukashenko’s unpopular rule, Putin may be in favour of re-negotiating Russia-Belarus relations with the next Belarusian President after a re-election. In my opinion, it’s the least worst outcome for failed Russian soft power to further integrate Belarus into Russia’s sphere of influence. Sadly, I think there is more likelihood of post-Lukashenko Belarus being absorbed into EU than further integration with Russia in the Union State although there is some slim chance that at least the situation remains status quo with regards to the Union State. Perhaps Putin thinks it’s a less risky and less expensive option. At least, most Belarusians may not become hardened Russophobes….

  38. @Ludwig
    @Aedib

    Yes, the loss of Crimea was a setback to the US but in the larger scheme of things, the US successfully made the bulk of Ukraine another colony. And in Donbass, Putin made the mistake of half-measures: there was a time when there was a large bloc in the South East peacefully protesting and voting against the Kiev regime and later overrun by the army directed from Kiev and fully backed (or even managed) by the US/EU. It is unclear what the strategic benefit to the Kremlin of hanging on to a portion of Donbass is and whether it was carefully wargamed or just happened leaving another frozen conflict which seems to only benefit the US.

    To be fair to Putin, he inherited a very weak geopolitical Russia and while he has undoubtedly strengthened it, it is still weak compared to the might of the US and its ever expanding EU vassals. To use a Chess metaphor it is as if he took over playing black from a series of incompetent players against a grandmaster playing white, half-way through the game. Putin can be credited for doing his best to shore up defenses to protect the dangerously exposed King - which is the Russian Federation itself - and at least aim for a prolonged end-game.

    In Belarus, it may well be that the given a choice between a military occupation of Belarus, and completely abandoning Belarus to its fate, an optimal solution for Russia would be to admit Belarus is lost but try to minimize or delay the implications of the loss. One way would be to speak up for the Belorussian people and away from the radioactive Lukashenko, and move towards trying to find accommodation with the new regime. Of course, the moment even a hint of this appears, it will be the tipping point alluded today earlier and Lukashenko would have to leave the same day.

    This is of course where the particular nuances of the local situation are key (which those like Karlin are much more knowledgeable than I). Perhaps there is a anti-Lukashenko pro-Russian popular leader who Russia can try to drum up support behind in preparation for Lukashenko’s exit. But all of these scenarios should have been wargamed even before the election - indeed way before as Lukashenko’s two timing and lack of popularity was evident, along with increased US attention on regime change in Belarus - and unless the Kremlin’s current approach is something that was carefully planned as to how to proceed in the predicted scenario, it seems from the outside to be purely reactive and without strategic purpose.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan, @anonymous coward

    Unfortunately, I think the Kremlin is trying to salvage a lost cause with regards to Belarus. Both Lukashenko and Putin miscalculated. The Victor = Washington and EU.

    Lukashenko played a dangerous game flirting with the West and her vassals(USA, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Poland, EU etc) while resisting further integration with Russia. He miscalculated thinking the West was the ‘lesser evil’.

    Putin miscalculated thinking that by weakening Belarus economically, Lukashenko might cave in to the demands for tighter integration. I think Putin was even trying to prop up pro Russian opposition towards Lukashenko. Instead, it is now leading to regime change, to one that will likely be assimilated into the EU and a vassal of the West.

    With regards to soft power to instigate regime change and vassalage, Putin and co seem amateurish compared to those in power in the EU and Washington.

    • Disagree: RadicalCenter
    • Replies: @Philip Owen
    @Sinotibetan

    Putin's ability to miscalculate foreign affairs seems unlimited. He was a brilliant domestic reformer but his foreign policy has undermined his acheivements. He reached his sell by date in 2008. He needs to work out how to avoid the same end as Lukashenko. Khabrovsk is an indicator.

  39. @Ludwig
    @Aedib

    Yes, the loss of Crimea was a setback to the US but in the larger scheme of things, the US successfully made the bulk of Ukraine another colony. And in Donbass, Putin made the mistake of half-measures: there was a time when there was a large bloc in the South East peacefully protesting and voting against the Kiev regime and later overrun by the army directed from Kiev and fully backed (or even managed) by the US/EU. It is unclear what the strategic benefit to the Kremlin of hanging on to a portion of Donbass is and whether it was carefully wargamed or just happened leaving another frozen conflict which seems to only benefit the US.

    To be fair to Putin, he inherited a very weak geopolitical Russia and while he has undoubtedly strengthened it, it is still weak compared to the might of the US and its ever expanding EU vassals. To use a Chess metaphor it is as if he took over playing black from a series of incompetent players against a grandmaster playing white, half-way through the game. Putin can be credited for doing his best to shore up defenses to protect the dangerously exposed King - which is the Russian Federation itself - and at least aim for a prolonged end-game.

    In Belarus, it may well be that the given a choice between a military occupation of Belarus, and completely abandoning Belarus to its fate, an optimal solution for Russia would be to admit Belarus is lost but try to minimize or delay the implications of the loss. One way would be to speak up for the Belorussian people and away from the radioactive Lukashenko, and move towards trying to find accommodation with the new regime. Of course, the moment even a hint of this appears, it will be the tipping point alluded today earlier and Lukashenko would have to leave the same day.

    This is of course where the particular nuances of the local situation are key (which those like Karlin are much more knowledgeable than I). Perhaps there is a anti-Lukashenko pro-Russian popular leader who Russia can try to drum up support behind in preparation for Lukashenko’s exit. But all of these scenarios should have been wargamed even before the election - indeed way before as Lukashenko’s two timing and lack of popularity was evident, along with increased US attention on regime change in Belarus - and unless the Kremlin’s current approach is something that was carefully planned as to how to proceed in the predicted scenario, it seems from the outside to be purely reactive and without strategic purpose.

    Replies: @Sinotibetan, @anonymous coward

    …the US successfully made the bulk of Ukraine another colony.

    Colony? That clay is absolutely worthless to everyone, the unfortunate souls living on it included.

    As you already noticed, the most fervent Ukrainian patriots are those who prefer to live as far away from it as possible.

    • Agree: AltanBakshi
  40. @Sinotibetan
    @Ludwig

    Unfortunately, I think the Kremlin is trying to salvage a lost cause with regards to Belarus. Both Lukashenko and Putin miscalculated. The Victor = Washington and EU.

    Lukashenko played a dangerous game flirting with the West and her vassals(USA, the Baltic States, Ukraine, Poland, EU etc) while resisting further integration with Russia. He miscalculated thinking the West was the 'lesser evil'.

    Putin miscalculated thinking that by weakening Belarus economically, Lukashenko might cave in to the demands for tighter integration. I think Putin was even trying to prop up pro Russian opposition towards Lukashenko. Instead, it is now leading to regime change, to one that will likely be assimilated into the EU and a vassal of the West.

    With regards to soft power to instigate regime change and vassalage, Putin and co seem amateurish compared to those in power in the EU and Washington.

    Replies: @Philip Owen

    Putin’s ability to miscalculate foreign affairs seems unlimited. He was a brilliant domestic reformer but his foreign policy has undermined his acheivements. He reached his sell by date in 2008. He needs to work out how to avoid the same end as Lukashenko. Khabrovsk is an indicator.

  41. @Ludwig
    It surprises me that anyone should be surprised by any of the material discussed in the article.

    It should be crystal clear by now to even the most geopolitically naive - and frankly even prior to the election - that seeing Lukashenko’s popularity dwindling and his inevitable resort to manipulation to hold on to power, highly experienced Western regime change specialists have been operating to further the goal of making Belarus another Western colony.

    The ingredients are fairly straightforward. Find a figurehead to rally around with some popular support. In this case it is Tikhanovskaya. (In Venezuela it is Gauido). Use the vast power of media, diplomatic missions, bottomless resources (To fund operations, bribe existing key regime elements) to cement her as the legitimate ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President of Ukraine while stoking legitimate anti-Lukashenko protests to support the ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President.

    Harsh US/EU Sanctions be levied against the ‚ÄúLukashenko regime‚ÄĚ with the stated goal of Lukashenko leaving and turning power over to the ‚Äútransitional President‚ÄĚ who will hold elections ‚Äúsoon‚ÄĚ. It is of course unclear as to whether once a ‚Äútransitional President‚ÄĚ takes power, elections will ever be held until it can be assured that a President with the ‚Äúright agenda‚ÄĚ will win. See the case of Bolivia where a right-wing US-backed coup ousted a highly popular left-wing indigenous leader and a ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President took over. Elections have been repeatedly postponed while the ‚Äútransitional‚ÄĚ President has already made a sharp right turn to align with US policy in the region without any pretense of legitimacy from elections. She has left regional leftist blocs, supported the ouster of Maduro, made concessions to US corporations and so on.

    Tikhanovskaya will be visited by Western ambassadors and leaders and do tours of EU capitals as the economic situation and Lukashenko’s popularity further erodes. Key regime members defect via a combination of threats, monetary bribes and promises of continued power in the new regime.

    A tipping point moment comes and Lukashenko leaves for Russia. Tikhanovskaya triumphantly returns to Minsk. Media play up the adoring crowds.

    Even as she settles in, the forces behind her already on the move. The US ambassador to Minsk is the quarterback to the orchestrations. The IMF will promise unlimited loans based on certain reforms. Key ministries are purged of pro-Russian elements as part of these reforms and/or parallel structures created. A path out of the CSTO, Union State will be announced to ensure an ‚Äúindependent Belarus‚ÄĚ. No elections will take place until it is ensured that the only victors will all follow variations of the central theme of moving to the EU/NATO and away from Russia and fulfilling all the bullet points stated above. Given that the actual long term fate of Belarussians is not important makes this entire production easier.

    This is pretty much all written, as predictable as a Hollywood blockbuster. The producers of this particular movie are highly experienced.

    The question for Russia then is that given this predictable script, whether they have the intention or ability to introduce a plot twist to their advantage. Given their failures in their near abroad, it seems doubtful. Indeed it’s unclear as to whether even the situation at the moment is something that Russia desired or forecast whereas there is every indication that the West has prepared for this.

    Replies: @Aedib, @Denis

    I’ll reiterate what I’ve argued before: at this point, hoping that the protests lead to a more pro-Russian regime on their own is simply misguided. Russia should intervene militarily and either put an end to Luka, or send him off somewhere where he can’t cause trouble. After successfully restoring order to the country, Russia can deepen integration to the extent that is convenient for her.

    I think the only matter of debate should be whether the intervention is open or disguised. I am of the opinion that it should be open since Russia shouldn’t show itself to be reluctant to use force in these situations.

    • Agree: mal
  42. I think the only matter of debate should be whether the intervention is open or disguised

    Their ‘disguised’ indecisive-looking intervention in Donbass wasn’t very impressive and, besides, nobody in the world fell for it anyway. Since Russia will own the international consequences of any action in Belarus surely trying to disguise it will be interpreted by the US/EU as a Russia lacking in confidence.

    • Agree: reiner Tor
    • Replies: @Denis
    @Matra

    I feel the same way. The sole benefit is that it allows for deniability, but in this case, I think that it would be interpreted as a lack of confidence as well.

  43. @Matra
    I think the only matter of debate should be whether the intervention is open or disguised

    Their 'disguised' indecisive-looking intervention in Donbass wasn't very impressive and, besides, nobody in the world fell for it anyway. Since Russia will own the international consequences of any action in Belarus surely trying to disguise it will be interpreted by the US/EU as a Russia lacking in confidence.

    Replies: @Denis

    I feel the same way. The sole benefit is that it allows for deniability, but in this case, I think that it would be interpreted as a lack of confidence as well.

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