Belarus: Lukashenka Faces Not A Maidan As In Ukraine But A Revolution Like In Romania – OpEd

The Lukashenka regime is reacting to the popular protests in a completely inadequate way, Dmitry Galko says. It thinks it must take steps to ward off a Ukrainian-style Maidan even though that is impossible in Belarus and as a result it is bringing closer a more horrific scenario involving “an unorganized and spontaneous popular rising.”

On the BelarusPartisan portal, the Belarusian commentator says that there are only “three variants” of a way out of the current impasse: the introduction of martial law, a real revolution, or “broad concessions to civil society … a significant transformation of the system and a transition … to dialogue” (belaruspartisan.org/politic/373488/).

Only the last of these would be something positive for Belarus, but if the authorities choose “not it but the first, then things will quickly shift to the second; and the second in turn in an attempt at occupation by the cursed ally [in this case, the Russian Federation], with all ensuring charms,” Galko says.

But the Lukashenka regime is not preparing for any of these three scenarios, he says; it is preparing for “a fourth – the repetition in Belarus of a Ukrainian Maidan,” something that Galko says “under our conditions is completely realistic.”

Many people assume that the Ukrainian Maidan was a revolution; but it wasn’t, the Belarusian analyst says. “It grew into an uprising which ended with the flight of Yanukovich and the collapse of the ruling Party of the Regions, two months after it began.”

The events lasted that long, he continues, “not because a critical mass of people” did not come into the streets capable of overthrowing the powers that be in Kyiv but rather because the Ukrainians at the Maidan did not set as their goal his overthrow.

“Despite the assertions of the opponents of the Maidan, Galko says, who insist that “it was a state overthrow, in fact, the Maidan was an instrument of pressure by the opposition on the authorities, a factor of in part public and in part behind the scenes negotiations.” And the Ukrainian opposition opposed anything more radical in order to achieve its ends.

The Ukrainian opposition “achieved a political victory with minimal costs. The political leaders of the Maidan were an opposition not in the Belarusian sense of the word, that is, not a semi-underground and permanently persecuted group of dissidents, but part of the system of power in Ukraine.”

“At a definite moment, “the opposition politicians were ready to reach an agreement with Yanukovich.” But the Ukrainian president grew frightened and fled and power passed into the hands of the crowd. When that happened, Galko says, “the Maidan began to be transformed from a factor of negotiation into an uprising.”

But in Belarus, “there will not be a Maidan because in Belarus there is no politics, no space for negotiations, no subjects for negotiation, and no one to reach agreement with.” That doesn’t mean, however, “that we will not have a revolution. Just the reverse: revolutions can occur over a few days when the moment arises.”

“It is practically impossible to struggle against a broad popular uprising,” Galko says, unless you have as many tanks as they do in China. “But for this, one must be China. And Belarus isn’t China.”

A Belarusian revolution can be forestalled “only by broad concessions to society which is simply bubbling with dissatisfaction. Using more repression won’t work. On the contrary, such a step will only accelerate things.”

According to Galko, “it would be better if the [Minsk] authorities would keep in their head a picture not from Kyiv in 2013-2014 but rather the Romanian revolution of 1989 which began more than suddenly, lasted only a week, and ended as everyone knows in ways very bad fr the ruling hierarchy.”

“Among East European countries of the socialist camp,” he continues, “Romania was the least democratic or ‘the harshest’ if one uses the terminology of the Belarusian president, with ideal order … [And] therefore the overthrow of communism became there were quick and extremely bloody.”

And he concludes: “the more ‘velvet’ were the regimes in the socialist camp, the more peaceful changes occurred in them. This is a completely logical pattern,” about which Belarusians in general and Alyaksandr Lukashenka should be thinking, especially when the population is so dissatisfied and angry.

Paul Goble

Paul Goble

Paul Goble is a longtime specialist on ethnic and religious questions in Eurasia. Most recently, he was director of research and publications at the Azerbaijan Diplomatic Academy. Earlier, he served as vice dean for the social sciences and humanities at Audentes University in Tallinn and a senior research associate at the EuroCollege of the University of Tartu in Estonia. He has served in various capacities in the U.S. State Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the International Broadcasting Bureau as well as at the Voice of America and Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. Mr. Goble maintains the Window on Eurasia blog and can be contacted directly at [email protected] .

2 thoughts on “Belarus: Lukashenka Faces Not A Maidan As In Ukraine But A Revolution Like In Romania – OpEd

  • March 15, 2017 at 12:38 pm
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    The U.S. is trying to separate people like Russians/Belorussians/Ukrainians who are all of Slavic race and at the same time trying to integrate people of vastly different races. WOW!!

    Reply
  • March 19, 2017 at 5:32 pm
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    Really? We’re supposed to take seriously this wondrous source of Goble’s, Galko, who holds up the Romanian “revolution” of ’89 as model example of popular revolt? Even the mainstream, co-opted press and the likes of state mouthpiece BBC admit what genuinely independent, investigative journalists (a dying breed, often literally) have been digging up virtually since 25.12.89: that the so-called revolution in Romania was nothing of the kind, but was instead a (long-planned) CIA-MI6 operation, executed (pardon) with lightning speed and brutal force. Besides those foreign agents despatching the Ceaucescus in that operation, some 10,000 Romanian people were killed in those weeks, in the familiar pattern both prior (Gdansk dockyard deaths: Exceptionally mysterious snipers, Venezuela 2002: Exceptionally mysterious snipers… and others) and subsequent (Kiev philharmonic hall 2014: Exceptionally mysterious snipers, Bangkok 2012: Exceptionally mysterious snipers… and others since). There is simply masses of information about the events in Kiev in ’13-’14, and again, like the Romanian events, much of the mainstream media now acknowledges at least part of the truth about the “maidan”. available for the grasping. Take a look, for instance, at the 6-part documentary on it by the German journalist and filmmaker Susanne Brandstätter: Checkmate: Strategy of a Revolution. Or Ottawa University professor Ivan Katchanovski findings, similarly, reports in Germany’s Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung, BBC documentary films, a documentary film by Beck-Hoffman, and so on.

    In any case, Goble has clearly got a bee in his bonnet about fictitious trouble brewing in Belarus, and is flailing around to concoct an evidential basis for his hypothesis out of the flimsiest of sources. Thus we have this Galkov, with his Romanian revolution fairytale; two days ago, we had clearly disaffected “Belarusian political scientist” Usov, with a far-fetched and irrelevant hypothesis about a “5-stage process” that Lukashenko putatively follows when discontent brews, and the day before that a general postulation by Goble about a supposedly imminent “maidan” (perhaps because Belarusians are utterly blind to the appalling situation in their southern neighbour, resulting from the Kagan-concocted, Washington-driven Kiev “maidan”), and furthermore, Belarusians, having been fooled into believing the Kiev “maidan” was some sort of spontaneous expression of discontent (such as Goble perceives to be imminent in Minsk), remain totally oblivious to the thousands of Ukrainians still (still!) streaming across their border into Belarus, as well as through their country and into Poland and (yes) into Russia. Note, these are Ukrainians come from across the spectrum, from both the western and the eastern reaches of the country, making their way into the safe havens provided “dictator” Lukashenko and “hitler” Putin.

    Astounding that the Belarusians are so “driven into passivity”, as Usov puts it, so “bubbling with dissatisfaction”, as Galko has it.
    Nice dream for the Kagans, the McCains, Washington and Langley. But this isn’t the reality for the many, diverse Belarusian I deal with from day to day, nor is it recognisable for those with a brain connected to their eyes and ears. But let’s not spoil a good story…

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