Russian Agents In Minsk Pushing Lukashenka To Crack Down Hard – OpEd

Russian agents in the Belarusian security services along with Russian agents in the blogosphere are calling on Alyaksandr Lukashenka not to make any concessions to the protesters but rather to crack down hard as he did in 2010, according to Minsk analysts.

Such an action would not only completely block any possibility that Lukashenka could achieve a further rapprochement with the West and thus force Minsk back into Moscow’s tight embrace but also spark the kind of clashes that the Russian government could use to justify armed intervention in Belarus.

Analysts at the Minsk Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Research have released a new study arguing that “the special services are misinforming [Lukashenka] by playing on his fears of ‘a Ukrainian trace’ in the protests” and thus blocking any concessions and pushing him toward a crackdown.

(For the Center’s Crisis Watch report on this subject, see csfps.by/new-research/ukrainskiy-sled-i-otkrytaya-dezinformaciya; for a discussion of its content and other actions by pro-Moscow forces inside Belarus, see Dmitry Galko’s survey on the BelarusPartisan portal at belaruspartisan.org/politic/373563/.)

According to Galko, one can conclude on the basis of the center’s report that Lukashenka “is ready to make some wise steps and concessions in the existing situation to lower social tension. But there exists a certain force which is leading him in the opposite direction by suggesting the fake danger in the form of ‘a Ukrainian scenario.’”

Some of these people are located in the Belarusian force structures. Others are involved at the edges of the protests. But the fundamental message is the same as it was in December 2010 when pro-Moscow groups told Lukashenka that he had no choice but to crack down given when Moscow would do if he didn’t.

This message, the center suggests and Galko confirms, is “direct disinformation” intended to push Lukashenka toward the abyss because a crackdown of the kind the pro-Moscow forces want would lead to one of several disasters ranging from violence inside the country to Russian intervention.

Avoiding those outcomes, Galko says, is in the interest not only of Lukashenka but also of the opposition because “an attempt to repeat the scenario of December 2010 this time can grow into a Romanian scenario” and then to “hybrid aggression” by Russia of the kind it has been using in Ukraine’s Donbass. “This scenario is being prepared,” he says.

Galko makes an additional contribution by analyzing posts on the Tuneyadets.by social group (ok.ru/group/53457858920638). That is a pro-Moscow group consisting largely or exclusively of Russians from Russia that is pushing Moscow’s line at the expense of Belarus and adding to the pressures on Lukashenka.

But the far greater threat comes from Russian agents inside the Belarusian government, he and the center’s report suggest. “If one considers that in the leadership of the Belarusian special services are certain overt or covert agents of the Kremlin, the situation is becoming extremely explosive.”

“It is possible,” Galko says, “that we are standing at the brink of attempts to carry out hybrid aggression against our country.” And he ends by concluding with the words of Maksim Filipovich, the opposition figure who was arrested in full view of the television audience: “Aleksandr Grigoryevich [Lukashenka] what are you creating?”


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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 “Russian Agents In Minsk Pushing Lukashenka To Crack Down Hard – OpEd

  • March 16, 2017 at 9:57 am
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    Belarus will not be another Ukraine. Russia/Belarus/Ukraine an alliance of 200,000,000 identical Slavs with vast energy/mineral/’black earth” resources will be the next step.Have 8,000,000 square miles of territory and thousands of nukes with which to defend themselves.

    Reply
  • March 19, 2017 at 8:24 pm
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    ^^^ Walter, you are quite right, they won’t be. It is unfortunate, though, that in the Manifestly deliberate chaos in Ukraine, the Bidens, Monsanto (now cowering behind the name Bayer), Dow, Syngenta and the rest of the odious far-western crew have secured a toe-hold on Ukraine’s black soils and other riches.

    Reply

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