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Belarus Watch Thread

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#1
SkittleBlu

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Lukashenko reassures EU that Belarus is a ‘reliable partner’

 

 

Belarusian President Aleksander Lukashenko has been reassuring the European Union that he remains committed to the Eastern Partnership amidst ongoing reports of ever-closer ties with Russia.

 
“We think that neighbours are given by God, they cannot be chosen and that is why it is necessary to develop ties with them. And because of that we will always be a reliable partner of the European Union,” said Mr Lukashenko.
 
Speaking in Minsk at the start of a fresh round of negotiations with EU Commissioner for Budget and Human Resources, Gunther Oettinger, Mr Lukashenko stressed that “there always have been and always will be [problems], but they are certainly not of a chronic nature and should be resolved.”
 
“The European Union and Belarus have made good progress on a number of initiatives in the bilateral relationship over the last three years,” Mr Oettinger added.

 

https://emerging-eur...liable-partner/

 

Comes after Lukashenko said his country was ready to “unite” with Russia. Belarus is a vulnerable country caught in the middle of tensions between Russia and the West. It therefore can’t lean too heavily on one side. But how much longer can it maintain this delicate balancing act?



#2
PhoenixRu2020

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Lukashenko reassures EU that Belarus is a ‘reliable partner’

 

At the same time:

 

Lukashenko expressed concerns about the possible deployment of medium-range and shorter-range missiles in Europe

 

The President noted that the relevant topic was discussed during his meeting with President Vladimir Putin... 

 

Alexander Lukashenko stressed that he believes that Russian side did not violated the agreement...

 

As for the potential threat to Belarus, the President stressed that "this is a catastrophe, especially for us... "

 

“I’m afraid Americans will seize the moment - they have already broken this treaty and they will deploy rockets in Europe. Therefore, we will have to think about the response measures together with Russia. There’s no way to escape this...”

 

The president expressed the opinion that NATO will still deploy such missiles in Europe: "It seems to me that even though the NATO declares that they are not going to deploy these missiles in Europe, this is just a bluff. Otherwise, why was this agreement to be destroyed? It was necessary to negotiate to connect China (to the agreement) if it was about China."



#3
eacao

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(YouTube) China In The Intermarium: The Ukraine and Belarus Connections

 

Institute of World Politics (IWP) presentation on China's activities in Eastern Europe. 

 

https://www.youtube....h?v=kvgU8FNa8oM


If you're going through hell, keep going. - Winston Churchill

You don't decide your future. You decide your habits, and your habits decide your future.
Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power. - Abraham Lincoln.


#4
SkittleBlu

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Belarus’ Strategic Solitude

 

 

WARSAW: Over the past two decades, relations between Russia and Belarus have been in constant flux. Both countries share a Soviet legacy and strong ethnic ties, but these have not stopped them from playing hard ball with each other. Moscow and Minsk have developed deep interdependence, and main bones of contention usually encompass business and military matters.

 
Throughout 2018, Belarusian-Russian tensions over energy issues resulted in belligerent rhetoric from both sides. Today the problem focuses on a new tax regime for oil introduced by Russia. This tax maneuver would cost the Belarusian economy billions of dollars and President Alexander Lukashenko is concerned about serious internal perturbations undermining his authoritarian grip over the nation of about 10 million people. Lukashenko has been president since 1994.
 
Russia offers an alternative solution, or ultimatum, as some observers argue. A deal would coerce Belarus into deeper integration with Moscow and, in return, Russian subsidies for Minsk would be kept intact. President Vladimir Putin met with his Belarusian counterpart twice in December and again in February to discuss the divergent positions: In sum, Russia concentrates on restricting Belarus’ foreign policy while lowering the alliance's costs for the Kremlin’s budget while Minsk pushes for greater independence and more non-returnable loans.
 
With this latest episode in a series of Russia-Belarus disputes, it is increasingly evident that Belarus lacks reliable partners and alliances even as it shares borders with four countries besides Russia – Latvia, Lithuania, Poland and Ukraine. The West has had difficulties dealing with the regime still deemed authoritarian, one demonstrating little respect for civil liberties and human rights. Russia for its part often treats Minsk instrumentally, applying pressure and striking convenient bargains with Lukashenko as needed. Consequently, Lukashenko has skillfully pursued a multi-vector foreign policy.
 
The 2013/2014 revolution in Ukraine, annexation of Crimea, and the war in Donbas were milestones that again altered Minsk’s relations with Moscow and the West. After these destabilizing events in its direct neighborhood, Belarus issued a statement calling for peace, and the government has not recognized Crimea as Russian territory.
 
In the years that followed the crisis in Ukraine, Belarusian authorities have stressed neutrality as a fundamental tenet of the country’s foreign policy – this can only be a quick fix that neither facilitates relations with the European Union and the United States nor satisfies the Kremlin. Still, the strategy is efficient, considering that the Lukashenko regime’s overriding goal is self-preservation. Neutrality does not enlarge Minsk’s circle of friends, but as the prime objective is to exert lucrative concessions from both Moscow and the West, the approach is relatively successful.
 
Lukashenko has played Russia and the West off one another for the past 25 years. He reverts to public diplomacy any time his economic or political interests are endangered and repeatedly accuses Moscow of using coercion to convince Minsk to further integration. During the 2018 state-of-the-nation address, he said that strained relations with Moscow would not stop Belarus from seeking cooperation with Brussels and Washington.

 

https://www.realclea...ude_112977.html



#5
SkittleBlu

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Belarus leader seeks better ties with West despite Russian 'hysterics'

 

 

MINSK (Reuters) - Belarus will seek better ties with the West even though this provokes “hysterics” from its traditional ally Russia, long-serving President Alexander Lukashenko said on Tuesday, a day after lifting a cap of five U.S. diplomats in his country.

 
Belarus is trying to improve ties with the West after a number of disputes with Moscow, which has announced cuts to subsidies that have long kept the country of 9.5 million people in Russia’s orbit.
 
Lukashenko’s comments suggested he had not ironed out differences with Russia’s Vladimir Putin after several meetings, including on a Russian tax change which Belarus says will cost its budget $400 million this year.
 
Speaking of NATO and the EU at a government meeting, Lukashenko said, “We should talk to them, we should not look at them as enemies.
 
“Ideally, the western and eastern directions of Belarusian foreign policy should balance each other,” he said, as quoted by the state news agency BelTA.
 
Belarus cooperating with the West “causes some kind of allergic reaction and sometimes hysterics from our main partner the Russian Federation,” Lukashenko said. “The question is, why are you being hysterical?”

 

https://www.reuters....s-idUSKCN1QM1Q2

 

Belarus is trying to reach out to the West, but its continued dependency on Russia means it can't stray too far.



#6
Sciencerocks

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Russia May Absorb Belarus: 'We're Ready to Unite,' President Says

Source: Newsweek



The president of Belarus has said the country is ready to unite with long-time ally Russia, raising the prospect of Moscow absorbing the eastern European dictatorship on the borders of Poland and Lithuania.

President Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled the former Soviet state since the presidential post was created in 1994, said Friday his nation was ready to join with Russia, The Moscow Times reported.

Lukashenko made the comments on the third and final day of bilateral talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Rumors have long abounded that Belarus could be absorbed into Russia under Putin’s watch, deepening the “union state” arrangement that has existed between them since the late 1990s.

 

Read more: https://www.newsweek...ashenko-1333800



#7
wjfox

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Belarus election: Lukashenko's claim of landslide victory sparks widespread protests

Mon 10 Aug 2020 09.42 BST

Clashes broke out in cities across Belarus on Sunday evening as riot police used rubber bullets, flash grenades, teargas and water cannon to quash protests against the results of the contested presidential election.

Alexander Lukashenko, who has ruled for 26 years, claimed he had won a landslide victory in an election marred by accusations of vote-rigging. The election commission announced on Monday that Lukashenko took 80.23% of the votes while his main opposition challenger Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, who has held some of the country’s largest political rallies since the days of the Soviet Union, had only 9.9%.

Large protests broke out soon after the polls closed in Minsk, where a crowd of thousands gathered in the centre of the capital. A reporter for the Guardian saw police use water cannon against protesters and was fired on by rubber bullets. Opponents of Lukashenko chanted, “Leave!” Police made dozens of arrests. In one video, an army truck appeared to run into a protester.

On Monday morning Reuters reported that at least one person was killed after being knocked over by a police prisoner van and dozens were injured.

Fighting was also reported in approximately 20 other cities, including Gomel and Vitebsk. In several smaller cities, however, riot police were reported to have refused to engage protesters or retreated.

https://www.theguard...y-fixing-claims



#8
wjfox

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Sveta Bozhko
@SBozhko

It's been a long and sad day. My right to vote has been stolen.

Like hundreds of other Belarusians living in the UK, today I came to the Embassy of Belarus in London to vote for President.

And guess what?

6+ hours queuing and no success. They were allowing ~12 voters per hour.

11:22 PM · Aug 9, 2020 from Kensington, London

[ Video ]



#9
caltrek

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How a homemaker with no political experience took on Europe’s longest-serving dictator

 

https://www.vox.com/...o-protest-minsk

 

Extract:

(Vox) The 65-year-old former collective farm director jailed two of the three top opposition candidates and barred the third from running; he also detained journalists and even alleged Russian mercenaries the regime claimed were trying to disrupt the election prior to the vote.

 

But his tactics didn’t quell people’s aspirations for democracy. It lit them on fire — thanks in part to the efforts of one determined stay-at-home mom.

 

The homemaker versus the dictator

 

One of Lukashenko’s main opponents in this year’s election was Sergei Tikhanovsky, a famous YouTuber who made his name highlighting Belarus’s many problems. Two days after he announced his candidacy for president, he was arrested by the regime on charges of violating public order and election laws.

 

That might’ve been the end of the story. But it wasn’t: That’s because his wife, a 37-year-old former English translator turned homemaker named Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, stepped in to run for president instead.

 

She proved wildly successful, coalescing a nationwide movement to defeat the longtime leader and then hold actually fair elections. That she did so despite having no political experience, acknowledging she didn’t want to be president, and reminding crowds she’d prefer to be making cutlets for her children made her rise all the more surprising.

 

Here is an article filed by CNN shortly before the election giving further background on Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's opposition efforts:

 

https://www.cnn.com/...intl/index.html

 

Introduction:

Moscow (CNN)The main opposition candidate in Belarus' Sunday presidential election went into hiding the night before challenging longtime leader Alexander Lukashenko, who is seeking his sixth term.

 

Svetlana Tikhanovskaya's campaign said she fled her apartment due to safety reasons after police detained several of its senior staffers, in what critics called an attempt to intimidate the opposition ahead of the crucial vote.
 
Meanwhile, her adviser Veronika Tsepkalo fled Belarus for Moscow for safety reasons, the campaign told CNN on Sunday.
 
Tsepkalo's husband, former Belarusian ambassador to the US, Valery Tsepkalo, was not allowed to register as a candidate and had previously gone to Russia with their children, fearing for their safety after receiving threats of arrest.
 
The main candidate, Tikhanovskaya, has previously said in interviews she had to send her children abroad after receiving threats they will be placed in an orphanage.

The principles of justice define an appropriate path between dogmatism and intolerance on the one side, and a reductionism which regards religion and morality as mere preferences on the other.   - John Rawls


#10
Yuli Ban

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Belarus Has Shut Down the Internet Amid a Controversial Election

INTERNET CONNECTIVITY AND cellular service in Belarus have been down since Sunday evening, after sporadic outages early that morning and throughout the day. The connectivity blackout, which also includes landline phones, appears to be a government-imposed outage that comes amid widespread protests and increasing social unrest over Belarus' presidential election Sunday.
 
The ongoing shutdown has further roiled the country of about 9.5 million people, where official election results this morning indicated that five-term president Aleksandr Lukashenko had won a sixth term with about 80 percent of the vote. Around the country, protests against Lukashenko's administration, including criticisms of his foreign policy and handling of the Covid-19 pandemic, grew in the days leading up to the election and exploded on Sunday night. The government has responded to the protests by mobilizing police and military forces, particularly in Minsk, the capital. Meanwhile, opposition candidates and protesters say the election was rigged and believe the results to be illegitimate.

Reddit thread


And remember my friend, future events such as these will affect you in the future.


#11
PhoenixRu

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The YT-channel dedicated to protests and clashes with police. In Russian, but you don't actually need the translation for street brawls, most of words are "Shame! Jackals! Faggots!" and such.

 

In general, watching the recent Belarusian events leaves a very mixed impression. On the one hand, the "arrest and beat any suspicious young man, do not let them gather by two or more..." strategy looks really brutal. Other hand, this is 2020, not 2014, there is no more room for sweet illusions about what will happen if these "peaceful pro-democracy protesters" will triumph over Belarusian state machine.



#12
Outlook

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Communist party of Belarus supports Lukashenko, so I support Lukashenko.

Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/GMYezR1cwFA


#13
PhoenixRu

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Arrest went not as planned:

 



#14
PhoenixRu

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Communist party of Belarus supports Lukashenko, so I support Lukashenko.

 

It seems, these communists are clearly go against the will of the working class, which they are supposed to represent. The declared "nationwide strike" isn't yet truly nationwide, but more and more worker's collectives joining:

 

EfUr5GNXoAAlwxj.jpg



#15
PhoenixRu

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Working movement:

 

Spoiler

 

...and so on and so forth.



#16
Outlook

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I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up being a state-controlled regime change with some new face but similar policies.


Outlook's secret song of the ~week: https://youtu.be/GMYezR1cwFA


#17
PhoenixRu

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I wouldn't be surprised if it ended up being a state-controlled regime change with some new face but similar policies.

 

No, it doesn't work this way in bonapartist regimes. There may be only one "Bonaparte" (or "Bat'ka" in case of Belarus), otherwise everything crumbles.

 

The situation in Belarus is very difficult to predict. Bat'ka may either stay for another five years or become the new neighbor of Yanukovich in Rostov by the end of this very month. So far we can see the clear decline of violent street clashes (the most of troublemakers were caught), but rising worker's movement and first (not yet serious) signs of state machine's erosion: key people are demonstratively resigns.

 

But even if Bat'ka will survive (politically), he will stay the political zombie: a scared, hated and despised old dictator instead of a respected and benevolent populist he once was.

 

...and anyway, the young Kolya will never inherit the Belarusian "throne":

 

QYPE.jpg

:



#18
wjfox

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YVE2UE1.jpeg



#19
wjfox

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Alex Kokcharov
@AlexKokcharov

 

In #Belarus, the state TV is showing visibly terrified detained protesters. They were probably beaten up before their public promises to no longer take part in anti-Lukashenka #protests.

This is happening in #Europe in 2020.  Just terrible.

 

[ Video ]



#20
PhoenixRu

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picture

 

LOL this is understandable. Giving flowers to an unknown man is like saying "I consider you a passive gay". And giving flowers to potentially hostile cop...







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