What could be the reason for the Russian troops to have remained in Belarus?
For the last several months, the leading Western media, politicians and experts worriedly discussed the Belarus-Russia joint military drills West-2017. The drills are now over, and Lithuanian political analyst Jan Jacek Komar commented on the current situation at the request of the website charter97.org.
— In your opinion, what is the main result of the West-2017 military drills?
— Most military experts and analysts agree that Russia has enough strength and opportunitites to occupy the territory of any of the Baltic States in a short period of time. Nevertheless, the noise in the media was, to a greater extent, motivated by the necessity to mobilize the society, desire to show the existing threat from the side of Russia, which, as certain circumstances demonstrate, is preparing for the confrontation with the West and NATO.
— What was the role of the Russian propaganda in all this?
— First of all, I would like to warn against yeilding to the propaganda, disseminated by the Kremlin, aimed, as the Kremlin’s strategists hope, at intimidating, destroying the people’s will to resist and the desire to defend themselves, ideally — it is aimed at inciting hatred and steering disturbances.
Another very curious aspect which I would like to turn attention to is that the exercises West-2017 were considered by many mass media in the Eastern Europe as an occasion for the annexation of Belarus or an aggression in Ukraine.
— Why Ukraine?
— Because Ukrainians, even more than Lithaunians, could be seriously alerted that the exercises will turn out an occasion for a large-scale military operation against their country.
Therefore, their reaction to these exercises should not surprise anyone.
— Still, the threat of the occupation of Belarus was also quite real, wasn’t it?
— Here we have an even more interesting situation. The exercises were carried out jointly with the Belarusian army, concerning which practically no one doubts that it is an operatively integrated part of the Russian armed forces. However, an old new factor appears in the whole process — Lukashenka, who turns into a problem. Aliaksandr Lukashenka is increasingly trying to find his place between Russia and Europe.
Undoubtedly, for the Kremlin such a wavering politician does not add security guarantees. One way or another, in the context of the growing confrontation with NATO, Moscow must be confident of its most important ally, and the politician who is rushing between East and West cannot be trusted.
From various sources comes information that the Kremlin is intensively looking for a replacement — a younger and more loyal politician. Of course, the immediate occupation of Belarus, which some analysts and experts from Eastern Europe tell about, is out of the question.
A scenario, under which parts of the Russian army will remain at the territory of the country after the exercises, seems more realistic. Such military formations can be an ideal tool to keep the current ruler under control. How to know whom the Russian military will support and how they will act in Belarus, when, for example, a young politician from a pro-Russian organization will lead people out onto the streets to protest against Lukashenka and demand closer ties with Russia?