The regime is becoming more and more toxic.
Against the background of the conflict between official Minsk and the West, the international isolation of the Belarusian regime, the issue of canceling the World Ice Hockey Championship, which was to be held from May 21 to June 6, 2021, in Belarus and Latvia, has become sharply relevant.
Puck into his own net
On the one hand, the European public, hockey federations of several countries demanded to transfer the competition from a country where street protests and massive political repressions are constantly taking place. But these calls were met with resistance from the International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) and its president, Rene Fasel. Apart from the postulate that sport is outside politics, hockey officials' important argument is a purely practical issue. There is not much time left before the championship, and its transfer to another country is fraught with many problems. They need to have time to prepare the hockey arenas, and this requires money. It is obvious that the transfer of the championship from Minsk to another country threatens IIHF with considerable financial losses. Who will compensate them?
The visit of the president of the International Ice Hockey Federation Rene Fasel to Belarus on January 11 was the last desperate attempt to save the situation, to avoid a difficult decision about choosing a new venue for the championship. The head of the IIHF wanted to get some promises and guarantees from Lukashenka, including political ones. The attempt, frankly, looked adventurous from the very beginning.
For Lukashenka, the issue of canceling the World Championship in Minsk is very painful. He has always paid great attention to sports as an important political factor. With his help, he strove to improve the international image of Belarus.
And today, being in international isolation, this issue has grown in price, especially after the International Olympic Committee decided to remove the members of the executive committee of the National Olympic Committee of Belarus headed by Lukashenka from the Olympic Games and other events of the organization.
From the interview and comments of the head of the International Ice Hockey Federation after the visit, it follows that he arrived in Minsk not only with an inspection visit (to check the technical readiness of hockey arenas for the World Championship) but also with political conditions. In fact, he presented an ultimatum to Lukashenka. Say, if you want to host the Ice Hockey World Championship, you must agree to "open and constructive dialogue with the opposition."
The strangest thing is that, according to Fasel, Lukashenka agreed with this. Moreover, the head of the IIHF informed that the Belarusian dictator himself allegedly announced his intention to change the Constitution and "is ready to hold new elections."
Second point. According to Rene Fasel, the Belarusian authorities agreed to cooperate with the IIHF in the investigation of the case of the chairman of the Belarusian ice hockey federation Dzmitry Baskau, who is suspected of involvement in political repression.
Apparently, Rene Fasel was not satisfied with verbal promises but wanted a document that could be presented to the IIHF council. And Lukashenka promised. The head of the International Ice Hockey Federation said: "We expect to receive an action plan of the government of Belarus shortly regarding the specific requirements of the IIHF, which were presented in Minsk. These are key issues affecting operational and socio-political issues related to the World Cup, and we will not be able to move forward if these measures are not initiated soon."
It is clear that Lukashenka is not going to enter into serious negotiations with the opposition. Even for the sake of holding the World Cup. The main thing for him was to promise. So he also promised Putin.
The Belarusian authorities' calculation was made on the fact that the decision to hold the World Ice Hockey Championship in 2021 was supposed to be made at a meeting of the IIHF Council on January 25-26. By this time, it was necessary to demonstrate a willingness to compromise on all issues. If the IIHF council spoke in favor of Minsk at this meeting, then all the promises could then be released on the brakes. After all, it would be too late, technically impossible, to change the federation's decision and move the competition to another country.
Perhaps the Lukashenka regime would have managed to outwit everyone and bargain for the championship in Minsk. But there was not enough subtlety. In an effort to get everything at once, the Belarusian authorities overdid it, played roughly. As a result, Rene Fasel's visit ended in a scandal. He was simply framed.
As one of the IIHF delegation members said, the Belarusian authorities promised that the photos and TV reports about the meeting of the IIHF head with Lukashenka would not be made public. But the promise was not kept. Official Minsk decided to make full use of this visit for its propaganda purposes. As a result, photos and television pictures of Rene Fasel embracing Lukashenka and the notorious Dzmitry Baskau first appeared in the Belarusian state media and then in European media, causing an explosion of disturbance to the public there.
As a result, the head of the International Ice Hockey Federation had to apologize and make excuses. A warm meeting with Lukashenka became a kiss of political death for Fasel. The tone of his recent interviews and statements has changed markedly; the IIHF President began to express great doubts about the possibility of holding the championship in Minsk. And the meeting of the Federation Council was urgently postponed to January 18. As a result, it was decided to deprive Belarus of the right to host the World Cup.
Thus, the whole hockey story ended with the self-execution of the Belarusian authorities. Which has been happening a lot lately. Lukashenka scored the puck into his own net.
Meanwhile, another "anonymous letter" has appeared in the Belarusian information space. More precisely, an audio recording of a speech by a person whose voice resembles the voice of the current Deputy Minister of Internal Affairs, Colonel Mikalai Karpiankou.
The speaker tells about the content of the meeting with Lukashenka, held at the end of October. It can be assumed that he conveys the meaning of his instructions in his own words.
In order to inflict more damage on the enemy's manpower, that is, protesting Belarusians, 100 Yarygin pistols were purchased from Russia. From the words of the speaker, this weapon is traumatic but differs little from the combat one. Let me remind you that Russian officials criticized the Belarusian authorities for "excessive use of force." And now it turns out that, at the same time, Russia supplied the Belarusian security forces with such a dangerous weapon. Therefore, all such statements by Russian officials seem a little hypocritical.
The speaker conveyed the instruction not to pity the protesters' citizens: "Either maim, or injure, or kill. To aim the weapon right on the forehead, right in the face, right there, after which he will never, it turns out, return to the state in which he... Well, they may save him, so let it be. He will not have half of his brain; well, he deserves it."
The siloviki are given full carte blanche for reprisals because "the head of state covers us from all sides in terms of the use of weapons."
It can be assumed that the voice on the recording retells Lukashenka's opinion because the police colonel is unlikely to think about such political things. But it is significant that the regime relies on people in the power structures, "who overstepped themselves."
It also became clear from the recording that, at a meeting with Lukashenka at the end of October, they discussed creating a concentration camp. This is how this plot looks in the story of a man whose voice is similar to that of Mikalai Karpiankou: "A database is being created. In this database, whoever got there a second time should stay there. It was said to develop, make a camp, well, not for prisoners of war, not even for internees, but a camp for especially sharp-hoofed ones, for resettlement. And to put the barbed wire, it turns out, along the perimeter. To make two rooms: firebox - on one floor, feeding - on another floor, so that they work. But keep them there until everything calms down."
This camp is planned to be created on the basis of correctional colony No. 22 in Ivatsevichy.
Horsemen of the Apocalypse will be the logical end of Lukashenka's rule.
Valery Karbalevich, Free News Plus