26 July 2021, Monday, 1:21
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Lukashenka Finds Himself in the Role of Milosevic

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Lukashenka Finds Himself in the Role of Milosevic
Photo: CORBIS

Self-fulfilling prophecy effect triggered.

The further time moves us away from the moment of the air thriller with the Ryanair plane, the more there is an understanding of some important milestone that the country has crossed not only in the relations of official Minsk with the West but in the Belarusian political life in general, writes political analyst Valery Karbalevich for the website Free News.

The most astute experts predicted that, in the actions of the political leadership of Belarus, there is a high probability of self-shooting, that is, an ill-considered action to its own detriment. And the story of the plane became a classic illustration of this kind of prediction - the effect of a self-fulfilling prophecy worked.

If we talk about the motives of this adventure, the “interview” with Raman Pratasevich, which was loudly heard on ONT, gave answers to many questions about why Lukashenka needed this grandiose scandal with the plane. A sobbing "enemy" asking for mercy and leniency from "Aliaksandr Ryhoravich" is the political dividend that covers all the negative consequences. A morally broken enemy became a balm to a troubled heart. And for the sake of this psychological ecstasy, let the whole world perish.

However, having received psychological satisfaction for the days of stress experienced in the summer and fall of last year, it seems that the moment of sobering has come. There was a feeling that now they really messed up.

Lukashenka has been waging a political, ideological, and diplomatic war with the West all his life. He declares: "Why to be afraid of these sanctions, I live with them most of the time of my rule." And it is true.

But it seems that now Lukashenka has an underlying, perhaps subconsciously, feeling that he can lose this war. In every sense. And above all - in the mass consciousness. And, what is fundamentally important, in the minds of his supporters, the nomenklatura, as well as among people who are politically neutral.

Until now, discussions about the international isolation of Belarus, about a rogue country have been more like a figure of speech, a political metaphor. The closure of air communication between Belarus and Europe means a transition to a new quality of the position of our country in the world. A "black hole" is being formed in the center of Europe.

Apparently, the new sanctions from the EU and the US will be quite tough. They have not yet been adopted, but there is already a psychological effect from them. This is exactly the case when the threat is no less powerful than the execution.

There are already direct economic consequences of air insulation. These are considerable losses to the budget, the Belavia company, the Minsk airport, etc. A strong blow was inflicted on inbound tourism.

As for the indirect negative effects, they are difficult to quantify. Who would want to invest in a country that no planes fly to?

But it's not just about the economy. Belarus is excluded from some European organizations and programs: Eurovision, European Broadcasting Union, etc.

It is likely that the Belarusian sport will be excluded from many international competitions for some time simply for technical reasons: because of the impossibility of air travel. How will Belarusian national teams be able to participate in various tournaments involving games in Belarus? The champion of Belarus was expelled from the hockey Champions League. Most likely, the same will happen with football clubs. Hardly anyone wants to go to Minsk by bus or train. And remember how the footballers and hockey players said last year: I am not interested in politics. Now politics has come to them.

It is also a huge blow to human relations. Now, to get to Europe, you need to fly through Moscow, Istanbul, or something else.

It is significant that even Kazakhstan gently but officially distanced itself from Minsk. Say, do not hang your problems on your allies.

All Belarusians have already felt and will feel the status of a rogue country. And this is even before the introduction of new economic sanctions by the EU and the United States. The "iron curtain" is slowly falling over the country.

Here you can draw parallels with the fate of Slobodan Milosevic. In 1996-1997, mass rallies were held in Yugoslavia against the authoritarian regime of the then Yugoslav leader. The impetus was the falsification of the results of local elections. But he held out. Then Milosevic got involved in a war with the whole world. And he lost. After that, even his supporters began to turn away from him. The opposition has a new slogan: "He's ready!" And in 2000, under pressure from popular protests, Milosevic was forced to resign.

But that was the pre-Internet era. Today, in the conditions of the information society, it is even more impossible to pass off defeat for victory.

Apparently, Lukashenka intuitively felt that he was in the role of Milosevic. And he's trying his best to get out of it. For the first time, he came to the parliament to explain himself from a rostrum. He was followed by the Prime Minister and key ministers. All this testifies to the emergency situation in which the country finds itself. Apparently, the Belarusian leadership did not expect such a harsh reaction from the international community to the landing of the plane. Therefore, Lukashenka's speech gave the impression of justification. A rather unexpected confession was made there: "In this war, Belarus does not expect to win."

The first signs have appeared that the official Minsk is trying to seek a compromise with the West. To ease the scale of the sanctions, Foreign Minister Uladzimir Makei met with Western ambassadors. There is information that political prisoners are being offered to write a petition for clemency with the expectation of amnesty.

The authorities were clearly bustling. And this is not from a good life.

But the problem is that if the authorities are going to send a signal to the West, then it must be clear and unambiguous. If we are talking about amnesty, then it should be part of the political trend towards liberalization. But we see nothing of the kind. On the contrary, the repression continues. Information about new arrests and trials comes every day. And what is the point of granting amnesty to some and putting other political prisoners behind bars at the same time?

Or how can you seek a compromise with your opponents while continuing your aggressive rhetoric? According to leaked information, the same Makei, during a meeting with Western ambassadors, tried to convince them using the traditional propaganda arsenal of BT. Not to mention the increased flow of illegal migrants to Lithuania from the territory of Belarus, - Valery Karbalevich believes.

The mutually exclusive signals indicate the frustration of the political leadership rather than a well-thought-out policy.