23 April 2024, Tuesday, 4:13
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Where Is Needle With Belarusian Totalitarianism Death Hidden?

Where Is Needle With Belarusian Totalitarianism Death Hidden?

Belarusian volunteers are bringing changes to our country.

To many Belarusians who dream of the return of a free country, the removal of the regime and the restoration of democracy, Lukashenka appears as the main obstacle standing on this path, the only one on whom tyranny rests.

Of course, people are accustomed to hoping for the best, and life even among dictators is not objectively eternal, but it seems that this is not the case when excessive optimism is useful. After all, it gives a false feeling that changes for the better should come on their own, but in our case this is not at all the case.

If we recall and soberly weigh up the 2020 events, it becomes obvious that Lukashenka’s regime survived not because it had a serious margin of safety and considerable support within the country. In fact, Lukashenka retained his throne because Putin saved him.

When the situation had already seemingly swung so much that it seemed obvious to many that the future victory of the protesters, or at least some kind of riot in Lukashenka’s entourage, would lead to significant concessions to the regime. Russia openly intervened. Putin then said that he would provide a “reserve of enforcers” in case the situation “goes out of control,” in addition, professional TV propagandists were sent to Minsk, since Lukashenko’s propaganda at that time was having less and less influence on his “people”, and strikes began in its very heart – Belteleradiocompany. The regime needed fresh blood for tyranny and propaganda, and Putin provided it. But was Putin also saving Lukashenka’s?

Putin was not saving Lukashenka, he was protecting Russian influence on Belarus. Lukashenka, although a rather convenient figure for this task is not as negotiable as we would like. Speculations around the ‘union state’ have been going on since the late 90s, and only it is becoming somehow real and pleasant for Russia, because power is also a drug for Lukashenka, and he will bargain until his last breath. Putin doesn’t need Lukashenka, Putin needs the whole of Belarus as a trophy. He doesn’t plan to get off Belarus that easily.

Even if Lukashenka’s story in Belarus ends, Russia still will not let Belarus free, because they consider it to be a won trophy. Giving up total influence on Belarus means for them about the same as giving up Crimea - “over my dead body.” Putin will try not only to maintain his influence by any means but also to strengthen it, to the possible declaration of the Republic of Belarus as another “region” of Russia.

Russia did not change its plans but its aggressiveness has become obvious to the Belarusians only now, during the full-scale invasion of Ukraine. Even during large-scale Belarusian protests, when Russian security services had already come to Minsk to “save” a friendly dictatorship by torturing those “too free people”. The public statements that Russia is not a “big brother” and generally unfriendly to Belarus and its identity looked too radical and provocative and were not perceived by the general Belarusian public. After all, it has been integral for entire generations.

The situation began to change only after February 2022, after missile attacks from the territory controlled by Lukashenka (and by Putin) and tanks attacked another “brotherly country”. Only then did the horror of a real war, happening right before our eyes, and the feeling of the mortal threat that Russia poses for anyone, even called a “brother,” begin to influence the “friend or foe” system deeply sealed in the Belarusian peoples. Through death and destruction – to logic.

Only after such a turn in the coordinate system and a massive revaluation by society of existing values and forgotten history, voices finally began to be heard that Belarus in fact does not have a common future with Russia. Just like today's Russia has nothing in common with the democracy that the tired Belarusian nation strives for. Belarus is not a friend of Putin, but prey. А huge number of pro-Putin citizens see Belarusians just like some “wrong Russians” who are simply not up to date with the “general history”, pay in the wrong rubles and also sometimes speak some kind of funny “distorted Russian language”. But, probably, with the continuation of Putin’s “correct” policies, all this should be corrected, all the “rebels” will be corrected, they will begin to sing “I am Russian!” [Russian propaganda song - Ed.] and the common Russian anthem and the opponents of this development will be called “Belarusian Nazis”.

This threat is very real. It is as real as it was felt by the inhabitants of the Ukrainian territories occupied by the Russians, where people were killed even simply for insufficiently demonstrated loyalty to the “Russian world”, where yesterday peaceful cities were literally razed to the ground for the sake of subordination to it, destroyed in the interests of the “interests of the Russian state” "

So, the main threat to the future free Belarus is not sitting in the Palace of Independence, but in the Kremlin. It is there that the needle with the death of totalitarianism is hidden, which is suffocating the Belarusian lands. Only by eliminating this threat, by breaking this needle, can we talk about a national Belarusian state, about free elections, about human rights, which have now been jailed. Only then “mur hutka collapse” [“Wall will fall,” from the text of the national song - Ed.]

This sounds not at all as optimistic as “we just need to wait for Lukashenka’s death” but this is the basis for which the soldiers of the Kalinouski Regiment and other Belarusian units now fight on the side of Ukraine and give their lives and health. They are fighting for Ukraine and cutting off the heads of this hydra, which grabs everything it can reach. Only by weakening it so much that it can no longer hold its grip can we talk about real changes, about the release of political prisoners, about the return of the native land.

At first glance, it may look ridiculous that the future foundations of peace, will and justice in Belarus are forged in heavy unequal battles somewhere in the south of Ukraine, but the fact is that the tip of the spear that is now beating this hydra is precisely the Ukrainian forces and everyone who is involved. It is their victory that all Belarusians need to return pride and identity to their nation. That is why it is now necessary to support those who are fighting for Ukraine. The future depends on them.

Glory to Ukraine! Long live Belarus!

PhD Maksym Pleshko, Ukrainian political scientist, especially for Charter97.org

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