EU «wahsed hands» of Belarus

#Belarus #Lukahsenko #BelarusProtests
Anna van Densky OPINION Today, on August 19, an extraordinary meeting of the Council of the EU on the situation in Belarus took place by teleconferencing.

The feeble answer has surprised many. The EU leaders have not pronounced the name of the genuine elections winner Svetlana Tikhanovskaya even once (!)While being so ardent about Ukraine integration into the bloc, why showing so little engagement towards dramatic events in Belarus?

First of all the context has entirely changed for the Europenan Union as an internationl organisation, transcending a profound systemic crisis itself. The bloc is in a difficult economic and financial situation because of the pandemic and because of the Brexit. The UK, the second largest contributor to the EU’s coffers, has left the organization and there is no trade agreement yet, and most likely will be none, which will create a considerable number of the economic problems in short, medium and long term.

At present the economy of Belarus is integrated into Russian and it is also orientated to the former Republics of the USSR, exporting there machinery. What is especially lucrative is the export of agricultural products to Russia, while it would be not easy to find the replacement for clients at the EU market, which has a surplus of agricultural products to an extend that the farmers receive funds not to produce, and not to develop the arable lands.

The dependency of Belarus on Russian hydrocarbons (Yamal gaz pipline) is a common place, and does not need any additional clarifications; the machinery, produced for former Republics either.

Regarding political transition to democracy from Lukashenko authoritarian rule, the major riddle is how to integrate the country into the EU politically, while it’s economic foundation is firmly intertwined with Russian Federation, and former Soviet bloc.

The defence issue is not less problematic: joining the CSTO, Belarus became a military ally of Russia. Certainly it can cancel the CSTO membership, but the maximum of what can be achieved afterwards from the army and the people is military neutrality. Due to its history, the country will opt for neutrality policy, since the people do not sympathise with NATO and, unlike Ukraine and Georgia, there has never been any talk of joining the North Atlantic Alliance for Belarus.

And here the geopolitical level of the issue is reached: there is no point in integrating a country into the EU which will not host military bases of the United States, and even less so joining the the North Atlantic Alliance. If the Belarussians keep Lukashenko in disdain, it does not mean that they are ready to join the “belt of infidelity” and serve Western interest, regarding Russia as a foe, as Ukrainians and Georgians are eagerly doing.

Taking into consideration mentioned above one should not expect active political support and financial assistance to Belarus from the EU similar the one they offer to Ukraine and Georgia.

A policy of sanctions against Lukashenko’s entourage has already been chosen by the EU, which is related to the policy of sanctions againstRussia and will be further harmonized with it. De facto, what looks like support to Belarussians will be an additional package of sanctions against Russian economy.

Subsequently further retention of Lukashenko in power by allies in Moscow is not only meaningless, but frankly detrimental to the economic interests of Russia, because they will be used by the West as a tool for expanding sanctions. Lukashenko life-long presidency will also significantly deteriorate image of Vladimir Putin in domestic politics, and deepening of the Belarussian crisis will have a negative impact on the entire range of Russian interests at home and abroad.

In their best interest Russians shouldn’t hold on to the political corpse of Lukashenko, but should arrange his swift and humble funeral and turn their attention to the other contemporary political players preferred by Belarus people:

The king is dead! Long live the king!”.

Inauguration of incumbent President Lukashenko one more time will take place in two month, Russian TASS new agency reported. He has been Belarus authoritarian ruler for 26 years, who came to power as a “new type of leader” in last millenium and stayed due to his “clinch” with power for almost three decades, erasing smallest signs of dissent.

Belarus future and EU aid

Anna Van Densky OPINION #Belarus #Minsk #Lukashenko #BelarusProtests #Tikhanovskaya

The proposal to facilitate the engagement into “political dialogue” between the discredited Lukashenko regime and people of Belarus the EU has announced, looks like a stillbirth already, because the entire crisis is created by the blunt refusal of compromise between the authoritarian model, and democratic pluralism. Moreover it is impossible for Lukashenko to accept any compromise, because it will mean the definitive dismantling of his rusty “last dictatorship of Europe”.

Reacting upon the political crisis the president of the EU Council Charles Michel delcrared the start of the work on creating of the sanctions lists of the leading figures from the government responsible for repressions of the protestors, however they will remain a higly symbolical gesture in absence of the real political process of democratic transformaiton of Belarus.

The stubborn refusal of Lukahsnko to leave, his clinch with power, creates new, but predictable trubles, and a substantial challenge to the EU diplomacy, claiming ambition of being a global player.

However there are effective ways for the EU to promote democracy and political pluralism in Belarus instead of focusing on the punitive symbolism of sanctions. While the opposition leader, and the major challenger of the incumbent President Lukashenko, Svetalana Tikhanovskaya expressed her readiness to become a national leader in the transition period in order to organize new free and fair elections, the EU could give an unequivocal political support to her plan.

The proposal of leading the country towards new elections means that Svetlana Tikhanovaksya submits her personal victory in order to create opportunities for Belarus political Renaissance, opening the way of participation to all political prisoners and other candidates who were barred from the elections process at the intent of Lukashenko, who was announced an absolute victor of the elections, with the 80% of vote. The result has been widely considered considered as falsified not only by Belarus people, but also by the EU foreign ministers.

The question is if the European Union will support Svetlana Tikhanovakaya the same way as they supported Roza Otunbayeva, the President of the transition period in former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan 10 years ago, after they overthrew of their dictaror. Then the top EU diplomat Baroness Ashton proposed to support Kyrgyzstan “politically, financially, technically” in order to ensure fundamental rights and freedoms to Kyrgyz people.

The role of the EU insitutions will be crucial in overcoming the political crisis and conducting democratic reforms in Belarus, establishing genuine pluralist political system, representing broad spectrum of interest and arbitation. The void, the absence of meaningful offer for practical aid from the behalf of the international community, reducing the EU role to the punitive measures as sanctions, will certainly allow the crisis to become protracted, and costly in all the senses to Belarussian people.
Moreover it might deteriorate further, creating conditions for chronic confrontation between people and Lukahsnko apparatchiks, and part of the police and military, still defending the discredited regime. This will lead to general fatigue, and loss of opportunities for promotion of genuine democracy. (Formally Belarus Republic is a democratic state).

In this context plagued by refusal of the authoritarian Lukahshenko regime to accept the justified demands of the people of Belarus, the EU aid to opposition, led by Tikhanovskaya and supported by the majority of citizens, is becoming pivotal in introduction of the democratic change to ensure definitive collapse of the last dictatorship of Europe. However the time is crucial to avoid new victims in the ongoing struggle between antipodes without any perspective of compromise. Instead of attempting to reconcile irreconcilable in the best interest of Europe is to invest in Belarus progress without delay.

Belarus: Lukashenko poisoned chalice

Anna van Densky OPINION Isn’t it time for Alexander Grigorievich to book one-way ticket to Dushanbe? He is very fond of mountain landscapes there, and, he himself has repeatedly stated that he «loves» Tajikistan for «similarity» to Belarus. No wonder – Tadjik President Rahmon will soon face the challenge of the fifth re-election, however in less lively political context.

Anyway, from the common sense perspectvie one way ticket to Duchanbe is much better than spending time in a prison cell in The Hague. And after what Lukahsenko has done, there is no chance of a quiet and serene old age, enjoying Belaveja forest in his native Belarus.

Ordering crakdown on peaceful protestors, claiming they are «people with criminal past and unemployed», Lukashenko demonstrated to what extent he lost touch with the reality, conducting Stalinist repressions in the digital age. Opressing the citizens of the Republic for their refusal to believe that his 80% eelction victory was genuine, he slided along the downspiral of self-destruction. However his poisoned chalice of elections triumph turning into a disaster was entirely self-inflicted, and rooted in his Europe Last Dictator dramatically outdated authoritarian style.

Nowadays the images of Belarus police violence, causing bruises, wounds, broken heads and arms, and videos of complainants of torture under arrest, all these images are floating across social networks around the world among four billion users!

The EU had no choice but start preparing “strong measures” in response to Lukashenko massive abuses of fundamental rights of the citizens of Belarus, addressing an old problem of the «Last Dictator of Europe».

However, not only the West is shocked by Lukashnko assault for life-long preisdency after 26 years of uninterrupted autoritarian rule, but appartnely Moscow is also concerned about the revolution he provoked by brutal power grab. After all Kremlin is also obliged to think about the image in the global world, and is not eager to convert Russia to a grave-yard for the political corpses of failed dictatros.

So the only way out is a ticket to Duchanbe (Stalinabad). And with some luck Alexander Grigorievich gains some prominence there, advising President Rahmon whether to run for the FIFTH TIME in October, or maybe hand over the post to his eldest son, or even someone else …

Once upon a time just a chairman of a collective farm in a poor village in Belarus Soviet Republic, nowadays Lukashenko has such a rich experience of a statesman that he can easily capitalize on his services to other presidents for life, willing to keep the grip on power for long. He can advise them on mistakes to be avoided, using his own scandalous affair of falsifications of elections, causing his downfall.

Surely Lukashenko advice will be in high demand, and even a commercial success, and when the list of the dictators will come to the end, he could buy a farm and start doing what he does best – raising chickens 🙂

Cock-a-doodle-do!