Belarus expels Lativa diplomats

Brussels 24.05.2021 Belarus is expelling the Ambassador of Latvia H.E. Einars Semanis, he was asked to leave the country within 24 hours. This was announced by the head of the Belarusian diplomacy Vladimir Makei.

“The Latvian ambassador was invited to the Foreign Ministry in connection with the insult of the state flag of Belarus in Riga,” Makei explained.

Together wit the Ambassador, Belarus expels the entire Embassy staff, ​​with the exception of one administrative officer who is allowed to stay in Minsk.

Explaining the actions of Minsk in relation to the Ambassador of Latvia, Makei called the reaction of politicians of a number of Western countries to the situation with the plane “coordinated actions and a planned provocation.” At the same time, Makei noted that Minsk does not exclude a response from Riga.

The head of the Belarus diplomacy has underlined that no country has yet requested information from Belarus on the incident with Ryanair.

The down spiral of the diplomatic raw in the aftermath of the Belarus journalist Roman Protasevich, 26, (pictured above) arrest continues. Protasevich was returning to Vilnius from an economic conference in Greece with Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya, Greek officials explained.

The RyanAir flight, which had been carrying some 170 passengers, should have taken about three hours. As it approached the border between Belarus and Lithuania, a MiG-29 fighter jet was sent to intercept it. After the forced landing Protasevich has been arrested. There is also an information that the other activist with Russian citizenship, travelling with the same board was detained in Minsk.

Alexander Lukashenko, 66, who is often referred to as “Europe’s last dictator,” personally ordered the fighter jet to escort the Ryanair plane to the Minsk airport after a bomb threat, his press service said. According to the statement, Lukashenko, an ally of President Vladimir Putin of Russia, gave an “unequivocal order” to “make the plane do a U-turn and land.”

The EU Council president Charles Michel has defined the incident as an “international scandal”, pointing out that the forceful landing of the civil aircraft was compromising safety and security of all passengers on board and the EU is going to discuss this issue first at the ongoing Summit of the leaders of 27 to ensure the adequate response: “What happened yesterday in #Belarus is an international scandal. It endangered the lives of civilians & threatens international security. We will discuss different options of sanctions today at #EUCO. A strong reaction is needed” Michel said at the doorstep of the meeting in Brussels.

#Fotyga: propaganda toxic substance

fotyga-ep

The MEP Anna Fotyga’s report on ”Russian and Islamist propaganda” debated in European Parliament is one of the most surrealistic documents produced by an assembly in modern history. Even from a first glance it looks exotic resembling a hybrid of a Nile crocodile and a red-tailored hawk – a monster from Middle Ages artist Jeroen Bosch paintings of Hell.

Certainly it is reflecting a personal animosity of Ms Fotyga – a former Polish #Kaczyński Foreign affairs minister – towards Kremlin, degrading Russian mass media undertakings to Islamic state information warfare against the West.

One can question a rational behind the choice of the rapporteur who has not been able to abandon Cold War modality in 25 years after the fall of Berlin Wall,
confusing Russia with the USSR, as if still an existing entity along with the Islamic state.

Knowing the slow pace of the EU institutions one can guess that the idea of the report was conceived in a firm believe of the continuation of the US Democrat’s policy of sanctioning Russia. Within a new political situation, when president elect has declared Russia as a ‘partner’, the Fotyga’s report looks not only dramatically outdated, but also phantasmagoria.

An obsessive wish to degrade Russia’s mass-media, namely #RussaTodayTV to propaganda machine of the Islamic state (IS) deprived the report of substance, because neither problems of the communication streams from Russia or from IS to the EU was properly addressed.
One could say that it would have been a regular piece of ‘brining sand to beach’ institutional work, if not unforeseen dangerous by effects.
Today the US election results  ensuring a change in the Western foreign policy is a key factor, making Fotyga’s report outdated, however it is more than about looks.
The presidential elections process in France indicated two major favorites: the Republican Francois Fillion and Front National Marine Le Pen – both declaring Russia as a natural partner of France. The inevitable upcoming change of the foreign policy course of the founding member state of the EU, will have a profound influence on the EU-Russia relations confronting the East European countries with a necessity to abandon chronic Cold War modus vivendi.
The reluctance to change attitude vis-à-vis Russia would create additional divides in relations between EU old and new member states, already existing in the issues of migration.The rejection of Poland to take fair share of migrants from Italy and Greece completed with the rejection of accepting a pragmatic approach towards Kremlin might be too much for the Union to bear: these cracks will start a tectonic shift between Eastern (Vicegrad group) and Western Europe,signifying its end of the status quo EU27+UK earlier than #Brexit happens.
Turning to a really burning issue of finding an anti-dot for the perilous ideology of Islamic state, Fotyga reports does not break through the standard kit of wooden language formula, already proven to be pretty useless in protecting youth from terrorist recruiters. Subsequently it would make sense to convey the preparation of such a report to a representative of a country having the most extensive experience with the IS recruiting victims – Belgium.
Concluding, one can propose two separate reports on effects of communications, offering IS to a Belgium politician and experts, and to a Latvian, where the biggest Russian community in Europe lives, to relay on first hand experience and advice.
However ending shameful practise of Russian non-citizens in the EU, namely in Estonia and Latvia would be at most effective promotion for the European values without any ‘counter-propaganda’ strategies to invent. It is hardly makes sense to invest money in development of virtual projects, describing wonders of Europe to the EU Russians who continue stateless existence long after the collapse of the USSR.
Finally, the simple arithmetic shows the malaise of the European politicians voting the controversial Fotyga’s report converted into a resolution: 304 MEPs for, 179 against, 208 (!) abstentions.
‘EU strategic communication to counteract propaganda against it by third parties’ drafted by MEP Fotyga passed, the toxic spilled, collateral damages to be estimated later.