Belarus is also a matter of our security

Sallija Benfelde

The inauguration of the Belarusian dictator has taken place. Most countries in the world do not recognize him as president, but the opposition will not end there. It could be said that the future of Belarus is like
fog wrapped.

During the Awakening we used to say – with the power of the spirit against the troops. Thirty years later, it is now happening in Belarus, people are going on peaceful protest marches, and they are being confronted by armed men dressed in black, with black face masks. With more and more people being detained every day, black men are becoming more and more cruel again, but there are women’s marches, joint protest marches, which gather more than 100 thousand participants in Minsk every Sunday, protest marches also take place in many other Belarusian cities. Despite the fact that at any time anyone can be detained, the Belarusians go with clever posters in their hands, sing. A protester in Minsk took part in the march several times with his house goose, who was untied and ran from time to time to see if there was anything useful on the lawn next to the street. The symbol of the protests has become the very active 73-year-old Nina Bahinska, who repeatedly took part in both women’s and joint marches and whose police did not touch her, but eventually arrested her. It turned out later that the militia had stopped the car a few blocks away and released Nina, because she had been filmed more than once on television and her face is known not only in Belarus.

The outfits of the marchers are white with red accents, many go, wrapped in white-red and white flags, and from the outside, one might think that it is a festive procession, not a procession, possibly to life or death. Those who fail to get to the city center because the streets are blocked by armored personnel carriers, barbed wire and OMON units, gather in the courtyards of multi-storey houses, sing, play music, organize joint tea evenings. And also at these events, the militia or OMON tend to come and people are detained. Belarusians say that the terrible violence has woken them up immediately after the elections, they will not stop.

Dictator Lukashenko has made it clear that power is not gained in order to return it, and that he will stand to the end, that is, until death.

The “cleansing” of the ambassadors and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus has also begun. Alexander Lukashenko has dismissed Ambassador to Latvia Vasily Markovich. He has also been deprived of his diplomatic rank. The same decision was made for the Ambassador of Belarus to Slovakia, Igor Leščenj, and one of the leaders of the Coordinating Council, Pavel Latuško, who recently revealed that he knew that at least thirty more people would be laid off. Mr Lukashenko has also begun dismissing university rectors and executives of some large companies, replacing what he believes are more credible people.

The list of events could go on, but the story of Belarus has a very important feature – it is not just a story of solidarity, human and moral support, it is a story of security in the Baltic region. Namely, Putin’s interest in Belarus is undoubtedly determined not only by the desire to expand the borders of the Russian Federation and then be proud that he is rebuilding the former Soviet Union. Support for Lukashenko, the recently lent $ 1.5 billion, which he is unlikely to get back, and the outspoken statement that he is ready to support the military if the situation arises, are in fact an indication of Putin’s plan to get to Suwalki with his army. The 100-kilometer-wide section of the border between Lithuania and Poland, which is the only land route of the three Baltic States to the European Union (EU), would have Russian territory on both sides with an army concentrated there. Currently, the so-called Suwalki Corridor has the Kaliningrad region on one side, which belongs to Russia, and Belarus on the other. Therefore, what is happening in Belarus and its future is much more important for the Baltic States than for other EU countries. If Russia’s influence in Belarus increases significantly, or if Belarus even falls into Russian hands, it will change the security situation in the whole region. Therefore, for example, the US position on Belarus and Russia is no less important than Europe’s attitude to what is happening.

You might not think about it or write about it, because it is a foreign policy and it is a national matter. In my opinion, however, the issue of Belarus is like a litmus test of how much or how little Latvian people are affected by Russian propaganda. There are still records on social networks that everything is in order in Belarus, that protests are being held from the outside, often these texts are almost a direct repetition of what Lukashenko said. Maybe some of these writers are so-called trolls, some maybe really don’t know anything and don’t want to know. However, from time to time you want to ask whether there is really a small but real group of people in Latvia, who is often called the fifth column? Therefore, I do not think that the issue of our security should be left aside.

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