The “Brown” Threat To Belarus & Tools to Prevent It

Another presidential election was held in Belarus on August 9th. According to the Election Commission of the Republic, it ended in a convincing victory for the current President A. Lukashenko – more than 80% of voters voted for him. The losing candidates said that they did not agree with the results of the Electoral Commission’s vote counting and brought out citizens who were dissatisfied with the results of the election. Some of the protesters rioted and were detained by the police.

The losing presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya emigrated to Lithuania. From there, she initiated the creation of a Coordination Council to ensure the transfer of power in favour of the opposition. This action was rightly assessed by the authorities of the Republic as an attempt at a coup d’etat. A criminal case was opened against the members of the Coordination Council, and some of them were arrested for inciting workers to strike in protest.

The actions of protesters in Belarus are managed by foreign centres, they also finance opposition activists and provide them with informational support. The leadership of Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, and Poland has taken steps to discredit A. Lukashenko and finances the Belarusian conspirators from budget funds. The EU leadership refused to recognise the results of the election and announced the introduction of sanctions against A. Lukashenko and the security forces supporting him.

What socio-economic reasons gave rise to the political crisis in Belarus?
Currently, the economy of the Republic is based on private capitalist enterprises, but the role of state capital is great, and state regulation of economic processes is strong. The state restricts the development of economic and social inequality in society, allocates large funds for the development of health care, education, and support for the socially weak segments of the population.

This socio-economic model is implemented by A. Lukashenko using autocratic methods. He has been in power for more than a quarter of a century. The president does not allow the formation of an oligarchy, the privatisation of well-functioning state enterprises, and fights corruption in the ranks of officials. Big capitalists and corrupt officials are dissatisfied with the actions of the president and are interested in his removal. A. Lukashenko also restricts the development of independent parties and regulates the content of the media. This is undoubtedly a restriction on democracy, but it allows for equal rights for all members of society, regardless of their social status or ethnic origin.

In foreign policy, Aleksandr Lukashenko is pursuing a line of cooperation with Russia, but he also tries to use the benefits of cooperation with the EU. Recently, the Republic has successfully developed ties with China.

What social model does the current opposition offer instead of the course of A. Lukashenko?

The opposition’s program includes a provision on Belarus’ withdrawal from the Russia-Belarus Union State, severing political and economic ties with Russia, and joining the EU and NATO. Against this background, it is planned to conduct a total privatisation of state-owned enterprises and land. It is obvious that they will become the property of major western campaigns. A significant part of the privatised enterprises will be closed, as they compete with existing western firms. The enterprises that remain afloat will undergo mass layoffs of employees in order to save on production costs. As a result, large western firms will have a key influence on state policy. Under their influence, the state will no longer support employees and allocate funds to solve social problems. The unemployed will be forced to go to work in Europe.

The opposition’s domestic program calls for the abolition of the state status of the Russian language and the termination of teaching it in schools and higher educational institutions. Employees of state and municipal institutions, educational and cultural figures who do not speak the Belarusian language will be dismissed.

In other words, the opposition proposes to divide the nation into a “higher” ethnic group – Belarusians – and a “lower” ethnic group – Russians. Russians will be forced out of all the higher levels of the social ladder and forced to emigrate to Russia. According to the opposition’s plan, Belarusians will get their property cheap. Perhaps the Russians will be deprived of their citizenship, as was done 30 years ago with the Russians living in Latvia and Estonia.

The opposition wants to hold a new election and replace A. Lukashenko’s autocratic rule with a democratic one. However, the implementation of the opposition’s program will require the organisation of mass repression against the current ruling elites: their dismissal from work, deprivation of property, and deportation. The case will not be complete without holding kangaroo court hearings. All those who do not support the “revolutionary” transformations will be terrorised on the streets. A few dozen people will be sacrificed – there will be its own heavenly hundred.

The implementation of all these political measures will lead to the establishment of a “brown” regime of governance in Belarus. It does not matter that there is currently no significant fascist party in the Republic. In Hungary, Romania, Bulgaria, and Austria, the fascist regimes of the 1930s relied on parties created by the bourgeoisie that were quite respectable at first, or even in the state apparatus. So, in Belarus, the fascist dictatorship may well be established by the self-appointed Coordination Council to ensure the transfer of power. Its leader, Tikhanovskaya, is quite a suitable figure for this. In any case, it will be perfectly able to mobilise the masses to support the spiritual heirs of the Belarusian fascists of the Great Patriotic War.

Contrary to popular opinion, the number of Belarusian fascists during the war was quite large.

In mid-1941, the Belarusian Schutzmannschaft, the auxiliary police of the Third Reich, was created. About 4,000 people voluntarily served in this police force. They participated in the fight against partisans and underground fighters. In August 1944, employees of these battalions were transferred to the 20th and 38th Waffen SS divisions and were used in battles against the Red Army.

In July 1942, the Belarusian self-defense corps of about 15,000 people was formed. It was intended for fighting partisans. This formation lasted until April 1943.

In February 1944, the Belarusian Home Defence (BHD) was formed with a number of 20,000-30,000 people. The formation was subordinate to the SS command. Employees of the BHD actively participated in the fight against the red partisans and carried out the Holocaust in the occupied territory. They are responsible for the destruction of about 80% of the Jews who lived in the Republic. BHD militants fought against the Red Army units until the end of the war.

The Belarusian Liberation Army was formed at the initiative of the Germans in early 1944. It fought against the Soviet government in Belarus until 1954. The organisation’s number reached 5,000 people.

Now all Belarusian fascists have already passed away, but their spiritual heirs are quite thriving. After independence, non-governmental organisations that preached the ideas of Belarusian fascists freely operated in the Republic. There were many mass media outlets that preached the ideas of special rights of Belarusians as a titular ethnic group. These organisations received generous grants from western funds. Young people had the opportunity to study free of charge in western, primarily Polish, universities, where they underwent appropriate indoctrination.

The current Belarusian opposition uses the white-red-white flag under which the Belarusian fascists fought to mobilise their supporters. This is a guarantee that in the future the opposition leaders will start replacing the national heroes of the Red Army and red partisans with Belarusian fascists. Under the slogan of decommunisation, monuments in honour of “red” heroes will be demolished, and streets and squares named in their honour will be renamed. This is exactly what happened in Ukraine after the fascist coup of February 2014.

What are the possible political consequences for Belarus if it leaves the zone of influence of Russia?

Having lost the political support of Moscow, Minsk will find itself face-to-face with Warsaw and Vilnius.

Warsaw will immediately demand the return of the land that it received in 1921 under the Treaty of Riga. In October 1939, by the efforts of the USSR, these lands were annexed to the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic. Minsk then received the territories of the Novogrudok, Bialystok, Polesie, and Vilna voivodeships of Poland-western Belarus. In these regions in the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic, the Baranovichi, Belostok, Brest, Vileyka, and Pinsk regions were established. Now it is Grodno, Brest, part of Minsk, Vitebsk, and Gomel regions.

Vilnius will not fail to take advantage of the current confusion in Belarus. In October 1939 Vilnius and the Vilnius region were, by Moscow’s decision, transferred by Minsk to the Republic of Lithuania. After the socialist revolution, in July 1940, Minsk transferred the Sventsyansky district, part of the Ostrovets district, and other territories, including Druskininkai, to the established Lithuanian Soviet Socialist Republic. In order to prevent Minsk from requesting these territories back, Vilnius supports Warsaw’s foreign policy activity to overthrow Aleksandr Lukashenko.

It is no coincidence that Poland and Lithuania suddenly started to conduct military manoeuvres near the borders of Belarus. With a successful combination of circumstances, they expect to be able to significantly expand their territories. NATO has not explicitly stated support for the territorial claims of Warsaw and Vilnius to Minsk, but with a favourable development of events, they will be happy to bring their bases closer to Moscow. All these actions should be defined as a threat of fascist aggression against Belarus.

Russia has already started to support the Belarusian authorities in their struggle to preserve their sovereignty in the face of threats from the west to initiate the development of social processes in Belarus following the “brown” model.

What tools can be used in this fight?

The answer to this question is provided by the experience of punishing Nazi Germany and its European allies after the end of World War II. Both the fascist elites and the nations that supported them were punished for their crimes.

The following punishments were applied to fascist elites:

  • carrying out reprisals against persons who developed and distributed fascist ideas, expressing these ideas in signs, for carrying out symbolic actions aimed at spreading fascism;
  • carrying out reprisals against the leaders of social institutions for spreading fascist ideas, signs, and symbols aimed at implementing a policy of discrimination against ethnic minorities;
  • carrying out reprisals against initiators and activists for creating political parties and organisations that seek to mobilise supporters of fascism;
  • carrying out reprisals against individuals and legal entities that finance fascist parties;
  • carrying out reprisals against the leaders of states that allow fascist parties and organisations in representative and executive bodies of power;
  • carrying out reprisals against deputies who adopt discriminatory laws, against heads of law enforcement bodies who promote discrimination against people on ethnic grounds, and against judges who persecute members of ethnic minorities.

These reprisals are based on the relevant norms of national criminal law and are carried out by national law enforcement bodies. However, if this does not happen, then Russia, as the successor of the USSR, has the right to prosecute and punish those responsible by its own courts and law enforcement bodies.

The following sanctions are applied to nations that have taken part in the implementation of “brown” projects at home or initiate them in other countries:

  • depriving the nation of its statehood;
  • dismemberment of the state, therefore, and the nation into parts;
  • annexation of part of the territory belonging to the nation;
  • imposition of indemnity on the nation;
  • deportations of some members of the nation;
  • capture of military personnel who participated in aggression and their punishment in court;
  • implementation of economic sanctions against nations if their members approve of the fascist policies of the ruling elites;
  • forcible denazification through the elimination of part of social institutions, purging employees of remaining social institutions;
  • destruction of artefacts that were used to mobilise the nation for the implementation of the “brown” project; introduction of anti-fascist ideology;
  • reducing the use of the language and culture of the punished nation in public circulation, eliminating its social institutions.

Russia, for example, has already carried out similar punishment against the Georgian nation. In the summer of 2008, Georgians initiated genocide against Ossetians living in South Ossetia. For this crime, the Georgian nation suffered the following punishment: the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia was annexed from Georgia and independent republics were established on them; the Georgian population fled from the territory of South Ossetia and Abkhazia, leaving their real estate; during the war, some material artefacts related to the history of Georgians in South Ossetia and Abkhazia were destroyed; the Georgians who remained in South Ossetia and Abkhazia were deprived of the social institutions needed to maintain their language and culture.

Warsaw and Vilnius should understand that such punishments can also affect them. NATO will not support their aggression, which aims to initiate the introduction of “brown” projects in other countries.

Aleksandr Gaponenko

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