The Spring of Maidan in Belarus Is Uncoiling Quickly

This incomprehensible Babariko, or how to pass off the “hand of Warsaw” as the “hand of Moscow”

In Belarus, preparations for a Maidan continue. A new element has been added to the old technologies. Analysts working (seemingly) in the interests of the authorities, with perseverance worthy of better use, are looking for either the “hand of the Kremlin”, or the “foot of Miller“, or the ghost of the Russian oligarchy, which wanders around Belarus, interfering in elections.

Both opposition nationalists and those who swarm the land in search of “Russian influence” play on the same side. They are pawns. Their moves are calculated forward far beyond the borders of the Republic of Belarus, but so far only the debut is played out.

One can clearly see behind what red flags President Lukashenko is being driven by street rallies and an assertive information campaign. The traps that are being set for him are visible – in the person of the same Viktor Babariko, the former head of “Belgazprombank”, from whose short political biography the myth of a “pro-Russian banker” who is being put into the presidency by the Russian Gazprom is sculpted. A lot of nonsense is accumulating, like “the Russian trace… of specific narrow groups that are not associated with the Kremlin in their actions in Belarus”.

At the same time, Babariko is protected by the Belarusian press, which is being fed by the handouts of the West. His views are fully described in an interview with the Polish newspaper Rzeczpospolita, where the candidate for President of the Republic of Belarus names the main events in the history of Belarus: the coronation of the founder of the first dynasty of Lithuanian princes Mindaugas in Navahrudak in 1253, the proclamation of the chimera/state of the Belarusian People’s Republic in 1918, and the creation of independent Belarus on the ruins of the USSR in 1991. “These are the events that formed our statehood,” Babariko solemnly declares to the Poles. Whatever you say, here you need to look not for the “hand of Moscow” or the “leg of Miller”, but for the “hand of Warsaw” and “leg of the Polish operator Gaz-System”!

Rzeczpospolita repeats statements sounding from Minsk that they will soon present evidence of the “interference of a foreign state in the internal affairs of Belarus”. The state television channel “Belarus 1”, commenting on the searches at “Belgazprombank”, reports: “Obviously, the matter is heading for the publication of much more serious facts in much more serious categories. For example, the fact of the interference of a foreign state in Belarusian internal affairs”. The chairman of the “Belteleradiokompanii” [BT – ed], Ivan Eismont, who is also the husband of Nataliya Eismont, the press secretary of the President of Belarus, makes this assumption. I.e., the myth of “interference” was created at the top, and only then did it start to be spread in the media and on social networks by court experts like Piotra Piatrouski.

“BT: another state intervened in the internal affairs of Belarus

The host of ‘Main Broadcast’ and Chairman of Belteleradiokompanii Eismont suggested that the ‘case of Belgazprombank’ is ‘something more than just the financial affairs of Babariko and his colleagues’. He said this for the Belarus 1 TV channel.”

However, creating the interference of a “foreign state” out of Babariko is not an easy task. He suggests looking at the Union Agreement between Russia and Belarus as a “deal” that resembles a suitcase without a handle – “it’s a pity to dump it, but it’s hard to carry it further”. Babariko also says that in Belarus “there is an imbalance in favour of the Russian language”, which “needs to be overcome”. And this “pro-Russia” candidate promises to answer “a little later” the question “Whose is Crimea?”. What a fine goose!

Or maybe we’re talking about Ivan Eismont for nothing? Did he mean by “foreign state” only that the United States, France, and Poland got involved in the internal affairs of the Republic of Belarus? After all, it was the American and British embassies in Minsk that suddenly showed a fervent concern for “freedom of peaceful assembly” and “freedom of speech”. It was there that the Belarusian authorities called for the release of all detainees, especially journalists!

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Or maybe Ivan Eismont was referring to Brussels, where they started to defend Babariko so fervently that they pointed out to Minsk: “The Belarusian authorities must respect fundamental freedoms and human rights in accordance with Belarus’ international obligations. The EU calls on the Belarusian authorities to immediately release Viktor Babariko and his son and guarantee full respect for the rule of law”. I do not recall western concerns about the detention, arrest, and maintenance of journalists Sergey Shiptenko and Yury Pavlovets – who wrote not about the coronation of Mindaugas or the Belarus People’s Republic, but about the need to strengthen Belarusian-Russian relations – in Belarus for 14 months (!).

The west has already taken a place in the unfolding preparations for the Belarusian Maidan. This is confirmed by the pickets “Solidarity with Belarus” under the slogans: “Stop the repression”, “Freedom for Belarus!”, and “Elections without Lukashenko”, which started at the same time in New York, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Warsaw…

The same thing happened before the Ukrainian “revolution of dignity” at the turn of 2013-2014. At that time, even African tribes were in solidarity with the Galicians who came to Maidan in Kiev. And since the Belarusian elections are still a month and a half away, Lukashenko’s opponents will also be supported in Africa by raising the white-red-white flag there. Note: the national flag of the Republic of Belarus does not appear in foreign “solidarity” rallies; it’s “solidarity” exclusively with Belarusian nationalists. And the banker Babariko is their candidate, not someone else’s.

Now the pressure on the President of the Republic of Belarus is increasing in three directions.

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1. On the Internet there is “scientific justification” to claim that the head of state has a 3% approval rating. Artur Khachuyan, General Director of the “Tazeros Global Systems” company, decided to calculate support for the presidential candidates of Belarus based on the “data of 6.93 million Belarusian unique users” of social networks, and it turned out that only 3.8% of Belarusians support Lukashenko’s re-election, while 72% are ready to vote for anyone but him. If we take into account the fact that in Belarus, according to the Central Election Commission, there are just over 6.88 million voters, this means that all of them are stuck on social networks and they all tell this Khachuyan who they will vote for. Well, either that or “Tazeros Global Systems” has little understanding of the theory of large numbers. Anyway, the pictures and graphics of Khachuyan gave rise to a frenzied agitation against the 3% in favour of the “I/We=97%”.

Ukraine repeats itself: a minority of protesters with white-red-white flags have appropriated the right to act on behalf of the people.

The appropriation of majority rights by the minority should negate the results of the August 9th election and completely undermine confidence in Lukashenko’s victory, which will allow to declare the elections as “dishonest”. This will be followed by a demand for “fair” elections in the name of the “revolution of hope” or whatever it is called. At this stage Aleksandr Lukashenko is already losing: he has no way of opposing the “research” of “Tazeros Global Systems”, except for 1.5 million signatures, which the opposition environment claim were collected under the exertion of pressure. Photos of fences, walls, elevator buttons, poles, and any other surfaces with the words “3%” are uploaded to the Internet by the ton.

2. The media in opposition to the President, led by Radio Svoboda and “NEXTA”, publish dozens, if not hundreds of videos and many images of detentions, “interviews from a detention van”, evidence of “taking away ordinary people who ate Shawarma”, “bullying pregnant women”, “beating even women”

Belarusian policemen and state security officers are depicted in this muddy stream of information as “dogs of the regime”, which will be overthrown by puny “innocent kids”, who – according to legend – will be shot at the order of Lukashenko… This has already happened many times and is not even discussed, just as 97% of non-existent and “endless chains” of protesters stretching for kilometres are not discussed (a simple trick is to pass off 200 people for 2000, and 1000 for 100,000).

From the measures to counter the attack on the police and security agencies, we see only a timid warning from the Minister of Information of the Republic of Belarus, which sounded like: we can deprive “Radio Svoboda” of accreditation. And in response, the acting President of this company, Daisy Sindelar, declares “direct attacks on the press”. The exchange of ritual statements took place, and “Radio Svoboda” continues to enjoy full freedom, bombarding the Belarusian audience with materials that provoke a hail of comments against the security forces: “They are not people”, “They are dogs in uniform”, “Into the exclusion zone with them”, “OMON, stop”, “Regime dogs, you will run away from us on August 9th”, “It’s seen that OMON employees will not lack Molotov cocktails this summer”“Radio Svoboda” reports on each pearl of Babariko, pedalling his proposal to return to the original version of the Constitution of 1994, in which only the Belarusian language was recognised as the state language, and power was supposed to be parliamentary.

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3. Representatives of the intelligentsia and the upper classes are enticed to participate in the protests against Lukashenko. For now, from the sphere of culture, entertainment, sports, and information. The Telegram channel of “NEXTA” writes that the soldiers of the presidential security service “are ready to take the side of the people” (“the people” are those who have appropriated 97%). And if the stories about the security service are lies – the usual element of preparing the situation for a Maidan, then athletes, TV presenters, and representatives of show-business are real: the singer Rita Dakota, the “best reporter of 2010” Nataliya Kopoteva, the rapper “Bakay”, the basketball player Elena Leuchanka, the boxer Kiryl Relikh, the athlete Nadzeya Astapchuk… In addition to the famous names are a host of novice singers and bloggers looking for recognition. This is a showcase. And behind it, the nomenclature has already been prepared, which was worked on for years…

While President Lukashenko’s entourage, including some of his “neighbours”, is diligently searching for a black cat in a dark room, the August 9th election is turning into a scene of a fantastic “colour revolution”. Lukashenko promised not to allow it. However, on this chessboard, he found himself in a difficult position. He is being transformed from a player into a piece that is moved.

Arina Tsukanova

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