«Do not sponsor Lukashenko…» Part 4
«Do not sponsor Lukashenko…» Part IV.
"If you really want to find the guilty persons, then pay attention to those who are most active in their search" (the rules of the Board of Directors)
"The Englishwoman is craping!"
Returning to the subject of our article, we should answer the question that logically arises from understanding the nature of the conflict of Russian interests in the Republic of Belarus and Eastern Europe, and the interests of the Belarusian regime: why does the axiom that Russia (Kremlin) strongly supports the Lukashenko regime is so popular in modern Belarusian political field? The answer to this question can not be decisive.
On the one hand the slogan "Moscow sponsors Lukashenko" is a universal explanation of any negative political process in the country, on the other hand it is a matter of faith.
In the second half of the XIX century all foreign policy problems and crises of the Russian Empire were evaluated in the same manner ("The Englishwoman is craping!"). In those days, the Russian society talked about Queen Victoria and the United Kingdom, which has been in the heyday of its colonial empire. Everybody believed in this thesis and London was responsible for all the problems and failures of Russia on the international arena.
In our case, the slogan "Moscow sponsors (supports) Lukashenko!" has become an article of belief, one of the essential postulates of the Belarusian neo-nationalism, which is firmly focused on the confrontation with the East, and have no claims to Belarus' western neighbors. This nationalist environment believes that modern Belarus is the successor of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, which in theory, if we take into account the union of Lublin (1569), determines the inclusion of the Republic in the historical contest for Belarusian "buffer" between Russia and Poland.
By the way, this notorious confrontation sometimes gets hysterical character. For example, in January 2013 the interview of former Deputy Minister of National Security of Poland Romuald Sheremetyev (http://bdg.by/news/politics/20009.html) appeared in media. At the same time on September 30, 2012 Alexander Lukashenko stated that Warsaw is ready to annex western Belarus. (http://belarus.regnum.ru/news/polska/1451309.html). Do not forget the radical point of view of the General Staff of the Russian army, but it is another topic that is still waiting for its research...
In the dogma "Moscow sponsors Lukashenko" one can see geopolitical roots of this slogan - a democratic Poland is supposed to look more attractive for Belarusian society in comparison with the "barbaric Russia", "responsible" for the maintenance of the Lukashenko regime. So, in theory, it is necessary to fight against Russia, but not Lukashenko ... In fact, we are observing such situation for 18 years, the first Belarusian president has almost perfect conditions on the domestic political scene and political longevity. At the same time it is believed that the "free" Minsk will deliver a bill to
Moscow for the support of its “marionette." However, we’ll return to this point later…
Universality of anti-Russian theme, which includes the slogan "Moscow sponsors Lukashenko" has its historical roots even in the Soviet time. Since the time of Petr Masherov, the Belarusian population was told that «all evil was from Moscow, Masherov was killed by the order of Leonid Brezhnev, all milk, meat and sausage were taken out of Belarus to Moscow, Belarusians would live good, if Moscow did not intervene, etc». The political power of the republic was initially perceived as "blameless" and its main goal in the Soviet time and now, in the era of independent Belarus, is to oppose to "imperial ambitions" of Moscow.
Of course, Lukashenko recalls this "feature" of the Belarusian leadership at the moment of the next Russia-Belarus crises. It is clear that in this case the official Minsk does not mention that for the period 2000 - 2013 the total volume of Russian financial and resource support to the Republic of Belarus has reached 72 billion USD ... That's the «empire».
It should be noted that today in Belarus there are no real political forces, which have step by step program of refusing from Russia's economic dependence in combination with well-defined and «concrete» reforms of the Belarusian economy. There are only populist slogans, typical for the early 1990's. There is a feeling that no one in Belarus can do it, as the transition to a real market economy will require huge resources, but Belarus has no these resources.
That’s why Belarus has claims to Russia. It should support and lend a hand to new Belarus. However there is no guarantee that the new Belarusian government will be less anti-Russian than the Baltic states. In this case we are talking about some sort of future contribution from Russia for supporting the Lukashenko regime. Therefore, when one speaks about the subsidies and the preferences from Russia to Belarusian economy, it means that Russia supports directly Lukashenko. Who benefits from such a question formulation?
Who obtains benefits?
First of all, for a variety of reasons, the Lukashenka regime benefits from it. It should be reminded that until now, the Kremlin gives legitimacy to all processes in the CIS region. Moscow's recognition gives an opportunity for retaining the power. The creation of the interim government in Kyrgyzstan in April 2010 is a striking example of this rule. The question of the legitimacy of the new government has disappeared after Vladimir Putin's call to Rosa Otunbayeva.
It should be reminded that almost all presidential and parliamentary elections in Belarus were not recognized by the West, but were recognized by Russia. Recognition on the part of Moscow ensured that none of the embassies of the EU countries and the US did not left Minsk in protest against the results of the next elections. The question of legitimacy instantly paled into insignificance - the new EU ambassadors handed credentials to Alexander Lukashenko, but the Belarusian opposition did not criticize the EU countries. Why? There should be only one enemy! In this case it is Moscow, which is responsible for everything.
Stating that "Moscow sponsors (supports) A. Lukashenko," certain political forces actually say that Moscow recognizes Alexander Lukashenko as a legitimate president. This conclusion is very important, especially if we take into account huge political and economic dependence. Only once, during the presidential election campaign in Belarus in 2010, Moscow publicly stated that recognition of the legitimacy of Lukashenko might be withdrawn.
It should be noted that Minsk and Moscow have learned lesson from the Russian-Belarusian crisis in 2010. A. Lukashenko felt that Moscow really could not recognize the election results in 2010. In other words, the Kremlin may remove him from power. EU promises to recognize the election are worthless – Belarus needs resources, markets, loans. However, the West will never provide Belarus with such resources. In December 2010, Alexander Lukashenko has already agreed to the country’s joining to the CES. Belarus has entered the third stage of integration in the post-Soviet space, initiated by Moscow.
At the same time, Lukashenko has started clearing the Belarusian political field from the probable leaders who may become an alternative to him. After the fall of 2010, the Belarusian president has suddenly realized that any more or less adequate political leader, who is able to fulfill obligations and realistic about the regional role of Belarus, would be perceived in Moscow very positively. However, every stick has two ends - clearing the political field of possible alternatives has unwittingly led to the selection. Special gratitude to him for this. We will not continue this theme now, but remember this moment ...
Moscow has also made its own conclusions, making sure that the modern Belarusian political class is unable to nominate alternative to Lukashenko. During 2010 election campaign the opposition forces have passed some kind of test: those political leaders, who had the self-declared status «Moscow's protege», did not understand the policy of Russia in the elections, and gave the legitimacy to Lukashenko. In fact, the legitimacy, which Moscow has suddenly decided to take away from Lukashenko. It should be noted that in 2011-2012 these «pseudo-proteges» had made extremely anti-Russian statements. Of course, this fact was noticed in Russia.
As a result, in 2010, Russia was alone at the political arena of Belarus. It turned out that everyone, including the considerable part of the opposition, is satisfied with Lukashenko.
This conclusion determined the future integration way of Belarus, which is led by Alexander Lukashenko. In this case he is indispensable for Moscow. Russia has met its targets in the post-Soviet space. Lukashenko helped the Kremlin in exchange for payment in the form of various integration advances, including access to Russian oil at domestic prices. Belarusian president has no competitors again. Belarusian political world is not able to propose something else. Is it the fault of Moscow?
Switching of points
Speaking about the political slogan «Moscow sponsors Lukashenko», we should take into account one more thing, which completely suits the Belarusian authorities. The fact is that it allows to shift the anger of the population from Lukashenko to Moscow.
As a result, any political struggle is meaningless, and the population continues to antagonize Russia. Such situation is comfortable both for the authorities and the nationalist part of the opposition.
Only in the last two years the Belarusian authorities have refused from openly and massive anti-Russian propaganda in the state, including electronic, media. However, the traditional provincial approach: «The situation in Russia is much worse than in Belarus, they follow example of Belarusians, can not think themselves, etc.», remains in force. This approach is applied to almost all positive or pseudo-positive facts of Belarusian life. So, the concern of some part of the Belarusian society that if «Kremlin sponsors Lukashenko», it will lose the confidence and the sympathy of the Belarusian people, seems naive.
So, the Belarusian leadership is the monopolist on the field of likes and dislikes of the Belarusian people. On the one hand the authorities place much efforts to pit the population against Russia, but from the other hand, use the opposite trend sometimes:
- Belarusian authorities use all means to hide the information on the amount of financial and resource support to the Republic from Russia. Alexander Lukashenko's press conference is a perfect evidence of this fact. The most part of his monologue was devoted to the recovery of the Belarusian economy after 2011 crisis, but he did not mention the Russian resource (access to Russian oil at domestic price) and financial support (loan of EurAsEC ACF);
- At the same time, Alexander Lukashenko and his ministers popularize in the Belarusian society negative attitude towards Russia, as it should «return», «give» something to Belarus. It should be reminded that academician Rubinov regularly returns to the "idea" of "returning" Tyumen oil fields to Belarus, but he does not understand or persistently «forget» on whose money these oil fields were created. In 2012 new range of claims to Russia in the framework of CU-CES was formed, including a claim for compensation for Russia's WTO entry, etc.;
- At the same time, the Belarusian authorities assure the Belarusian society that «Russia is our strategic partner» and «will always support» Belarus. In a period of severe economic crisis in 2011, the Belarusian media described Russia-Belarus relations mainly in this vein. It was expected that Russia would not stand on the sidelines and support Belarus.
- At the same time, Alexander Lukashenko during his presidency constantly scandals with the Kremlin, insults the Russian leadership and creates the myth of the special relationship with Russian leaders. It creates a sense that Russia will always provide Lukashenko with political cover. It should be reminded that being under the pressure of popular rebellion (silent revolution, a slow handclap, etc.) in the summer of 2011, the authorities began to calm security officials, assuring them that in "the case of escalation, Russia will help", they say, “will storm ashore” in the framework of the CSTO, etc. This is a very important point. If we take seriously this Lukashenko’s game, any anti-Lukashenko political struggle in Belarus will be senseless, as it is clear that the Belarusian opposition has no resources to oppose Moscow. This is a clever trap for the opponents of the regime, "Guys, be silent, or leave the country, we are working under the “Russian cover”. However, the Belarusian authorities have no “Russian cover”, and Russia-Belarus crisis in 2011, which we have already discussed in detail above, is eloquent evidence of this fact. This crisis can always happen again.
As a result, we see that the policy of the Belarusian leadership towards Russia is non permanent. Lukashenko, like a card sharper, has opportunity to pull this or that policy, which he needs at the moment. When it is necessary, the Belarusian president divides the population of the republic on the "Russian question", and when he needs a common position of the nation, he speaks out against Russia.
For example, let's remember what Lukashenko said at the press-conference on January 15, speaking about the issue of solvents and diluents: «Sometimes the position of the so-called journalists and our media surprises me. Do you remember how they criticized me for these solvents, diluents, biodiesel and do not care what happened in reality? What did we do? They told Russians «Lukashenko deceived you, etc». Clearly, the Russians defended their own interests. But look at the part of our media, in our state. I received information: «Lukashenko is so-and-so, Russia should not forgive him».
This long quotation unlocks some important secrets. Belarusian president practically admits that his shady deals with solvents had impact on Russian interests. In fact he burgled Russia and demands the thievish solidarity from the Belarusian people. Indeed, in his mind, he was trying to do best for the Belarusian people, demanded Russian resources, stole, and some Belarusians are dissatisfied.
The apologists of the slogan "Moscow sponsors Lukashenko", based on the example above, will surely say: «Which was to be proved - Lukashenko is robbing Moscow, and it forgives him everything, therefore, the opponents of the Lukashenko regime are right when they say that Moscow is the main reason for saving this regime in power». And it will be a mistake! First of all, Moscow does not forgive, it may postpone the issue, but will not forgive. Secondly, Lukashenko personifies Belarusian dependency, he acts as a successful "getter" for the country, and many people in Belarus actually afraid of the future without him. According to the Belarusian formula of the power, until Lukashenko gets something in Moscow, he retains the power in the republic. His political opponents are trying to find counterbalance to Lukashenko in Brussels, actually pushing the West to the East, and limitrophe uses this fact to survive. It is a vicious circle. «Third element» is needed in order to get out of it.
Whom does Lukashenko really fear?
The fact is that the West is not able to stop the endless period of reign of Alexander Lukashenko, as it will always balance between its political and humanitarian values on the one hand and the economic and political benefits, that brings the Lukashenko regime, on the other. It should be reminded that Minsk is a constant irritant for Moscow and bleeder of Russian energy resources, coming through Belarus to Europe
At the same time, the West (in this case the EU) will never agree to a massive economic support of Belarus during the transition period, proportioned to the Russian support. Belarusian authorities clearly understand this fact, and actively use the slogan: "The stronger Europe will put pressure on Lukashenko, the faster Lukashenko will get in the hands of Moscow". This slogan became traditional both for the official Minsk and the Belarusian opposition.
However, this slogan is rather paradoxical and not really true. The fact is that Moscow has always been of serious hazard to A. Lukashenko, because of the objective dependence. It should be reminded that there is an objective conflict of interest between Moscow and Minsk and it can not be resolved at the negotiating table. This conflict really divides the countries. Only Lukashenko is to blame for this fact.
The problem is that only Russia may provide real political and economic changes in Belarus, but only together with the Belarusian mature political movement (formed by popular rebellion). This mass movement, aimed at the overthrow of the regime, having support at all levels of the Belarusian society, will force Moscow to take into account its interests and look for an opportunity to negotiate with it. This formula does not need additional prove.
Current Belarusian opposition is just out of this formula and this fact determines its permanent failures. It is entirely pro-Western and fundamentally nationalist, has no any pro-Russian elements and therefore is isolated from Russia, presenting itself only the vanguard of the West.
On the one hand, the Belarusian authorities, by the hands of its security services, push away the Belarusian opposition and its internal flow from Moscow, using the slogan "Moscow sponsors Lukashenko." On the other hand, the official Minsk and Belarusian security services present the Belarusian opposition in Moscow as pro-Western, pro-Poland and even pro-catholic forces.
During the discussions of the Belarusian theme and the role of the Belarusian opposition in the Russian expert community, the author of this article again and again heard the examples of anti-Russian hysteria on the forums of the Belarusian opposition websites: «Best Russian is dead Russian», «wild Russia», etc. I had to explain that very often the most anti-Russian comments on the Belarusian opposition websites are written by the Belarusian special services in order to promote a wave of hatred to Russia among the opponents of the regime and prevent
Moscow's attempts to start dialogue with the opponents of the regime.
The fact is that the slogan "Do not sponsor Lukashenko" is also advantageous for the opponents of the Belarusian regime. First of all, based on the image of Russia as a political and economic patron of Alexander Lukashenko, the Belarusian opposition has always the possibility to put the blame on Moscow for its endless failures. The first thing that the leaders of the opposition did after the December 19, 2010 - blamed Russia. They said Moscow provided the failure of their election strategy and organized attacks on opposition rally. You could not even imagine the best variant for Lukashenko, who was once again in the role of the performer of "imperial" will. As a result, only Moscow is responsible for all anti-democratic actions that holds the Lukashenko regime. Belarusian President once again finds himself in the role of "protector" of the interests of the independent republic and " fighter" for the Belarusian sovereignty.
Secondly, the opposition is struggling not against the authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko, but against "Imperial Russia". This fact allows it to rely on the support of the West. As a result, everyone is happy ...
The slogan "Moscow sponsors Lukashenko" reflects the limitrophe character of modern Belarus and its political class, the dependency character of the Belarusian society, the inability or unwillingness of the Belarusian intellectuals to find out the real interests of the neighbors and partners of the Republic.
Infantile and a farmhouse perception of the world around with its controversial calls and mutual interests, creates ideal conditions for the simple formulas and answers:
- It's raining in bad time!
- Moscow's fault. Let’s stay at home, get some sleep on the couch.
Most probably that it will take about ten years and the author of this article will have to write a new series of articles under almost the same title: "Beijing sponsors Lukashenko." What goes around, comes around...
A. Suzdaltsev, Moscow, 20.01.13