Putin becoming a nation builder… in Belarus

Meeting in Minsk against the Russian military air base, October 4, 2015 (Image: BelarusPartisan.org)

Meeting in Minsk against the Russian military air base, October 4, 2015 (Image: BelarusPartisan.org) 

Analysis & Opinion, Belarus

Few people have done more to unite and mobilize the Ukrainian nation than Vladimir Putin over the past 18 months. Now it appears the Kremlin leader has embarked on a similar unintended effort in Belarus where his plans to force Alyaksandr Lukashenka to agree to a Russian base have begun a rallying cry for the Belarusian opposition.

Yesterday, some 400 to 500 people assembled in Mensk – the figures are from the Russian TASS news agency and so unlikely to be an exaggeration to protest against Putin’s plans and Lukashenka’s apparent agreement to establish a Russian air base on Belarusian territory.

The hour-long meeting was peaceful, and no one was arrested, although several of the leaders were presented with protocols and police indicated that a court would take up the issue of their actions at a future session. But what was most striking is the way in which speakers linked foreign and domestic policies.

Uladzimir Nyaklyayew, one of the organizers of the meeting, used the occasion to announce the formation of a movement “For the Independence and Statehood of Belarus. He said that if it weren’t for the example of Ukraine and the Donbas, one could say put bases where you like. There are many foreign bases in the world.”

“But in Crimea, there was a military base from which they seized part of the territory of Ukraine. If that was the case there, then why should it not happen here?” he asked. Nyaklayew added that “we came to the square in order to say ‘no’ to the violation of the constitution… We do not intend to fight with anyone, and if we allow military bases, we will lose our neutrality.”

Nikolai Statkevich, another Belarusian opposition figure, also spoke to the crowd. He said that it is clear that “this military airbase is directed against Kyiv. We however do not want that from our land will come a danger for the fraternal Ukrainian people, even if it comes also from our neighboring fraternal people. We don’t need this.”

“The dictatorship is pushing us toward a global war and making us a target” so that Lukashenka can “sit in his chair for another year or two.” To achieve that, Statkevich said, risks making us “a possible victim even of nuclear strikes. Lukashenka is war,” he concluded.

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Dagwood Bumstead

    It’s too early to tell whether the dwarf’s demand for a base (and probably more than one) on Belarusian soil has started the process of nation building in Belarus- one swallow doth not a summer make. Furthermore, 500-1,000 demonstrators are a far cry form the vast numbers on the Maidan in 2013-2014. If there are repeat demonstrations and these manage to attract ever larger numbers, however, things might start moving in Minsk. At the same time, there is a very real danger that the dwarf will use such demonstrations as an excuse to invade “to protect Belarus from a fascist junta taking over the country”- although a fascist junta is running the country at this very moment.

  • Thomas Ferree

    With any luck at all, the dwarf Putler will work the same magic in Belarus that he worked in Ukraine – to help Belarus find its true soul and become totally independent FROM RuSSia! Lukashenka, NOW is the time for your balls to engage your brain to seek EURO union help and be a bold part of saving your country from being absorbed by the #1 terrorist of the world – Putler!