Moscow media portraying Belarus as ‘enemy and aggressor,’ Oreshkin says

Image: krymr.org

Image: krymr.org 

2016/01/21 • Analysis & Opinion, Belarus, Politics, Russia

The Moscow media has been filled in recent weeks with a flood of publications portraying Belarus as an “enemy” of Russia, calling into question Belarusian sovereignty, and even threatening annexations of part or all of Belarus by Russia on the Crimean model, according to Dmitry Oreshkin.

Dmitry Oreshkin, Russian political analyst (Image: belaruspartisan.org)

Dmitry Oreshkin, Russian political analyst (Image: belaruspartisan.org)

The Moscow commentator told RFE/RL’s Belarusian Service that this flood constitutes a full-blown “information and ideological attack” not only against traditional targets like the supposed artificiality of the Belarusian language and Belarusian nation but also against Belarusians supposedly plotting against Moscow.

Three recent examples of this campaign include:

  • Moscow’s “Pravda” newspaper carried a letter from Mensk saying that “Belarusian ‘democrats … have crossed all borders not only of good sense but of morality. In their articles, statements, books and ‘scientific’ works, they seek to show that the Belarusians and Russians have no common historical roots and that the Russian people and Russia always were the main enemies of the Belarusians against whom they almost constantly have fought.”
  • Another Moscow outlet wrote that “the ‘Youth Front’ is preparing for a military confrontation with Russia. ‘At the end of last year, [it] was founded and created a military-patriotic union ‘Vayar’ which now not only is actively recruiting supporters but also conducting patriotic training in the open air.” The “only difference” between it and Ukraine’s “’Right Sector,’” the news agency continues, is that “the militants of the Belarusian ‘Vayar’ immediately designated their goal as being ‘opposition to the pro-Kremlin fifth column in Belarus and against Russian aggression, which this fifth column is preparing.”
  • And a Russian economist, Sergey Aleksashenko, told Ekho Moskvy radio station that if Mensk continues its campaign to become part of Europe, it will be united to Russia “in a way analogous to the Crimean scenario.”

Oreshkin points out that “20 years ago, Russian patriots with all their efforts supported Alyaksandr Lukashenka because they viewed him as the opposition to liberalization. He was such, but under the influence of objective factors, [he] while maintaining his authoritarian regime ever more is trying to preserve the sovereignty of Belarus and defend himself against encroachments by his eastern neighbor” by turning to Europe.

“If Moscow were the capital of a contemporary state with a high technological and cultural level, then it wouldn’t need to be involved in the artificial promotion of Russian,” Oreshkin says. Instead, Russian would spread as English does. But when anyone fails to use it, many in Moscow go into hysterics.

The Russians think that “they have the right to think in Soviet categories. They are spitting against the wind and therefore they are always losing. And if Vladimir Putin says that he has received ‘a knife in the back,” that means, when translated from Soviet language, that he has incorrectly calculated the risks and has carried out an incorrect strategy.

“For some reason or other,” others are always plunging a knife in Russia’s back in this view, Oreshkin says. “Ukraine and Turkey and Syria and now Belarus.”

At the same time, the Moscow analyst says, he does not think that Belarus faces any real military threat from Russia. “Russia does not have the material, financial, demographic or diplomatic resources in order to annex Belarus. Therefore ever more often will efforts to mobilize the Putin patriotic electorate in the ideological sphere.”

And Russians will conclude that “the Belarusians have betrayed us and put a knife in our backs.” But perhaps that will lead some to ask themselves whether it was an intelligent move to turn our back to them?

Edited by: A. N.

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  • Nowhere Girl

    The real irony is that uniting Belarus with Russia is what Lukashenka once tried to do.
    Lukashenka made a great rapid career in the early 90s. For some time he was even seen as a moderniser and, with his populist policies, in a few years he became president. But his lust for power didn’t end there. He thought that if he could come to power so quickly in Belarus, why not repeat it in Russia – his only problem was that the Soviet Union had thankfully died and thus he had no Russian citizenship… This is the root of the “Union of Russia and Belarus” project – bringing it to full fruition would have given him the function of person No. 2 in the Union. Someone in Russia had been more clever, saw what this guy was doing and so the project never reached more advanced stages.
    This is also why Lukashenka actually hates Putin – for him Putin is a symbol of all the things he could have done but never had a chance…
    Of course, “Union of Russia and Belarus” is still not the same as an anschluss – it would have left much more independence for Belarus. While Lukashenka has been pro-Russian and remains mentally a clear homo sovieticus, I believe he does have some patriotic feelings for Belarus. So what will he do now?…

    • Quartermaster

      That’s a good question. The Belarusians are resisting granting the Russian Air Force a base in Belarus, and Russia seems to be making plans to pull a Belarusian Anschluss as Putin did with Crimea, and has tried with the Donbas. It would seem Lukashenka is just a bit concerned with the possibility of a Russian invasion. While Putin doesn’t seem to have the resources to invade and Annex Belarus as he did with Crimea, I wouldn’t be surprised to see Putin try it.

  • JerseyJeff78

    Kremlin trying to fabricate moral self-justification to attack Belarus next?

    Stay tuned.