A Rubicon is crossed: Like Ukrainians, Belarusians now view fighting despotism as patriotic

Anti-government protests in Mensk, Belarus on February 17, 2017 (Image BelaPAN)

Anti-government protests in Minsk, Belarus on February 17, 2017 (Image BelaPAN) 

2017/03/08 • Analysis & Opinion, Belarus, Politics

The Belarusian protests have crossed a Rubicon in recent days, Roman Popkov argues: Belarusians taking part in them now view fighting the despotism of the Alyaksandr Lukashenka regime as a patriotic act, a development that means they increasingly resemble Ukrainians in 2013.

The slogans which bring people into the streets may touch on socio-economic problems, democracy, and corruption, the Russian analyst says.

“But the main thing among both Ukrainians and Belarusians is the struggle for the liberation of their country and nation and for a renewed Daughter-Motherland under national banners.” In both places, “resistance to tyranny is a patriotic act,” Popkov says.

Given that more protests are scheduled over the next three weeks, that shift in the mindset of Belarusians changes the calculus for all involved.

For the demonstrators, it means that their struggle is now a zero-sum one in which they will only win if Lukashenka is ousted and replaced with a regime answerable to the Belarusian people.

For Lukashenka, it means that his room for maneuver is less than ever before, especially since he can’t count on Moscow to intervene on his behalf or on the West to overlook his dictatorial approach in the name of some broader geopolitical game.

For Moscow, it raises the specter of another color revolution, perhaps Putin’s greatest fear, at a time when a massive Russian intervention almost certainly would plunge Moscow into a new era of additional sanctions and increased Western hostility.

And for the West, which almost invariably prefers the stability it knows to the instability of democratic movements, it represents a situation in which Western governments appear to have little influence on the outcome but to be greatly dependent on what occurs, a situation in which the balance in decision making could rapidly shift from one extreme to another.



Edited by: A. N.

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  • zorbatheturk

    These dinosaurs need to become extinct. Putin, Lukashenka, and the rest.

    • Rafael Hernandez

      just a wet dream of Ukrainian nationalists

      • zorbatheturk

        Bogovsky Putinard.

        • Rafael Hernandez

          Idi nahuy, Ukroblya

          • Alex George

            Please don’t use the language of ISIS here.

      • Forewarned

        I haven’t seen a troll in so long, Raffi, you’re a sight for sore eyes. Well, sort of. I’m nostalgic.

        • Dagwood Bumstead

          I’m not. We are better off without all those lobotomised and castrated loons such as Sir-Gay Tokarev, Vee-Narain Yerevan, Screwie and all the other Savushkina trolls.

          • Forewarned

            Your post remains me of a troupe of clowns when you run through those names of colorful characters. For our foreign readers, it is perhaps best to explain that most Americans dislike clowns. I as a child remember the circus as my first run-in with these freaks, at Ringling Bros. & Barum & Bailey to be exact. It’s sad that this circus folded-up its tent just recently. I remember the clowns there boiling out into the audience like plague rats as I, horrified, attempted to become invisible as hard as I possibly could in my seat.

            I hate clowns. And yet, there’s something about those painted dildoes running around like spastic apes that is both frightening and exciting. I’ll miss those evil bas-tards as I would miss these azzclown trolls.

            At least they are amusing.

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    And all this without Victoria Nuland handing out “doped” cookies, or any Belarusian opposition leaders handing out doped oranges as Yulia and Yushchenko supposedly did in 2004-2005 according to Lyudmila Yanukovich!

    • zorbatheturk

      I think the Kremlin will dress up a female FSB agent as a fake Victoria Nuland to do the cookie-handout gig in Minsk. Rumor is Vladimir Putin has been spotted buying chocolate chips and baking powder in a supermarket, so it appears he will be baking the said cookies himself.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        Chocolate chips are far too expensive for the dwarf!

        • zorbatheturk

          RuSSian chocolate is 80% rat droppings.

    • Rafael Hernandez
      • Alex George

        What’s in the link – something important?

        • Rafael Hernandez

          Yes, the truth about the conflict. Translate it to English

          • zorbatheturk

            Swallow a live centipede.

          • Alex George

            But how would you know what truth is?

            Anyway, if it is important, tell us what it is. Sorry but I am not investing the effort required to lift my fingers to follow a link from someone who has repeatedly shown themselves to be untrustworthy and ignorant.

          • Rafael Hernandez

            Because it is from Nrk, Usally anti-Russian news outlet, that invastigated the conflict and found out there is another explaination, besides what your is hero is telling you

    • veth


      The United States House of Representatives has approved a bill authorizing $150 million to be spent on defense aid for Ukraine in fiscal year 2017 under the Ukraine Security Assistance Initiative.

      A total of 371 lawmakers out of total 435 voted for the document, while 48 voted against, the House’s website notes.

  • Dagwood Bumstead

    The danger is especially: what will the dwarf do if Lukashenko is kicked out? I still believe he will invade and annex Belarus if that happens. Simply installing a Moscow puppet instead of Luka won’t be nearly enough: if the people of Belarus get rid of Luka they won’t accept a Muscovy yes-man as his successor, even if he IS a Belarusian citizen.
    “Losing” Belarus after already “losing” the Ukraine will threaten his own position at home- he will be seen as a weak leader. As for western measures- e.g. extra sanctions- if he invades, he need not fear that. His friends Merkel and Co will only utter a few weak verbal protests, nothing more.

    • Quartermaster

      When the USSR invaded Czechoslovakia and removed Dubcek, we didn’t think there would be much protest in Germany. We were quite wrong. It lit off a firestorm and the Bonn Government had to back away from the Soviets a lot. I’m not saying that will happen if Putin invades Belarus, but I’m not willing to say it won’t.
      I was living in Germany at the time.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        In 1968 Kiesinger (CDU) was Chancellor of West Germany. Had Brandt been Chancellor the reaction would probably been quite different.

  • veth

    The European Parliament and the EU Council unanimously support the granting of visa-free regime to Ukraine. This is stated by the press attache of the EU delegation in Ukraine David Stulik on 112 Ukraine TV channel.

    Stulik said that the adoption of visa-free regime between Ukraine and the EU will be “a very quick decision.”

    “The EP has very unanimous support for granting a visa-free regime to Ukraine, so there is no need to expect any problems. This decision will be positive.The next will be the EU Council, which also earlier decided that Ukraine should receive a visa-free regime. It is just necessary to go through some formal procedures, like tomorrow’s vote of the EP on civil liberties, justice and internal affairs,” he reported.

    Earlier EP intended to consider Ukraine’s inclusion in the list of countries without visa requirements on March 9. This was reported in the schedule of EP Committees.

    As the message says, this day they will be voting for Ukraine’s entering to the list of countries exempted from visa requirements. Mariya Gabriel will be the speaker, voting will take place regarding the text which was earlier agreed on during inter-agency negotiations.

    • Yoshua

      Ukraine wants in. Britain wants out. If Wilders wins then Holland is out. If Le Pen wins then France is out. The EP has demanded EU nations to accept their refugee quota. No one is listening to the EP. Hungary is building a fence. Austria is building a fence.

      Welcome to the European Family !

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        Latest opinion polls in the Netherlands show that Wilders is losing ground. Even if his party becomes the biggest, nobody will form a majority coalition with him. The leaders of all other major parties categorically rule that out.
        As for Le Pen, French polls show she will decisively lose in the second round, with Macron the new president. Fillon doesn’t stand a chance of reaching the second round thanks to the revelations about his wife’s so-called job. And Le Pen herself is also under fire.
        The Austrian and Hungarian fences aren’t aimed at Ukrainians, but at migrants from Africa and the Middle East.

      • MichaelA

        Russia will fall apart long before the EU.

  • Fortranz

    “- The Belarusian protests have crossed a Rubicon in recent days, Roman Popkov argues: Belarusians taking part in them now view fighting the despotism of the Alyaksandr Lukashenka regime as a patriotic act, a development that means they increasingly resemble Ukrainians in 2013.

    The slogans which bring people into the streets may touch on socio-economic problems, democracy, and corruption, the Russian analyst says. -”

    To: Comrade Vladimir Putin.

    The next “Revolution of Dignity” will be in Moscow.

    Time is running out for you Putin. Run now while you still can.

    Lavrentiy Beria