The Belarusian nation has risen against Lukashenka

"Non-vagrants" march in Babruysk Belarus, March 12 2017 (Image: video capture)

"Non-vagrants" march in Babruysk Belarus, March 12 2017 (Image: video capture) 

2017/03/12 • Analysis & Opinion, Belarus, Politics

Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian political analyst and writer

Vitaly Portnikov, Ukrainian political analyst and writer

The Lukashenka regime, “like many other post-Soviet authoritarian” systems, rests “not on the total support of the citizens but rather on their total indifference to what is taking place in their own country,” an indifference which the Belarusian leader like Ukraine’s Viktor Yanukovych in 2013 has violated, Vitaly Portnikov says.

As a result, the Ukrainian analyst says, those who have come out into the streets of Minsk, Homel, Mohylev, Babruysk and Vitebsk are “not the usual Belarusian opposition,” but rather the Belarusian people who “had never been especially interested in politics” and viewed Lukashenka and his regime as something to be endured.

Now, because of Lukashenka’s desperation to find money for his regime given that Moscow is no longer supplying it and no one else is likely to, the Belarusian dictator has awakened the population from its lethargy. And as was the case in Ukraine four years ago, it is the people in the form of a nation rather than the opposition that is now in a position to make history.

Neither Lukashenka nor most commentators appear alive to this possibility preferring instead to focus on elites, either within the country or abroad, and dismissing the possibility that ordinary Belarusians are now the prime movers in this drama.

Thus, Lukashenka has moved to arrest and otherwise harass his more well-known political opponents, and many analysts have focused on the role that Russian agents – or more rarely Ukrainians or the West – may be playing. There is just enough evidence of such activity that it seems plausible to many, especially given the dismissive attitude to Belarusians.

But each weekend is bringing fresh evidence that none of these supposed organizers is playing the role many have expected or assumed is necessary given the remarkable passivity of the Belarusian population in the past – and even more compelling evidence that the Belarusian people have now entered history as actors.

Slow to anger and cautious in accepting anyone from the outside of their local communities as a leader, the Belarusian people like the Ukrainians at the time of the Maidan are taking their fate into their own hands. One can only admire this genuine popular rising and hope it will quickly be successful against a brutal and increasingly out-of-touch dictator.

And one can also hope for something else: a recognition by Russians and people in the West that the Belarusians are not the backward and passive people outsiders portray them as being and instead more committed to the values of democracy and popular rule that others talk a lot about but don’t always practice.


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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Robert

    Slava the Belarusian People!

    • WisconsinUSA

      i second that whole heartily.

    • Tony

      The term ‘rus’ predates Russia itself and is not unique to Russia. For example, in Ukraine there used to be Kievan-Rus, Rus Kingdom(Volyn), Rus state(Cossack Hetmanate).

      Unfortunately the kreminals have perverted the Rus name in recent centuries.

  • Dirk Smith

    Belarus is a fly in the vaseline for the gay dwarf. Especially when being surrounded by successful free market countries like Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, etc. Neanderthal Soviet dinosaurs like Putie the Pedophiles’ worst nightmare. His days are numbered…….

  • zorbatheturk

    The Soviet dinosaurs must go.

  • Tony

    These protests may blow up in Lukashenkas face but in all likelihood, it will just boil over.

    I prefer a skeptical wait and see attitude here.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      I’m not so sure. Winter is almost over and as temperatures rise people will be more likely to join protests. Lukashenko made two huge mistakes: the “vagrancy” tax and building on Kurapaty. The people might forgive him if he cancels the tax, but even THINKING of building on Kurapaty, where thousands of Belarusians were shot and buried in unmarked graves by the NKVD, let alone actually permitting construction work, is quite another matter. I don’t think Luka will get away with this one so easily.

  • Kruton

    Death to all Bolshevik child raping nutjobs!

  • Greg

    it remains to be seen when Putin will invade Belarus to achieve a number of goals. 1. to stop citizens from changing the government because this would cause serious problems for Putin IN Russia. 2 to surround Ukraine and thus be able to invade in almost any direction. 3. to create a land bridge to Kaliningrad. 4. to see if Trump or anyone else really cares.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      Trump may not care if/when the dwarf invades and annexes Belarus, but you can bet your last worthless rubble that Congress WILL care. Unlike the dwarf’s rubber-stamp Duma which simply does whatever the dwarf tells it to, Congress can make life VERY difficult indeed for Trump if he tries any funny stuff; the same applies to Dwarfstan which can count on Congress drawing up further sanctions even if Trump won’t..
      Seizing Belarus doesn’t give the dwarf a direct connection to Königsberg. There’s still Lithuanian and Polish territory to cross, and they will certainly reinforce their borders should the dwarf invade Belarus.

      • zorbatheturk

        I don’t think Putin dare risk an actual invasion. In Donbas he is pretending there is no invasion, just a separatist rebellion and civil war. Most now know this to be a lie, but Putin can still hide behind it and fool idiots like the UN.