Belarus not threatened by a Ukrainian scenario: It has its own ‘little green men,’ Ukrainian analyst says

Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka with Vladimir Putin and Putin's defense minister Sergey Shoygu observing joint military exercises (Image: kremlin.ru)

Belarus President Alyaksandr Lukashenka with Vladimir Putin and Putin's defense minister Sergey Shoygu observing joint military exercises (Image: kremlin.ru) 

Analysis & Opinion, Belarus

Belarus is not currently threatened by a Russian action like the one Moscow has carried out in Ukraine because Minsk has set up its own groups of “little green men” and the Kremlin knows that even if it moved troops into its western neighbor, it would not be able to control it, according to Ihar Tyshkevich.

Ihar Tyshkevich

Ihar Tyshkevich

Indeed, the analyst at Kyiv’s Institute for the Future argues, Belarus is sufficiently well-protected that Ukrainians stop being nervous about the joint Russian-Belarusian Zapad 2017 exercises and instead recognize that if Kyiv had taken the same steps Minsk has, Moscow would have failed in Crimea and the Donbas.

“Exercises in Belarus are a traditional scarecrow for the Ukrainian media,” Tyshkevich says; but “for Belarus they aren’t dangerous.” That is because the Russians know that they could easily seize Belarus at almost any time, but “who would control” that country afterwards? The answer is far from clear.

Belarusians are subject to “strong Russian information influence” and half or more “consider that Russia acted justly in taking Crimean from Ukraine. But when asked directly, “If Russia tried to take control over [Belarus] by military means, what would you do?” 17 to 24 percent say they would resist “with arms in their hands.”

Even if the lower of these two figures is the case, it is far higher than what was true in Ukraine in 2014, the Kyiv analyst says.

But there are two other reasons why Belarus is better equipped to resist, Tyshkevich says. On the one hand, “over the last 15 years,” he says, Alyaksandr Lukashenka “has actively destroyed pro-Russian organizations and set to prison all those who have displayed any signs of treason.”

And on the other, the Belarusian leader has “created special secret structures” to resist any Russian move, “including in particular a coordination council of commanders of special assignment forces.” These structures can deploy from 2,000 to 3,000 heavily-armed men “in two to three hours” and make any attempt at occupation by Russia very difficult if not impossible.

Had Ukraine had something like that in 2014, the Kyiv analyst suggests, Moscow’s Anschluss of Crimea and its intervention in the Donbas would have been doomed to failure.

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Edited by: A. N.

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  • Ihor Dawydiak

    Comparing the situation between Belarus and Ukraine vis-a-vis their relations with the Russian Federation would be akin to comparing apples and oranges. For its part, Belarus under the iron fisted rule of its current dictator Alyaksandr Lukashenka has taken a very cautious approach in its dealings with the Kremlin by partially claiming neutrality and as such has limited any notions of freeing itself from Moscow’s sphere of influence. On the other hand, successive Ukrainian Governments (with the exception of the Yanukovych era) have all made ever increasing strides to rid themselves from Muscovite interference in their internal and external affairs. Moreover, the recent success by the current Ukrainian Administration to realign itself as an associate member of the EU coupled with direct aid in financial, economic and military matters from the Western powers has effectively split Ukraine from Russia’s sphere of influence. Hence, the Russian invasion of Crimea and Eastern Donbas and the corresponding crippling sanctions leveled by the West against Putin’s regime. However, it is the future which is of much greater significance. While Belarus as a much smaller player may have a difficult time in extricating itself from Moscow’s sphere of influence, Russia’s permanent loss of Ukraine has doomed Pompous Putin’s dream of recreating a new Russian Empire to oblivion. Also, by standing up in defiance to Russia’s attempted onslaught, Ukraine has blazed a new trail for other former Soviet Republics to follow in maintaining their independence from Moscow. As for Putin the Pederast, he can wallow in his rotten cabbage patch.

    • veth

      The Pederast is in Ukrainian Crimea now. Visiting Artek school camp. Crimeans, keep your boys this weekend in, litte whilly is in town.

    • Mick Servian

      Yeah well apples and oranges is true.
      Ukraine=failed economy
      Belarus=doing quite well. Better standard than in Bulgaria or Romania

      • MichaelA

        Nice fantasy
        Try talking to people from Belarus

        • MichaelA

          no you obviously havent talked to them and you dont know anything about ukraine either
          ukraine is doing quite well considering its soviet past whereas belarus is in a terrible state
          and no i said nothing about a western standard
          learn to read before you reply to posts lol

          • MichaelA

            no you havent and no the eu doesnt
            and no ukraine is not a basket case
            its got its problems
            but belarus is in a terrible state
            and no i said nothing about a western standard
            that is just your silly paranoia
            best thing ukraine ever did was get away from russia but they havent gone far enough
            yet

          • MichaelA

            belarus is no powerhouse
            try asking the people who live there
            ukraine is doing well enough
            and better than belarus
            and better per capita than russia
            best thing ukraine ever did was get away from russia but they havent gone far enough
            yet