Moscow’s hybrid war against Belarus recalls its actions in Ukraine in 2013, Vlantsevich says

Hybrid war (computer keyboard and Russian soldier)

 

International, Op-ed

Moscow can’t afford the consequences of a direct military invasion of Belarus and doesn’t have sufficient resources to be able to buy off Minsk, Aleksandr Vlantsevich says; and consequently, it has already begun a hybrid war against its western neighbor, seeking to destabilize the situation and remove Lukashenka from power.

The Belaruskaya prauda commentator says that Belarus now has many elements which recall those of Ukraine in 2013 and of Romania in 1989. As a result, Alyaksandr Lukashenka is ever less able to retain power and stability because there are “too many domestic and foreign factors” deployed against him.

Belarus (green), Ukraine (yellow) and Russia (red)

Belarus (green), Ukraine (yellow) and Russia (red)

What the Kremlin is working toward, Vlantsevich argues, is a combination of two things; and he stresses that both are important to it. On the one hand, it wants to destabilize the situation and thus force Lukashenka from office. And on the other, it plans to blame both factors on the West and then use the resulting confusion and instability as the basis for intervention.

“Under conditions when economic or information methods don’t work and direct military means are undesirable,” the Minsk commentator says, “only one thing remains,” to destabilize things to the point that Lukashenka can’t hold power and then use his ouster as the occasion for the introduction of Russian peacekeepers.

In far too many ways, the situation with regard to Belarus now recalls that of Kyiv in the summer and fall of 2013 in Ukraine. Everything appeared calm, and no one anticipated what was coming. It looked like Kyiv would sign the association agreement with the European Union, and so few noticed that Russia had already begun its “’hybrid war‘” against Ukraine.

“How all this ended, we saw with our own eyes,” Vlantsevich says. Moscow seems committed to repeating the same approach now. Belarusians need to be aware of that danger because being forewarned is to be forearmed at least in the tactical sense.

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Edited by: A. N.

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