By Peter Koenig
Belarus in turmoil, after an election where the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko – 25 years already in power (in office since 1994) – has won with 80% of the popular vote. That’s what the official stats and media say. True or false? Does it matter? – The margin is large enough that it cannot be contested or questioned by “recounters”. So, people take to the streets. First police reaction against protesters is violent.
Washington reprimands Belarus – to calm the police violence – at the surface protecting the protesters. Overall western reaction towards the election is negative. Unilaterally they say “elections were unfair and rigged”. This may be true – or not. The west has been critical for years about Lukashenko’s human rights records. Isn’t it kind of ironic, every time the west has a criticism for which they don’t have a real foundation, they claim “human rights abuses”. That flies just about with everybody. Russia, China and all those associated with these two evil countries have horrible human rights records. Hardly a substance the west brings forward, or if it does, because pressed, they invent the “substance”. China is a case in point.
Just on a sideline – did anybody ever question or even criticize western Human Rights records? Let’s just think of all the western initiated wars and ‘sanctions’ in the Middle East – Afghanistan, Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Palestine via proxy Israel, Somalia; aggressions against Iran, Lebanon; depriving Venezuela, Cuba and North Korea of vital and essential medication, food – and spare parts that could keep their economy running – let alone the smearing and sanctions and aggressions on China and Russia. No one in the west dares say beep. The Anglo-American controlled media are silent. – Where are the real human rights abusers, in giant proportions more severe than those in Russia, China and the rest of the world combined? – Food for thought.
Let’s stay with Belarus. Belarus is also an ‘ally’ of Russia. Or let’s put it another way: Belarus is a buffer zone between Russia and NATO. So, Belarus’s alliance with Russia is important. It is also important for the west to break it. To get a step closer to the Kremlin’s doorstep.
And that’s precisely what’s happening. The fact is that Pompeo went to visit Lukashenko at the beginning of 2020 shaking hands and smiling and pledging friendship – and “democratic assistance”. Despite the Human Rights critique, most western sanctions have been lifted on Belarus, because Lukashenko has freed some political prisoners. Pompeo’s discourse is that Washington supports Belarus’s independence, while they are aware of Minsk’s close links to Russia.
Pompeo said (a Reuters quote): “There’s a long history with Russia. It’s not about picking us between the two. We want to be here.” How wise. The “picking” will be done by Washington’s arm-twisting, or worse, if necessary.
Just coincidentally, when Russia and Belarus had a disagreement over oil deliveries and contract extension in late 2019 and early 2020, Washington immediately offered alternative supplies. Pompeo again: “The United States wants to help Belarus build its own sovereign country. Our energy producers stand ready to deliver 100% of the oil you need at competitive prices.” – And, “Your nation should not be forced to be dependent on any one partner for your prosperity or for your security.”
But an oil contract agreement was reached with Moscow, and deliveries resumed on January 4, 2020.
In anticipation of Pompeo’s visit to Minsk earlier this year, the Trump Administration intimated, “this [Belarus] is an era of great power competition and an opportunity to compete for influence.”
There you have it. Elections are often strategic moments to hit a country when you want to dominate it. Who knows whether the US were behind the election results, directly or by proxy – manipulating them, knowing quite well, that Lukashenko’s popularity has shrunk to a low. Lukashenko has run his country like a police state. Another Lukashenko win could (and should – wished by the west) cause civil unrest – that like in other places of the universe – like Hong Kong, to mention just an ongoing one – can be provoked by Washington and its minions and extended as long as it takes to bring about regime change – which is what Washington dreams of in Belarus.
Belarus without natural resources to speak off, except its strategic location – buffer zone for Russia – depends economically on Russia. Russia has not failed her support to Belarus. It is very unlikely that Russia would interfere in Belarus’s election, despite what Washington says about political and election interference by Russia, it’s not Russia’s style, but it clearly is Washington’s style to interfere in elections around the world. There has been not one “free” election – “free” meaning, without interference, directly or indirectly, of the United Sates, in the last few decades. Not one.
Contrary to the Ukraine, in Belarus there is no visible EU / IMF interference at this point. Just the US at the fringes, by Pompeo’s visit to Minsk on February 1, 2020. But we don’t really know what went on behind closed doors, what agreements were signed “verbally”.
However, whatever secrets the Pompeo visit may have entailed, this looks like a new kind of Color Revolution in the making. One, where the instigators are not visibly Washington and/or their NATO-controlled allies, the European Union. But rather a “third party” close ally of the US, one whose survival depends on the United States, like Ukraine. It is possible that Ukraine, directed by Washington, infiltrated their secret service people and other trouble-makers (possibly with Russian passports) into Belarus, mainly Minsk, before the elections, to orchestrate Lukashenko’s landslide win, as well as the subsequent civil unrest – which as of this day has not abated.
It may not be coincidence that Lukashenko’s only real opponent, Svetlana Tikhanovskaya (who got only 10% of the vote) fled to Lithuania, where she was “safe”, as Lithuanians Foreign Minister said.
Though, the US officially condemns Lukashenko’s police brutality, but in secret, they want Lukashenko to remain in power, until the appropriate moment, when the control is sufficiently advanced, as was the case with Ukraine. In the meantime, they may groom Svetlana to eventually take over from Lukashenko – when the time is ripe for another “Maidan” – Belarus style.
No doubt, President Putin is aware of this – and probably of other likely scenarios. Learning from the Ukraine experience, he may opt to ‘replace’ Lukashenko before it’s too late. Because if Belarus falls – and with Ukraine at the southern doorstep, Moscow would be in real danger.
About the Author
Peter Koenig is an economist and geopolitical analyst. He is also a water resources and environmental specialist. He worked for over 30 years with the World Bank and the World Health Organization around the world in the fields of environment and water. He lectures at universities in the US, Europe and South America. He writes regularly for Global Research; ICH; New Eastern Outlook (NEO); RT; Countercurrents, Sputnik; PressTV; The 21st Century; Greanville Post; Defend Democracy Press; The Saker Blog, the and other internet sites. He is the author of Implosion – An Economic Thriller about War, Environmental Destruction and Corporate Greed – fiction based on facts and on 30 years of World Bank experience around the globe. He is also a co-author of The World Order and Revolution! – Essays from the Resistance. Peter Koenig is a Research Associate of the Centre for Research on Globalization.