Continued from Part 1
Over the past several weeks, Ukraine has attempted to butt heads with Russia and Belarus. At the same time, Ukrainian authorities have counted on a Maidan in Minsk. Whether by coincidence or not, a huge stream of weapons and militants has been pouring into Belarus from Ukraine. In addition to Belarusian neo-Nazis who have fought in Ukrainian volunteer battalions in Donbass, Ukrainian militants themselves are infiltrating the country.
The Belarusian authorities and the public have also taken note of a large influx of refugees from Ukraine – we are talking about tens of thousands. It is easy for dozens or even hundreds of militants with experience in street fights with police to blend into this mass. In July of 2014, the author of these lines observed the same “deployment” of strong young men with minimal belongings and without women and children who, in an organized and efficient fashion, crossed the border into Russia under the guise of refugees. Later it became known that Ukrainian militants had infiltrated Russian territory in such a manner to prepare a future Maidan in Moscow. But they failed in Russia. Will they try to organize a Maidan in Belarus?
Yet another trend has been noted in the past few days. On November 29th, reports came in that Kiev might deprive Minsk of its status as the main negotiating venue on the conflict in Donbass. As the Ukrainian edition of Radio Svoboda reported, this was stated by the chairman of the Verkhovna Rada’s Committee on Foreign Affairs, Anna Gopko. According to her, Minsk is openly supporting the Kremlin. The grounds for such an accusation was Belarus’ refusal to support Ukraine’s UN resolution on human rights violations in Crimea on November 15th. “If we have said that Minsk is a neutral platform where everyone is to go for negotiations, then after the vote, we can’t count on such,” Gopko stated.
It is obvious that Ukraine understands “neutral status” as none other than Belarus openly supporting pro-Ukrainian positions. In turn, Russia could also present a long list of complaints to the Belarusian authorities accusing them of a lack of “neutrality.” But Russia has not put forth such claims and has not proposed to replace Minsk with a different meeting place for negotiations. Russia’s complaints towards Belarus, or more precisely towards President Lukashenko, are of an entirely different sort, namely, that Lukashenko is not fulfilling his obligations as an ally (Russia and Belarus are members of the Union State). However, Moscow has consistently stressed that it respects Belarus’ state sovereignty and its neutral status.
Ukraine is very jealous and, in my opinion, is short-sighted in its relations and actions towards its neighbors and partners. The Ukrainian state and its diplomacy are only 25 years old and are therefore in their infancy. Thus, Ukraine is behaving like a naughty toddler who interprets any sense of independence as hostility. The most recent example of this was when Italian and Turkish delegations visited Crimea in October and November. The members of these delegations were threatened with being included on the Ukrainian foreign ministry’s list of persona non-grata. Indeed, the ministry officially threatened them with this.
But Belarus is a special case. Unlike Italy and Turkey, the Ukrainians have an arsenal of revenge. Once again returning to the beginning of the article, this revenge could manifest itself in attempts at organizing a Maidan and street actions in Minsk with the participation of Belarusian and Ukrainian neo-Nazis. The flow of arms which President Lukashenko nervously warned of and the influx of migrants from Ukraine give at least serious reason to consider the scenario of Ukraine preparing a Belarusian Maidan.
In September 2016, it was reported that the number of Ukrainian refugees in Belarus had reached 160,000. This was announced by Belarus’ foreign minister, Vladimir Makei. For a country of 10 million like Belarus, 160,000 people is an enormous figure.
Is it a coincidence that the unfriendly characterization of the legal government of the Republic of Belarus as the “Lukashenko regime”, large influxes of migrants (infiltration by future Maidan militants?) and weapons, and accusations that Minsk is in collusion with Moscow are all coming from Ukraine at the same time?
The human, technical, and psychological groundwork for a Belarusian Maidan are being prepared literally before our very eyes. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. What else Ukraine has in store for its Belarusian “brothers” is anyone’s guess.
Originally published on fort-russ.com