Lukashenko Regime is Flailing

General Strike: Ironically, this wouldn’t have happened if Lukashenko had pursued neoliberal reforms. ~90% of the Belarus economy is state-owned.

Prediction Market: The only prediction market I’m aware of on whether Lukashenko remains President of Belarus (as of Jan 31, 2020) is on Metaculus, it is now at 60% (down from an initial 75-80% until August 13).

https://www.metaculus.com/questions/4918/alexander-lukashenko-to-remain-president-of-belarus-on-january-31st-2021/

General Schizophrenia: Belarus state TV has uncovered a “Minsk protest organizer” with a list of objects that every Western spy needs to carry around with him:

  • Ukrainian intelligence agency SBU ID card (complete with card of Stepan Bandera)
  • Hand grenades and masks
  • Books on firearms, assassination methods
  • Polish ID card
  • Miniature NATO flag

But before one speculates at the IQ of the audience this spectacle is aimed for, they also claimed that this agent was in touch with “Moscow politologists.” Making him a Russian agent, as well as a NATO one.

Or, more realistically, flinging anything they can in an effort to make something stick. (While reinforcing the point I have been making that Lukashenko is no friend of Russia’s).


Anyhow, while I thought the regime was stabilizing around August 12, it’s clearly on the downslide again now. This doesn’t mean I think Lukashenko is done for. It may well be able to outlast the general strike – the workers need to eat, after all. And the same factors that applied before, continue to apply now, namely the lack of politically influential oligarchs (that can be subject to Western financial pressure), non state-controlled mass media (though the Internet is a major factor), or well-established opposition politicians (Tikhanovskaya, now calling for new elections from Lithuania, is a figurehead for her blogger husband, who is in a jail in Belarus). These factors make the situation incomparable to that in the Ukraine. (And even there, Yanukovych may well have survived had he stuck by his siloviks, instead of stabbing them in the back).

Subsequently, I can’t quite see how a Maidan is to succeed unless the siloviks around Lukashenko themselves defect. But we will see soon enough.

Comments

  1. Please keep off topic posts to the current Open Thread.

    If you are new to my work, start here.

  2. Making him a Russian agent, as well as a NATO one.

    Nice! Way to go Belarus! After all, it is well known in the liberal press that Putin rules America via Trump. Therefore, it is only reasonable to assume that Putin rules NATO as well.

    Lukashenko should write an editorial about it in the New York Times and go on Rachel Maddow. Topic of the editorial – “NATO is actually a Warsaw Pact. Like, literally.” I’m glad Belarus had finally cracked the code.

  3. Colour revolution says

    These workers who are on strike work for state owned factories – that have been subsidised by Lukashenko.

    They are marching towards unemployment!!!

    Why are people so dumb ???

    Privatisation will happen and they will just become cheap labour in the west.

  4. I’m not sure the strike is as widespread as reported.

    I read minutes ago that (private?) businesses are open in Minsk, people are selling watermeloons, restaurants are working, etc.

    Also what was reported as being a strike yesterday (I forgot the enterprise’s name) was in fact a meeting to make some demands regarding OMON’s actions. First they talked to the manager, then to the mayor. Some workers were beaten for no reason. Thankfully, the government walked back and apologized.

    The grant-eaters are rather silent on Twitter, with scant report and relying a lot on one another, circulating the same pics (which don’t look massive, indeed, it varies from a few dozens to a few hundreds. It’s odd that the people on strike are uniformized and in their place of work. Where I live, you don’t go to work on strikes when they happen, other than perhaps on the first day, to announce it. It’s hard to say they are indeed not working.

    No huge protest gatherings, which is where the danger of sudden regime change lies, especially if they overwhelm the siloviki at the government buildings and by their sheer numbers demoralize them. I hope this won’t happen in this weekend, so the siloviki better be prepared, by e.g. cutting transit and don’t letting people set barricades anywhere, and yes, arresting troublemakers.

    I’m no fan of Lukashenko, he’s a backstabber, but today I read reports of the opposition wanting not only for Lukashenko to step down, but also LUSTRATION of the judges, siloviki, and the entire government. You know what will happen then? The replacement will be handpicked by their Russophobia and loyalty to the “West” (Jewry and the minor Anglo players). It’s so predictable.

    The good news is that this makes the siloviki more determined.

  5. Never paid attention to Belarussia until now. Very interesting society.

    I agree hard to predict the final outcome. On the gut level I can’t stand the young/liberal and oppositionist people anymore. You see left right divide everywhere even in a communist country.

    This conflict made me realize a lot of new things(lack of a better word) that I been saying in posts here. New realization crystalized how passive the right is. They tend to be the content and sit around and do nothing as world around them burns. Luka has to have some supporters. Where are they. He literally needs to take their hand and personally walk them to a rally for them to show up. This is why liberal psyops about how everyone is with us so effective.

    I now think best system of government is autocracy or dictatorship. Only these systems can ensure survival of a nation. It should be the natural state of being for the right. Any other system tends stronger towards degeneracy and eventual collapse. Everything eventually collapses why help the forces of entropy?

  6. “Where I live, you don’t go to work on strikes when they happen”– True when you strike for wages or working conditions. When you do political, the ‘regime change’ strike you do occupational nation-wide strike particularly when companies are state owned, i.e., belonging to the people meaning the workers who work in them which legitimizes the occupation of factories. Other important reason is that you want to do occupational strike is to keep people from going on the streets where they could be very easily provoked to violence and could be met with an overwhelming force. Preferably you leave the streets for women who have moderating effect security apparatus and hopefully on the hot headed youth are infested with provocateurs. You sent women with flower against the police and with food for workers locked up in factories.

  7. Felix Keverich says

    God, I hope he gets sodomized by a knife, Gaddafi-style.

  8. There is no way that Belarus would be allowed to keep its state-run enterprises if it turns West, just like none of the other former Soviet republics were allowed to once they allowed Western advisors in. The Ukraine finally gave up its Black Earth land to keep Zelensky in power. This was inevitable because raiders started seizing land from small farmers almost immediately after Maidan.

  9. “Merkel is certainly far-left” – This is irrelevant whether she is and in what sense she is left or right. The issue here is geopolitical for Germany as well as for Russia and the US. Does Germany care or need independent and sovereign Belarus? Or is it possible that Germany shares Russia view that subjugation/annexation of Belarus by Russia would give significant blow to Trump/Pompeo Three Seas initiative and would weaken the V4 and subjugate Poland to EU and Germany. It is possible that the US and Poland would prefer Lukashenko and his balancing tightrope act rather than a maidan that would give the pro-Russian faction chance to came to power. It is possible that the anti-Lukashenko politicians were seeded by Moscow and supported by Berlin from the very beginning. But it is possible that instead of just frightening and discipling Lukashenko the opposition got too strong and got out of hand and gained general support. Otoh people on the street level do not think in geopolitical terms and the alternative EU vs. Russia is not on the forefront of their awareness. They want better life that is more free and more colorful. But people can be outplayed and deceived easily by skillful moves like introducing a figure that will offer them salvation. Does Russia has such a figure in its sleeve in Belarus?

  10. Unless you can be like North Korea (and the penalty for being like North Korea in terms of standard of living for your population is too large, North Korea’s per capita GDP is basically on the same level as a subsaharan craphole like Guinea or Senegal, you can even argue that the rural areas have an even lower standard of living than places like Burundi or Burkina Faso, there is no way you can shield your population from the shiny things that the West has to offer like iPhones and such, and fundamentally people just hate feeling like they are being locked in a cage against their desires and wishes, even if it is for their own good. There is no way to square this circle. As for the appeal of pozzed MNCs in developing countries, they simply are able to offer better wages and benefits compared to their local competitors, or the order of 2 times or more the wages of what local companies can offer.

  11. Philip Owen says

    Where is the advantage for the security forces in backing Lukashenko? He has lost in every direction except them. What more can they extract from him? The longer they back him the more exposed to the final winners, whoever they are, they become. So far they are staying with him but this is a very short term perspective. Better to put a KGB candidate up as a presidential candidate? Are overly loyal KGB aged generals standing in the way of change. Time for a colonel’s revolt? At the very least, victory will bring promotion as the old guard are cleared out.

    The army can take out the security forces by taking over the barracks and destroying their logistics. Which side is the army on? Free and Fair elections or dictatorship?

    Russia has finally fitted out an oil refinery capable of Euro+, the Moscow refinery. Others are under reconstruction. The Belarussian refinery complex is on notice as the withdrawal of subsidized prices suggests. Change is coming and Lukashenko will not have the answers. This must be obvious even to KGB generals, although they just might be too old or too stupid. They were probably appointed for loyalty not merit.

  12. They are marching towards unemployment!!!

    …not by bread alone! – pleasing eternal slogan preached by the uppermost Western meme-maker almost 2,000 years ago.

    They also have dreams. Why wouldn’t Luka’s workers have dreams and aspirations?
    3rd rate Italian hotels are staring empty, waiting for the wide-eyed Belarus middle class dreamers who want to see the world...and maybe clean a few toilets while visiting. It’s always the same.

  13. Hyperborean says

    Also, Duda would like Putin to oppose the SJW Globalism espoused by Merkel and other interventionist EU Elites. Driving Russia and Germany closer together is obviously counter productive.

    Are you familiar with the Kaczyński brothers and the Smolensk crash?

  14. It looks like everyone has a plan, but nobody is in control. This could surprise.

    I have said before that the deep, irreconcilable geopolitical differences between Russia and its enemies – a very long list – will eventually be solved by a bloody clash somewhere. A massive clash to clear the deck. It seems that Belarusians have volunteered, or somebody volunteered them.

    Now for the strategy: this is a weak place to poke Russia, but also deadly dangerous for Russia, right there with messing with St.Petersburg. That combination suggests that West will be half-hearted, other than the emotional Poles, Balts and Ukrainians. But maybe not, the West has been losing a lot lately, they might need a Hail Mary. And Pompeo is today in Prague for a reason.

  15. Anonymous lurker says

    I think Russia’s muted official response (total non-response so far, to be honest, save from Zakharova’s lazy copy-paste remark on the protests, and Putins earlier copy-paste “congratulations” on Batkas “win”), and the overt anti-Lukashenko remarks made in some kind of semi-official capacity by certain Duma deputies (incl UR guys, and of course Zhirik), some ministers and a big bunch of liberal but Kremlin-agreeable public figures, plus the majority of Russian media (both state-owned and indy) covering the protests neutrally or even pro-protester, it could mean that Russia’s just tired of Lukashenko, and sees no immediate danger of the situation escalating into an Ukraine clusterfuck that harms their interests, regardless of what happens to Lukashenko.

    Ackshually, given the recent Russian push to try to increase immigration of and simplify obtaining work/residence permits and citizenships for what more and more (albeit somewhat covertly) basically amounts to white Slavic Christians, and with Poland and Lithuania already being full of Ukrainians (and not being particularly fond of a majority of the Belarusian population either), perhaps they’re hoping for a little injection of that, with no obvious downsides, such as any risk of a pro-Western puppet regime being installed any time soon.

    Even IF a pro-Western puppet is installed, them joining the EU is not on the radar for the forseeable future, and they won’t be joining NATO for aeons. Russias military presence in the country is negligible, and has no huge historical and symbolical value (though it has some, but not critically), so it’s certainly not a Crimea or anything like it. I think the Kremlin sees the situation as manageable, and they have plenty of levers to pull over that time without having to resort to any blatant “hands-on” measures.

    But I am certainly no analyst, and I have very little experience with Belarus. Know a few people that all are super-Russian (and they live and work in Russia nowadays), been there once (in the company of Russians, and didn’t explore jack shit), and that’s it.

  16. Swedish Family says

    The big question, it seems to me, is whether Lukashenko’s human-rights record is so beyond the pale that Washington can’t possibly give him favorable treatment, no matter the scenario or geopolitical stakes. If it is, then this dramatically weakens Washington’s hand — and so strengthens Russia’s: every silovik will know what’s in store for him if Belarus joins the Washington order.

    On the whole, we should be happy that the reunification question comes to a head now, when sovoks are still a powerful voting bloc, and not in a decade’s time.

  17. Hyperborean says

    Of course. The Poles are pissed at the Russians over an avoidable aircraft crash. There is blame to go around on that catastrophe.

    However, there is no rational reason to believe that Duda would flood Poland with refugees by triggering unmanageable disorder in Belarus. That would take patented “Merkel Ultra-stupidity & Arrogance“. Duda is way smarter than that.

    If you are familiar with Jaroslaw Kaczyński, then you should know that Duda doesn’t actually control the country.

    Additionally, setting aside that Poland is already on its way to becoming a country of immigration and both general Polish perceived defensive interests and Polish hegemonist ambitions, the instability resulting from a weak Lukashenko régime is just as likely to produce refugees as the instability from a new pro-American régime.

  18. Swedish Family says

    Pompeo has stops in Prague, Warsaw, and Vienna to intended to pointedly travel around Germany’s border and highlight Merkel’s total lack of regional influence.

    An imbecilic statement even by MAGAtard standards.

  19. Pop Warner says

    Lukashenko could become a darling of American media if he claims that Trump and Putin colluded to remove him from power. Anything he did before would be forgotten, all sins forgiven. As long as he keeps up the conspiracy theories about Russia that russophobe journalists salivate over he too can be turned into a saint, just like Saint Floyd of Fentanyl. The memory of the average cable news viewer is so short and their knowledge of the world outside the US so limited that it can easily be pulled off.

  20. I would not say so. Pompeo is in V4 drumming up real and symbolic actions that are not Merkel’s priorities. He is snubbing her in her own neighbourhood. V4 was explicitly created as an anti-German coalition, there are some games being played.

    Pompeo asked in Prague for energy and telecomm concessions – basically: ‘buy from us and not from Russia-China‘. But no discounts, so it will go nowhere. (Pompeo: “Do you want to buy a hamburger from us for twice the price? We will like you and visit more if you buy.” Czechs: “Yeah, you are a great guy, maybe next year. But it was nice to see you, come back soon.“)

    In Warsaw he wants as big and as permanent bases as possible for US to threaten Kaliningrad. It is making Poland into a potential land zero in any (nuclear) conflict and only Poles are irrational enough to do it. Czechs are infamously cynical and never play a role of a target.

  21. …The best outcome for Russia, Poland, U.S., and Belarus is a strong pro-Russian regime that will not generate refugees.

    But they want refugees. They want as much migration and heterogeneity as can be generated, and as quickly as possible. The elite string-pullers behind the leaders of those countries have as one of their top priorities to have migrants, refugees, ‘students’, whomever – that’s the goal, all else is noise.

    They know that in nicely heterogeneous and mutually hostile societies with an oversupply of labor they will be ruling more securely. All else is usually sacrificed to achieve this goal – they know that without it the wobbly house of cards they have created would collapse very quickly. There will be more migrants as long as they rule over us, come fire or high water, they will keep on coming – it’s not a mistake, it’s what the system is built on.

  22. Hyperborean says

    So we agree.

    You shouldn’t twist my words.

    But given the cluelessness of this statement perhaps I shouldn’t bother:

    They working on the plan to kick Germany’s economy and national stature by relocating a highly symbolic and valuable military installation to Poland.

  23. Ok guys you can take it as Luka philia. And I do like his style. At least the way he talks and acts during this crisis. But I don’t think what I am about to say is that. Imagine if Trump or Putin acted this way. Luka addresses the parents of kids they are catching. He is like I understand by the time they are 16, especially boys, some parents can’t control them. But we are here, turn to us so we can make them busy. Another part of that speech he took a step back and said to his siloviki please don’t beat them once they are on the floor. But also refused to condemn his men. Yeah that does not sound like a lost and defeated man.

    Watching at the development of things I am getting the feeling Belarussia is going to settle down after about a month more of protests.

    I suspect. Luka is trying to get the protesters to get emotionally invested in police again. Get them to put down shield and get hugs. Same shit happened here in the US. To the disappointment of all on the right that wanted beatings.

    My gauge of how the situation develops if it stays peaceful. Today is second day of peaceful demonstrations. I think peaceful demonstrations are not dangerous to the regime at all. It let’s people release their emotional energy and the people in power can ignore it completely.

    Strikes is another thing it does hurt government but it also hurts the strikers and those in power know that.

  24. Dacian Julien Soros says

    The most recent change of govenrment in Moldova was arranged by the US and Russian ambassadors. When I mentioned it, you said that “no one cares”.

    Maybe Belorus is set to become a similar buffer DMZ, under a Putin-Trump undeclared armistice. It’s my turn to not care.

    With any luck, maybe they will arrange for a DMZ (and will fight the next war) on the outskirts of Moscow. That, or Western Europe, work for me.

  25. If this isn’t an exaggeration, Lukashenko is starting to look like Honecker did in 1989.

    https://amp.cnn.com/cnn/2020/08/14/europe/belarus-protests-riot-police-intl/index.html

    The police joined the protesters in Berlin, too; but some police did so in Beijing also, but not enough.

    I get the sense that Lukashenko is in a weaker position than Li was; but is his position any stronger than Honecker’s was?

    In October 1989, Berliners chanted “Save us, Gorby!”

    Will they chant “Save us, Vova!” in Minsk?

    Putin might see an opportunity to get a more reliable partner in power. The Western elite might go along with it if there were neoliberal economic reforms. Putin might even appreciate such reforms, since he allegedly sees himself as a Russian Pinochet, and Russian business leaders might be salivating over the prospect of buying Belorussian assets for peanuts, like they did in Russia in the 1990s.

  26. Poles don’t mind Belorussian migrants/refugees any more than Russians. They sync well, Russophones can pick up Polish in ~3 months, and unlike Ukrainians, there are no uncomfortable “contradictions” with Polish historical narratives (e.g. the whole UPA/Bandera thing).

  27. I just wanted to say that Lukashenko is the last Aryan President worthy of any hope. Orbán? He considers Hungarians Turks and banned Richard Spencer. Whereas the Father of White Russia has warded his country of both the EU and the NATO, both fags and immigrants…

    I learned of this looming civil war only recently, on 7 August. I’m not surprised – even though the country is fairly uniform, Western dogs will always find a way to howl and growl.

    Now I am waiting. Will Lukashenko be worthy for the last sons of Belarus to die for? Or will he flee like Wilhelm II and Yanukovich did?

  28. Kent Nationalist says

    Better to be a dictator than gay

    They will never forgive him for this powerful comment

  29. Poland instincts is “everything Russian is bad and evil. We must oppose to Russia even if we die”.

  30. Hyperborean says

    — I think a color revolution in Belarus is a mistake.
    — Putin thinks a color revolution in Belarus is a mistake.
    — Trump thinks a color revolution in Belarus is a mistake.
    — Poland thinks a color revolution in Belarus is a mistake. Or is at least willing to go along with Putin/Trump.

    You think a colour revolution is a mistake.

    Putin, going by his public statements, wants deeper integration with Russia – this is something which may be possible with a weak Lukashenko but definitely not with a strong one.

    Pompeo wants increased sanctions if Luka doesn’t go.
    https://tass.com/world/1189069

    Polish President and PM have expressed their support for colour revolution.

    Poland on Monday called for an emergency European Union summit on the situation in Belarus after clashes in the night in Minsk over a disputed presidential election.

    “The authorities have used force against their citizens, who are demanding change in the country. We must support the Belarusian people in their quest for freedom,” Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki said in a statement.

    Morawiecki said he had written to European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and EU Council President Charles Michel with the request for a summit.

    […]

    In a joint statement on Sunday, Polish President Andrzej Duda and Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda had urged Belarus “to fully recognise and uphold basic democratic standards” including freedom of speech.

    “We are convinced that closer cooperation with the European Union is in the interest of Belarus… and stand ready to continue to provide further support to Belarus in deepening its relations with the united European family,” they wrote.

    https://www.thejakartapost.com/news/2020/08/11/poland-calls-for-eu-summit-on-belarus.html

    So you can see who is disagreeing with you.

    It should have read … They are working on

    That’s not the problem. The problem is that removing occupation forces is not a punishment for Germany and does nothing to harm Germany’s “economy and national stature”.

    Given what it means to receive American “help”, I wish USA “punished” Europeans like this more often.

    Furthermore, there is the geographical issue. Even if we assume that present-day NATO is intended to defend Germany against Russian infantry, then Poland’s status as a buffer state simply means that they get to take more of the punches intended for Germany (though most of the withdrawn troops won’t go to Poland).

  31. EU driving Belarus to Russian arms?

    EU does not accept Belarus election results, preparing sanctions – Foreign policy chief Borrell

    https://www.rt.com/news/498060-eu-sanctions-belarus-election/

  32. Gaddafi’s example shows that nothing is ever forgiven. Once you are designated a bloody dictator, it’s forever. They may be nice to you for a while if it suits them but will squash you at the first opportunity.

  33. Holy fuck man stop! This is so true.

  34. Holy fuck man stop! This is so true.

  35. Hyperborean says

    New quest for the White-Red-Whites: finally convince the Hexagon to stop using Biélorussie and start using Bélarus.

    https://www.cairn.info/revue-etudes-2006-7-page-9.htm#

  36. Psst! Do not tell them how close all those slavic languages are. Or people. Then this panslavismus idea might not look like lunacy.

  37. So many panracial attempts and none of them worked out. I would be extremely skeptical of that type of proposition.

  38. …Be specific.

    I referred to the ‘elites behind the leaders‘. The leaders following what the elites want are in Germany, France, UK, US – in spite of the cheap verbose circus that Trump has been performing, in terms of substance he has done nothing. I would remind you that we never look back at previous leaders based on what they said in their speeches, we look at what they did.

    Russia is a separate case, but the same cheap-labor business dynamic seems to have huge influence over Putin. Poland does what she is told to do, or even better, Poland anticipates the wishes of its masters and tries to exceed the expectations, Duda, Kacsinski, Tusk – they are all eager beavers trying to please. They will take the migrants if told to do so.

  39. Slavs are more divided by religion than by language.

  40. Europe Europa says

    What I find amusing is that the sort of people who say all Slavs should be one country, are the sort of people who would love to see Scotland leave the UK and a United Ireland. What’s good for them isn’t good for us it would seem.

    I’ve literally seen some of the more rabid Slavic nationalists (presumably Russian or at least pro-Russian) on this site say there is less difference between a Russian and a Pole than an Englishman and a Scotsman, which is just an absurd notion on every level.

  41. Would you be so kind and quote or at least name a single commentor who desires a pan-Slavic state?

    I wouldn’t want anything to do with (other) Slavs – and Russians have paid the ultimate price for assisting the damned biomass that the Slavs in general are.

  42. Belarus affairs on socia media:

    “A Jew, a Polak, a Ukrop, a Latvian and a Lithuanian enter the comment section”

  43. Europe Europa says

    Poland is the EU, and is not at all pro-Russian so I don’t see how Trump moving military bases to Poland can be construed as an anti-EU gesture or a pro-Russian gesture.

    I would imagine Trump’s decision to move the bases to Poland is a pragmatic one. Poland is now a lot wealthier and more developed than it used to be, so there is now no real disadvantage or potential infrastructure problems in having the bases in Poland rather than Germany, and is also geographically closer to the perceived threat, which is Russia.

  44. The obsession.

  45. Swedish Family says

    How would you characterize the itinerary for Pompeo’s “NATO but no Germany” trip?

    Pompeo leaving out Germany from his travel plan is neither here nor there.

    Your claim that Germany lacks regional influence is not only wrong, but the exact opposite of reality. Germany is the EU’s foremost power broker by quite some distance.