Russian President Vladimir Putin is trying to pressure neighboring Belarus to give him more support in the war. But it may be political suicide for the country’s dictatorial leader, an activist from the country believes.
Fall 2020. Violent demonstrations erupted in Minsk and other cities in Belarus.
The fact that President Alexander Lukashenko declared a questionable victory in the elections sent huge crowds to a boil. Those who dared to show resistance were hit with tremendous force.
Arrested protesters told and sent VG horror stories horrific pictures.
For human rights activist and journalist Aleh Rajko, it was the latest wave of uprising he was involved in, after more than a decade of conflict with the regime. He fled to Kyiv, Ukraine.
We who fled Lukashenko were welcomed with open arms in Ukraine. It is very sad that our country now says that it will support Russia more in the war against Ukraine, Rajko tells VG.
background: Russia and Belarus mobilize forces: – Annoying
Ukraine’s allegations are dangerous
On Monday, it became known that Lukashenko, or “Luka” as he is called in his country, will deploy joint forces with Russia on the border with Ukraine. He claims that this is because Ukraine is preparing to launch an attack on the country.
The propaganda of the system is very strong. For years, the goal has been to brainwash the population and suppress free media. Rajko says lies are now spreading that Ukraine is a danger to Belarus.
– But the residents of Belarus have no reason to want to go to war with Ukraine, he explains.
Authorities in Belarus say the joint force set up with Russia will be used only for defense. The purpose is to “provide an appropriate response to incidents close to our borders”.
It may be alleged that Ukraine is attacking Belarus with missiles, but Ukraine has no reason to do so, says Rajko.
At the beginning of the war, Russian soldiers attacked Kyiv from Belarus. Missiles were also fired at Ukraine from the country. But Belarus never participated in troops.
Razko believes that ordinary people in Belarus will be against participating in the war, if you go that far. They have seen how badly things are going for the Russian troops, and there is great hesitation if mobilization is carried out to compel the men to join the army.
I don’t think Luca really wants to take part in such a war. He has been skeptical for a long time, but Putin is under pressure.
Russia has claimed that four regions of Ukraine have become attached ,Annexation means occupying an area, and claiming it as one’s own. Russia does not control all the territories it has now annexed. This applies to Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhya provinces. The international community condemns the Russian annexation. It is already part of an alliance that includes Russia and Belarus.
Putin wants to drag Belarus into war. Lukashenko is really only interested in holding on to power, but he is dependent on Putin’s political and financial support.
Meet the Peace Prize Winner
The journalist from Belarus fled from Kyiv to London a week before the start of the war in February.
Now it is unclear whether he can return: Ukraine has become more suspicious of anyone coming from Belarus, and many exiled Belarusians have been denied entry.
Suspicions also surfaced when one of President Zelensky’s advisers made a scathing comment that human rights defenders from Ukraine, Russia and Belarus were jointly awarded the Nobel Peace Prize.
– In Ukraine, they feel that in Belarus we did not do enough to stop the war. I understand their disappointment, but sadly it is. It hurts that everyone from Belarus is seen as complicit in some way, especially when you’ve devoted your life to fighting the regime, Rajko says.
One of the three winners is Alice Bialjatsky, who heads the Viasna organization.
– I’ve interviewed him several times. What an incredibly brave man. After the 2020 demonstrations, he knew he would be arrested. I know several people begged him to leave, but he stayed.
– I hope the Peace Prize will give Fagasna’s work increased attention. Perhaps Bialiatsky is getting some kind of protection through the award, and pressure is mounting to release him.
But at the same time, the peace prize winner has become more valuable as a political prisoner, Rajko points out.
trying to recruit
Rajko himself came into conflict with the regime early on.
He was about to graduate from the Faculty of Journalism when the Belarusian Security Police, the KGB, tried to recruit him. He refused, and the order was announced.
I became more interested in being a journalist critical of the system.
In revenge, the KGB leaked incitement to his sexual orientation on the Internet.
Society in Belarus is very hostile to homosexuals, so they tried to denigrate me as a journalist by portraying me as a pervert.
Rajko explains that the entire queer community in Belarus is under severe pressure.
The regime is persecuting homosexuals. This is partly because the LGBT+ movement was active during the 2020 protests, and partly because the regime will use anti-gay prejudice to create hatred and division.
noteBelarus announced, on Friday, that it launched what it describes as an anti-terror operation, and raised the readiness of its military forces, according to official statements.
In an interview with the Russian newspaper Izvestia, Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei accused Ukraine of “provocations” and says that this was the reason for the operation.
– We already have information that provocations were planned from some neighboring countries, including the occupation of certain parts of Belarusian territory, he tells the newspaper.
Among other things, border controls will be tightened, Meekge says.
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