Moscow (Aftenposten): Here are five possible consequences of the country’s kidnapping that shook the world.
Perhaps there were not many who thought two weeks ago that a 26-year-old critic of the regime from Belarus would become world news.
Belarus has been inundated with reports of countless arrests, violence and repression since last summer. Only at the beginning was there international news. For the past week, the name Roman Protasevi was on everyone’s lips. This says something about how exciting the May 23 event was:
Fighter jets forced Ryanair flying from Athens to Vilnius to land in Belarus. In the capital, Minsk, 26-year-old journalist and activist Roman Protasevich was arrested. Same was his girlfriend, Sophia Sabega (23).
A week later, the story is not over yet. But here are five consequences of what happened:
1. Advanced process
Last year the presidential elections took place in Belarus. For a quarter of a century, the country’s president Alexander Lukashenko won big prizes. Many believed it was fraud in the elections.
Week after week, hundreds of thousands of peaceful protesters took to the streets. They were met with brutal violence. In major acts, the opposition and the press have been arrested, imprisoned, and expelled from the country.
When Lukashenko ordered a fighter plane to escort a passenger plane down, the operation was much more advanced than has been seen before:
- The Belarusian authorities discovered that Protasevic was on board that plane.
- They sent a fighter plane and got down the plane.
- The regime issued a statement about a bomb threat, in which Hamas and several European countries are participating.
People are imprisoned from time to time, but not for such advanced actions. Martin Poulsen says he surprises me. He is a former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Rafto Foundation and a Belarusian expert.
On Thursday, an email containing an alleged bomb threat was revealed after the fighter jet was sent to escort the passenger plane down.
2. Redirects the light to the system
In August, the demonstrations in Belarus were world news. Then it was quiet. Partly because foreign journalists lost the opportunity to work in the country. Belarusian journalists have been arrested. Only from a few news sources was it possible to obtain information about what happened within the borders.
The biggest result of what happened is the return of Belarus to the agenda. The country has been forgotten. Now Western Europe has opened its eyes once again on what is happening in Belarus, says Poulsen.
3. A new standard can be established
When the news first broke out, the first analyzes were marked by panic.
Gideon Rachman writes Financial Times:
“If little Belarus can demand that a plane land in Minsk, what prevents the Iranians from doing the same with Tehran or for the Russians to force a plane to land in Siberia?”
Rachman feared that a new standard had now been set. Now the threat is not only on the citizens within the country’s borders. Now it is also possible to threaten citizens outside their borders.
But a quick and consistent response offers hope
David Ignatius in The New York Times It is believed, however, that the incident demonstrates a desperate and pressured dictatorship:
“Do the Thugs Win? Sometimes it can look like that, “he wrote.
But he thinks another important lesson comes from the accident:
The European Union’s response was swift and unanimous. Penalties now don’t just apply to individuals. The Belarusian airline Belavia is not allowed to use airports in the countries of the European Union or European airspace. In addition, Swedish authorities on Tuesday withdrew an export guarantee of 2 billion NOK. This applies to the export of gas turbines to Belarus.
Ignatius concludes that the Belarusian dictator is now more isolated than before.
5. The alliance with Russia exists – for the time being
It remains doubtful whether Lukashenko is too concerned about more enemies in the West. He still has a loyal friend in the East. Russian authorities support Belarus in this regard. They have confidence in Lukashenko’s explanation that the threat of a bomb made it necessary to divert the plane to land in Minsk.
Dmitry Peskov, a spokesman for President Vladimir Putin, said the Kremlin saw no reason to distrust the declarations made by the Belarus leadership.
The alliance was confirmed when Lukashenko and Putin met on Friday. Lukashenko spent the week communicating with the West:
As we expected, those who want to harm us, here at home and abroad, have changed their methods of attacking the state. They crossed many red lines. The official PLTA news agency quoted him as saying that they crossed the line of common sense and human morals.
In the Russian media, the agreement has not been fully agreed. Protasevich is Russian girlfriend. 23-year-old Sophia Sabega made headlines in the neighboring country. Why was she arrested? Are you getting the help you deserve?
The Sabega case has become an unfortunate case for Russia, The Kommersant newspaper writes:
Russia, which stands by Belarus in the new conflict with the West, should now try to free a Russian woman accused of carrying out activities that are also punishable in Russia.
Helen Skjigestad is a Russia correspondent. Follow every day on Snapchat: Beard Snap