By a commentator for Tjen Folket Media.
Originally published August 18, 2020.
Belarus’s President Lukashenko will begin a new presidential term after 26 years as Russia-dominated country’s undisputed “strong man”. Enormous popular protests broke out following the obviously rigged election and the masses heroic struggle against the old state’s security forces.
Our German comrades have written about the uprising here:
The comrades write that tens of thousands of people have taken to the streets to protest against the rigged elections in the country. They write that Lukashenko was supposed to have stepped down in 2006 in accordance with the country’s constitution, as he had been in office since 1994. But, with the help of the secret police, which has murdered, arrested, and tortured people, and aided by the rigging of the election and the oppression of the opposition, he has secured victory in the 2006, 2010, 2015, and 2020 elections.
The masses’ rage has increased on the basis of the country’s colonial relation to Russia. Half of Russia’s oil exports leave the country through the Druzhba oil pipeline, which runs through Belarus. The country is economically dependent on Russia, the official language is Russian, and tendencies towards public quarrels and criticism cannot hide the real relationship wherein Belarus is subordinated under Russian imperialism.
Opposition leader Svetlana Tsikhanowskaja has fled the country. During her election campaign, she promised the masses that she would remain within the country and fight, but she now sits in Lithuania, where she has broadcast video messages to Belarus and urged people to remain at home. The German comrades write that she has portrayed herself as a weak woman who puts her children before politics. At the same time, the Belarusian masses are being shot and killed in the streets. She runs away from her responsibilities when the masses fight—when they show that they are willing to risk persecution, torture, and death.
The German comrades write that this yet again confirms what Chairman Mao said about the masses writing history, and not the politicians who capitulate and flee.
NRK wrote on uncompromising fronts in Belarusian politics in connection with the elections:
“The police have come down hard on people who have gathered in the streets to protest against the election results. In several places, there have been hard confrontations, and the police used water cannons, tear gas, and flashbangs to disperse people (…) Both the riot police and military forces were brought in, and the Belarusians that I have contact with say that there was a surreal atmosphere in the capital city tonight. The situation appears more like a war zone than the stage of a presidential election, they say.”
Western media and politicians are appalled by the state terror. The US has condemned the Belarusian government’s repression against the protests. These are of course empty words and phrases. The Trump administration has after all shown that they do not have any problems with exercising terror against the people on their own soil. Again, one can see the imperialists’ hypocrisy, and their fake concern for the masses is used in a game between great powers.
The official election results in Belarus claim that 79.7% of the population voted for Lukashenko, which is not in line with the volume of masses who have gathered in streams against his administration. At the same time, he is reported to have some degree of support, particularly among older Belarusians.
Human rights organizations report that more than 1300 people were arrested in the weeks leading up to the elections, including election observers and members of the opposition.
In the lead-up to the elections, there has also been tension between Lukashenko and Russia. Lukashenko arrested 33 Russian security forces members from the so-called Wagner group, who he accuses of being mercenaries that have been preparing for a coup. Lukashenko has also criticized the build-up of military forces on the country’s Western border, including in Poland.
The American periodical Foreign Policy wrote on July 29 that the arrest of the Wagner group security forces has raised questions regarding Russian manipulation in the election. The Belarusian government claims that in this context, 200 Russian-backed militants were stationed in the country with the task of destabilizing Belarusian society in connection with the elections. The periodical also writes that “experts” claim that Belarus is only a transit country for mercenaries on their way to countries like Sudan, Syria, and Libya, where the Wagner group is active.
Therefore, there is speculation that the arrests and diplomatic assaults are nothing more than Lukashenko’s attempt to rile up fear for intervention and garner more support for the administration. Foreign Policy writes that Lukashenkop routinely depicts himself as the only person who can defend Belarus from manipulation from both the East and the West.
In reality, the country, as has been mentioned, is dominated by Russian imperialism, and Lukashenko’s patriotism is fake and empty, as is often the case when it is found in the mouths of bureaucratic capitalists in semi-colonial countries. The corrupt politicians like to speak warmly about the Fatherland, but sell its people and resources at bulk prices to imperialists.
Foreign Policy further writes:
“Belarus has long been a loyal vassal of Moscow, dependent on subsidized Russian energy in a relationship that came to be known as “oil for kisses.” But ties between Minsk and Moscow cooled following the Russian invasion of Ukraine in 2014, which prompted Lukashenko to rethink his dependence on Moscow and to pursue a thaw in relations with the West.”
They write that the release of prisoners in 2015 prompted the US and EU to relax their sanctions against the country, and that Washington and Minsk have made a number of diplomatic breakthroughs over the last 18 months.
The periodical also writes:
“While Russia has proved willing to intervene militarily in neighboring states suspected of getting too cozy with the West, first in Georgia in 2008 and later in Ukraine, analysts are skeptical that Moscow would seek to overthrow Lukashenko, particularly in the absence of a viable alternative who is palatable to the Kremlin. Belarus serves as an important buffer state between Russia’s western borders and NATO member states.”
The periodical cites an analyst who claims that Lukashenko is on the verge of digging his own grave. Meanwhile, they write that as long as the country’s economy continues to stagnate with Lukashenko under heavy pressure, he will need to continue to bow to Moscow.
Tjen Folket Media trenger din støtte. Vi får selvsagt ingen pressestøtte eller noen hjelp fra rike kapitalister slik som rasistiske “alternative medier”. All vår støtte kommer fra våre lesere og fra den revolusjonære bevegelsen. Vi er dypt takknemlige for dette. Vi overlever ikke uten, og du kan gjøre ditt bidrag ved å støtte oss med det du kan avse.