Oct 19, 2021
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Lukashenka will be overthrown in February

In the photo: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko and Minister of Defense of Belarus Viktor Khrenin (from left to right).

In the photo: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko and Minister of Defense of Belarus Viktor Khrenin (left to right). (Photo: Vadim Savitsky / press service of the RF Ministry of Defense / TASS)

In Belarus, the possibility of organizing a coup d’etat by representatives of the opposition is not ruled out. This was stated by the President of the country Alexander Lukashenko during a meeting on appointments to the State Security Committee (KGB), BelTA Telegram channel reports. In his opinion, this may happen in February next year during a referendum on changing the Constitution of the republic.

Lukashenko is convinced that the situation in the country remains tense, as the West is still seeking to change the government and destroy his independence. For this, the Belarusian leader stressed, Western countries are imposing sanctions, financing the opposition, terrorism and extremism, and also conducting special training for militants.

“The date of the next attempt at revolution is the period of the constitutional referendum,” Lukashenka stressed and called on the KGB leadership to actively work to identify extremists.

In addition, the Belarusian leader is convinced that the opponents of the government, under the control of foreign special services, are planning sabotage at the facilities of the defense complex and the economy, and are making attempts to instigate strikes at Belarusian enterprises.

“Foreign special services and their accomplices are studying the situation in labor collectives,” he said.

As a reminder, strikes and protest actions engulfed Belarus on August 9, 2020 immediately after the presidential elections, the protesters opposed the next re-election of Lukashenka, considering the election results to be unfair. Illegal actions and protest activity in general came to naught at the beginning of this winter. But does this mean that Lukashenka managed to finally crush the protest activity? Of course, a constitutional referendum is not such a convenient pretext for classical “color revolutions” as an election, but still. Moreover, many experts are convinced that the reforms proposed by the head of state have nothing to do with real people’s expectations and are, in fact, an imitation.

Recently, the head of the Belarusian Council of the Republic Natalia Kochanova reported that a referendum on the updated constitution of the country will be held at the end of February 2022. She stressed that now the draft constitution is being finalized, and in the near future it will be submitted for national discussion.

So, there is a reason. Or does Lukashenka specifically warn the opposition so that no one tries to rock the boat? Or are his fears justified, and the West, together with the opposition, may try to take revenge?

– I doubt that this is possible, – says political scientist Vsevolod Shimov

– If we talk about the opposition, then it is deprived of any opportunity to somehow influence the situation in the republic. As far as the West is concerned, its only instrument is sanctions. However, in the West they are afraid that excessive sanctions pressure will push Lukashenka “into the arms of Russia,” therefore they try not to overdo it with the sanctions. So I don’t see any real threats to Lukashenka in connection with the referendum.

“SP”: – Lukashenka “tightened the screws” well enough? Is he ready for new coup attempts?

– Yes, the screws are tightened to the maximum, now in Belarus there is a real political “winter”, the possibilities for any protest activity are frozen.

“SP”: – In this case, shouldn’t his words be considered as a warning to those who want to rock the situation: they say, don’t even try …

– To be honest, it is not even very clear who the addressee is, since there is simply no one to rock – the Belarusian political field has been cleaned up and is under the control of the security forces.

“SP”: – Usually elections are a good agenda for “color revolutions”, they say, they are dishonest. Can a constitutional referendum? Who will mobilize the protest?

– This is exactly what happened after the presidential elections in August last year. However, the protest masses are now decapitated and demoralized. There are no forces in Belarus capable of mobilizing society for a new protest.

There is no capable opposition in Belarus now, and the one that exists has been squeezed out into exile. Its maximum task now is to survive and obtain financial support from Western sponsors in the hope of joining the game in the future when the situation in Belarus changes.

“SP”: – Those changes to the constitution that the authorities are proposing, do they satisfy the needs of those who were dissatisfied with the results of the elections?

– I don’t think that the task of this reform is to satisfy someone’s demands and requests. Lukashenka, most likely, is preparing for the transition of power, but he wants this process to be as extended as possible in time and to be under his full control. I think this is the essence of the reform.

– From the very beginning of the rule of Alexander Lukashenko (since 1994), the West regularly expresses dissatisfaction with his policy and in one way or another seeks to change the power in Belarus, – notes Belarusian political commentator Kirill Ozimko

– It’s just that at different stages it was expressed in different forms and with varying degrees of intensity. Even when there was a “thaw” in relations between Minsk and the West, the EU and the US still continued to sponsor the Belarusian opposition and put them in place of a change of government. They just tried to make the transition of leadership in the republic in a softer way, through a smooth change of elites in direct interaction with them.

At the present moment, when relations between Minsk and the West are extremely tense, the West still counts on a change of power in the republic, but now it is acting through direct pressure.

“SP”: – Possible attempts to arrange a new Maidan by the opposition and the West during the referendum? Usually such attempts are made during the election period … Is a referendum a convenient pretext?

– A referendum, like elections, is a convenient pretext for revolutions and Maidans. But attempts to stage new mass protests are highly unlikely. The government destroyed all the organizational structures of the protesters, the most active opponents of the regime and politics were either imprisoned or fled abroad. Ordinary activists began to have constant problems with law enforcement agencies, the laws were very toughened, the screws were tightened. In such conditions, the protest potential was defeated. In such conditions, the protesters will not have the courage and opportunities to gather some kind of mass protests, let alone the Maidans.

“SP”: – How can the agenda of the opposition be formulated during the conditional “plebiscite Maidan”? Will it be declared illegal? Falsified?

– Yes. Most likely, they will indeed be declared illegal and falsified. After all, they do not recognize the current government, so they will not accept any other agenda.

“SP”: – To what extent do you think Lukashenka’s regime is ready for new speeches, and has he learned any lessons from last year’s history?

– Of course, the Lukashenka regime has learned many lessons from the political crisis. But, in my opinion, he learned the wrong lessons that should have been worth it.

For example, the authorities began to tighten the screws and liquidate the oppositional civil society, to act harder with their opponents. From the point of view of power, this is a lesson learned. The regime thinks that in this way it will protect itself, because it will be much more difficult and scary for the dissatisfied to somehow act, protest, and fight the regime. But this has a downside – discontent among the population will not go anywhere, it will simply be driven into the underground, into kitchens, into the Internet.

The main lesson has not been learned – with modern people it is necessary to work thinner and more flexible. For example, not to smash the opposition, but to learn how to use political technologies, interact with the disaffected part of the population.

It would be possible to adopt at least “managed democracy” – to create a lot of spoiler parties and play a competition, where the government would come out with a victory of 55%, and not 85%, for example. Yes, from the point of view of ethics, this is ugly, but this is exactly what they do in many countries of the world where there are no such problems as in Belarus. In the same Russia.

“SP”: – In your opinion, the proposed constitutional changes meet the expectations of the population? Maybe the best way to prevent Maidan is to give people what they demand?

– No, they don’t. Before the constitutional reform was announced after the elections, there was no talk of these changes at all. The Belarusian society was divided into two large parts – supporters of the authorities, who are already satisfied with everything, and opponents, who demanded only one thing – new elections. The constitutional reform was initiated not by the population, but by the authorities. And it is aimed, probably, on the contrary, at strengthening the current regime.

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