Crimea and Sevastopol finally became part of the Russian Federation. For the first time since 1991, part of the historical territories. The development of the situation in Ukraine is closely watched in Belarus.
Quite predictably, supporters of European integration in Belarus supported their ideological allies who seized power in Kiev. Since public actions in Belarus are harshly suppressed, nationalists and all sorts of liberals have raised a real storm in the media they control, especially in the electronic ones. In addition to the traditional condemnation of Russia and the curses addressed to V. Putin, which are not only different from the rhetoric of Yatsenyuk or the political figures of the Baltic regimes, new and interesting passages have appeared. In particular, the topic that A. Lukashenko should draw conclusions from the situation in Ukraine and the Crimea and to take care in advance of ... defending against Russia began to be vigorous. Here are examples of such statements.
“Russia remains an empire - and this means that Moscow is not going to reckon with Belarusian independence,” said columnist Alexander Klaskovsky.
He is convinced that “the Kremlin does not yet see the need to move their Tanks in this direction only because Belarus remains an ally that is attached to Moscow. It is significant that even Alexander Lukashenko understands this imperial danger, he himself spoke about this publicly. ” The chairman of the nationalist and most Russophobic Belarusian Popular Front party, Aleksei Yanukovych, spoke even more frankly: “Ideal in the understanding of President Vladimir Putin would be the option of the full incorporation of Belarus into Russia. It is a political entry by a separate subject of the Russian Federation. Because what is happening in Crimea now clearly demonstrates that those who say that for Putin, for Russia today it’s enough with relatively soft means to control the economy, just buy up the infrastructure, and let Belarus formally remain a politically independent state. However, we see that Putin’s logic of thinking is completely different. He really wants to capture the living space for Russia, he wants to redistribute the borders, at least in Eastern Europe. ” The Honorary Chairman of the United Civil Party (UCP) Stanislav Bogdankevich supported this position: “Russia today trampled and violated all possible international treaties and agreements: the friendship treaty with Ukraine, the inviolability of borders, signed in Kharkov, the Budapest agreement. Russia actually occupied Crimea because suddenly 50 members of “self-defense” cannot appear on the territory of the peninsula - a paramilitary structure armed with Russian weaponsand on Russian armored personnel carriers ".
The Russian-speaking writer and head of the Litkritika portal, Alexander Novikov, who until now often advocated the right of writers in Belarus to use the Russian language, was unexpectedly "noted". It is difficult to say what drives such people as A. Novikov, but in the article “The Ukrainian fault: the Crimean pseudo-referendum at gunpoint and guns,” he surpassed even the recorded Belarusian Russophobes.
“The pseudo-referendum in Crimea has no legal force, but the occupants and the leadership of Russia do not need it either. The issue with the Crimea, it seems, has already been resolved long ago, and now you can observe the realization of the most terrible scenario. Entering the Russian armed forces in the Crimea by some thieves' method - without any identification marks - turned into a tragedy for many Ukrainians. And now we should defend ourselves from Russian aggression, and not from the far-fetched reason for entering — protecting the Russians, ”he wrote.
These and other replicated statements are called upon to intimidate the Belarusians: they say that they will be the next target of “imperial aggression” of Russia.
At the same time, there were thoughts that A. Lukashenko was allegedly concerned about the prospects for the takeover of Belarus in connection with which he refers to the “Maidan” and the situation in Crimea is neutral, taking a wait-and-see attitude.
From the words of the nationalists tried to get down to business. 2 March was an attempt to hold an anti-Russian rally outside the Russian embassy in Minsk. A couple of dozen "Protestants" and almost as many journalists came. The authorities dispersed this small share, detaining the most active participants and organizers. Anti-Russian pickets tried to organize at the Komarovsky market in Minsk.
There were no mass events and supporters of the actions of Russia. However, all organizations of Russian compatriots in Belarus without exception supported the results of the referendum in the Crimea and the decision of Russia to include the Crimea and Sevastopol into the Russian state. 18 March 2014, the following statement was made public: “The Chairman of the Supreme Council of the Republic of Crimea, V.A. Konstantinov, Chairman of the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Crimea S.V. Aksenov, Chairman of the City Council of Sevastopol, Yu.V. Doinikov, head of administration of the city of Sevastopol A.M. Chaly, the people of Crimea, residents of the city of Sevastopol. Dear brothers and sisters! We heartily congratulate you on the successful conduct of the fateful referendum, which returned the city of Russian glory Sevastopol and the Crimea (ancient Tavrida) to the Russian State. We are confident that your decision is only the beginning of the true rebirth of our common Great Fatherland. You have restored historical justice, and we are proud of you. Glory to the Crimea! Glory to Sevastopol! Glory to Russia!". The appeal was signed by 14 associations of Russian compatriots, including, besides the Russians, the Tatars, the Bashkirs, the Dagestanis, and the Chuvash.
Authoritative Belarusian scientists also clearly stated their position. Thus, Doctor of Philosophy Lev Krishtapovich in his commentary to the Mainland portal noted that “the crisis in Ukraine was provoked by the activities of those political forces that are focused on the so-called European choice. And what is called a European choice is a dead-end, hopeless option for Ukraine, since it does not come from the interests of the Ukrainian people, but from the geopolitical claims of the United States and NATO ... "
The only political party that directly supported the holding of a referendum in the Crimea and Sevastopol, was the Republican Party of Labor and Justice (RPTC). Its chairman, Vasily Zadpryny, declared: “Only the people can choose the fate of the Crimea. Not even politicians, let alone third parties, have to decide what the future of the peninsula will be. Indeed, by all the norms of democracy, the only source of power in the Crimea is the people. And this people went the right way! A referendum, like elections, is one of the forms of democracy. It is important that this is a peaceful path that does not lead to human sacrifice. ” However, the Belarusian authorities at first did not rush to support such a point of view.
The discussion that has unfolded on television screens and on the pages of the Belarusian state-run media is quite indicative. One of the main socio-political programs on the Belarusian ONT channel (Public National Television) is the “Position” program.
On air 3 March 2014, TV journalist Tengiz Dumbadze spoke in the sense that each side in Ukraine has its own truth, and you need to understand that for half of Ukraine Bandera and Shukhevych are national heroes.
Along the way, the corresponding report was also shown, which was called "balanced and objective." By the way, Tengiz Dumbadze, one of the ONT program managers, made a career by moving to Belarus from Adjara, where, while working on TV (1991-2004), he supported the position of Belarus regarding the non-recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
In fact, the comments of the BelTA news agency of Belarus were in the same key. One of them says, for example: “... Russians, who consider themselves intellectuals, refuse to analyze anything in the phrase“ Russian Crimea ”and fall into children's ecstasy, recalling Koktebel, the glory of Sevastopol, Chekhov’s house in Yalta and the Bakhchisarai fountain sung by Pushkin. And it's not about massive television propaganda, although its influence cannot be denied. The mass consciousness demonstrates some inexplicable mixture of the recurrence of imperial thinking with the complex of the winner who is restricted in rights. ”
Received resonance and the article "The Crimean clock began counting the new time," published in the main state-owned newspaper "Sovetskaya Belorussia". Commenting on the speech of the Russian president, the newspaper expressed itself rather ambiguously: “... the speech of Vladimir Putin reflects the dominant sentiments in Russian society. And, probably, without open talk about these historical grievances, Russian society is really difficult to move forward. In the presence of similar historical grievances and complexes, Americans usually go to a psychoanalyst (I recall their cult phrase “do you want to talk about this?”), And the Russians take the soul away from politics. And in this case, Putin publicly expressed everything that had previously spilled out on the Internet in forums. ”
All this caused a lot of questions from the pro-Russian public, which probably (like the results of the referendum held in Crimea) led to a certain change in tone in the state media. In the “Position” telecast from 17 in March 2014, a number of well-known political scientists and public figures were able to express their position, who explicitly pointed out that the root cause of the crisis in Ukraine and the current situation in Crimea was the seizure of power in Kiev by extremely nationalist Bandera forces. There were words about the right of Crimeans to determine their own destiny on their own, about the need for the federalization of Ukraine to prevent its collapse.
A poll was conducted during the broadcast of the Belarusians, and this was done for the first time. So, 89% of viewers supported the decision of the Crimea and Sevastopol on joining Russia!
It should be borne in mind that in Belarus, despite the Union State with Russia, there are significant problems for Russian TV channels. Most of them are broadcast with significant bills, interesting and important social and political programs are either postponed far after midnight, or are replaced by the Belarusian TV product. A number of channels are not broadcast at all in Belarus (for example, Russia-24, although Euronews or Ukrainian Inter go cable networks without problems). During the most acute phase of the crisis in Kiev, the Russia-24 channel was unavailable for some time even on the Internet.
At the same time, in the information policy the determining factor is the position of the Belarusian authorities and personally A.G. Lukashenko, which largely explains the dual position taken by the state media. So, immediately after the seizure of power in Kiev, the current Foreign Minister of Belarus, Vladimir Makei, said: “We must carefully analyze both from the national and international legal points of view, and from the point of view of the legitimacy of the current government. We do not refuse to contact them. On the contrary, a number of persons who are part of the new government, we know, have contacted them earlier and intend to maintain normal contacts in the future. ” In official comments there were calls for “all parties” to ensure the territorial integrity of Ukraine.
March 4 The Belarusian President was called by Leonid Kuchma in March 2014 and asked to support the territorial integrity of Ukraine during negotiations with Vladimir Putin.
L. Kuchma’s address was not some kind of spontaneous action, but a completely predictable answer to the statement of A.G. Lukashenko, made them 23 February 2014 of the year. He said then that there would be no “Maidan” in Belarus, but at the same time he remarked: “The Maidan is not for us news. This is not the first time and, you know, with the first maydanovtsy (Viktor Yushchenko and others) I am still friends. They have their own questions, we have ours, and we will build our policy on this. They have their own state, and we have our own ... We have common goals for Ukraine. Ukraine must be complete. No one should razdribanit this great country, it is not a stranger to us. "
A week later, during a meeting on improving admission to institutions of higher and specialized secondary education, the Belarusian leader noted that, in his opinion, corruption and inability to manage the state were to blame for the Ukrainian crisis: “Whatever the economy, whatever we do, if corruption is in the country, this rust will eat away at all. ”
At the same time, due to the buildup of NATO military forces on the borders of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, Moscow and Minsk decided to redeploy additional Russian aviation forces on the territory of Belarus.
According to the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Air Force, Lieutenant-General Viktor Bondarev, until the end of 2014, a Russian fighter aviation regiment in the number of 24 fighters Su-27CM3 will be deployed at the Russian airbase in Baranovichi (Brest region of Belarus).
On March 19, a day after the statement of the Belarusian associations of Russian compatriots, finally appeared the corresponding statement of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry, from which, however, it is difficult to understand what position the Belarusian authorities took. I’ll cite his text posted on the website of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry: “The Republic of Belarus cannot be indifferent to the events in Ukraine, including the referendum held in Crimea on the 16 of March 2014 and the decision on the entry of Crimea into the Russian Federation adopted on its results. Belarus, Russia and Ukraine are fraternal states that bind the bonds of a common centuries-old history. On the contradictions that arose between us, external forces repeatedly tried to play and use them for selfish purposes. Now we are particularly deeply concerned about the attempts of politicians, in reality, far from the events taking place in the region, to decide what is good and what is bad for our Slavic peoples. Given today's realities, the Republic of Belarus is opposed to a one-sided, biased interpretation of the principles of international law for the sake of geopolitical interests, attempts to declare the uniqueness of some international situations and territories and ignore others. To theorize on this topic today is to drive the problem into a dead end. Belarus will make every possible effort to return relations between Ukraine and Russia to fraternal and good-neighborly relations, help find solutions to all existing contradictions and prevent violent confrontation. "
Naturally, the journalists next day, during a briefing by the spokesman for the Foreign Ministry Dmitry Mironchik, tried to find out whether Belarus was in favor of or against the Crimean referendum, but the answer was: “I can only repeat that the position of the Republic of Belarus on this set of issues is set forth in a statement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Belarus. " In other words, again, neither yes nor no.
It seemed that the history of 2008 of the year (non-recognition of Abkhazia and South Ossetia) is repeated ... Such ambiguity did not go unnoticed in the West.
Officially, the European Union and the United States shy away from direct contacts with the Belarusian president. However, the British political scientist Andrew Wilson commented on the situation quite curiously, who said: “... Lukashenko pointedly refused to send observers to a referendum in the Crimea. He also challenged Moscow, saying that he would work with the new pro-Western government in Kiev (which Vladimir Putin called "illegal") ... Lukashenko wants to avoid having to make a choice between Russia and the West. He was always happy to be an ally of Russia, but only as a leader of a strong, independent state, capable of pursuing his own course ... Not surprisingly, Lukashenka has obviously tried to be away from Putin in recent weeks. Belarus began to hint at what it wants to improve relations with the EU, agreeing in February to participate in visa negotiations with Brussels. But any progress towards the EU will go slowly; Lukashenko is still a dictator, who has little interest in meeting European democratic standards. Lukashenko is now in a Russian camp and is considering ways out. And until he goes to the door, only for the time being. ”
And this is just one of many such comments. A massive propaganda campaign has been launched in Belarus and around it, designed to bring disagreement between Moscow and Minsk and to achieve non-recognition by Belarus of the results of the referendum in the Crimea and its return to Russia.
However, the West should not overestimate its capabilities in Belarus. The turning point regarding the situation in the Crimea and in Ukraine as a whole occurred on March 23. A. Lukashenko, who traditionally treats any Western initiatives with great suspicion, made it clear that Belarus remains an ally of Russia: “Crimea is not an independent state like the same Ossetia, Abkhazia, etc. Crimea today is part of the territory of the Russian Federation. You can admit it or not, but this will not change anything ... It's bad that you had to, including the Russian Federation, take such measures. But if you ask me, because of the historical past, due to the fact that we are one people, because we have created, are creating, we are implementing a single project of the Union State, that we are connected by agreements with the Russian Federation - we will be with the Russian Federation. And we must stop all speculation! We do not direct our foreign, domestic policy, military policy against NATO, against anyone else, and so on - we will pursue a balanced policy, but if the question arises - we will be with Russia. ”
At the same time, A. Lukashenko took a special position on the territorial structure of Ukraine, which, according to him, “should remain a single, indivisible, integral, non-aligned state, because it is very sensitive for us to be for Russia, if we assume that tomorrow it will land NATO troops in Ukraine - this we generally can not allow, it is our global interest. Therefore, we must agree. Further to Ukraine, no one has the right to climb ... "
The Belarusian leader clearly expressed his attitude to the self-proclaimed Kiev “authorities”. "Some of the so-called politicians who today are about power and power in Ukraine call themselves the" heirs of Bandera ", the UNA-UNSO, the UPA - the Ukrainian Insurgent Army, the Organization of Ukrainian Nationalists ... They burned quite a few of our people, including Khatyn, on the territory of Belarus, and not only - probably, it was enough for Ukraine ... They destroyed thousands of our people! Tell me: if the people who are in power today in Ukraine associate themselves with these nonhumans, what should the Belarusians have to do with this, and not only Belarusians? Relevant.
After this speech, it became clear that Belarus remains true to its allied duty to Russia and does not intend to repeat its own mistakes of the year.
Those who hoped that official Minsk would try to continue the existing scheme of relations with Russia and with the illegitimate Ukrainian leadership, simply ignoring the Crimea issue, calling on the parties to “peace and mutual understanding”, clearly miscalculated. The calculation of the West as a whole and the Belarusian opposition was based on the fact that Belarus, also experiencing a significant influence on the internal politics of its own nationalist groups, focused on the neo-Banderas who came to power in Kiev, will avoid the topic of all-Russian unity while concurring manifestations of creeping Russophobia. But A. Lukashenko is well aware that such a “sitting on two chairs” eventually led V. Yanukovych to a very sad result. And Ukraine, too. Belarus seems to have learned from this a serious lesson.