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Belarus Instability - August 2020

GR66

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The BBC is reporting that 33 Russian military contractors have been arrested in Belarus amid concerns that they might be part of a larger group attempting to influence the upcoming elections.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53592854

Meanwhile Defence Blog is reporting that Belarus is sending troops to reinforce their border with Russia in order to prevent a Donbass-style intervention.

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53592854

Appears to be a somewhat confusing situation as Belarus has been a close ally of Russia and their militaries conduct joint exercises.  Will be interesting to see what develops.
 

Ostrozac

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GR66 said:
Appears to be a somewhat confusing situation as Belarus has been a close ally of Russia and their militaries conduct joint exercises.  Will be interesting to see what develops.

Those close ties with Russia were under the current President - who has held power since 1994. He is currently facing a protest movement and an upcoming Presidential election. Such elections were usually undemocratic formalities that rubber-stamped his regime, but Russia may now have some concerns that they are on the brink of losing an ally/buffer state.
 

GR66

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Ostrozac said:
Those close ties with Russia were under the current President - who has held power since 1994. He is currently facing a protest movement and an upcoming Presidential election. Such elections were usually undemocratic formalities that rubber-stamped his regime, but Russia may now have some concerns that they are on the brink of losing an ally/buffer state.

Agreed, but there is some suggestion in the article that Wagner was possibly working FOR the opposition and it's the current President, Lukashenko, that appears to be suggesting that it's Russia trying to destabilize the country.  You'd think Putin would want to prop up his old ally rather than support a protest candidate.
 

Ostrozac

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GR66 said:
Agreed, but there is some suggestion in the article that Wagner was possibly working FOR the opposition and it's the current President, Lukashenko, that appears to be suggesting that it's Russia trying to destabilize the country.  You'd think Putin would want to prop up his old ally rather than support a protest candidate.
Russia may have already assessed that their old buddy is done and hung him out to dry, and now they are trying to make sure that the ‘right’ opposition takes power, rather than some faction they disagree with.

Or it’s something else. Riddles within enigmas and all that.
 

Furniture

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Ostrozac said:
Russia may have already assessed that their old buddy is done and hung him out to dry, and now they are trying to make sure that the ‘right’ opposition takes power, rather than some faction they disagree with.

Or it’s something else. Riddles within enigmas and all that.

I was thinking much the same, though I'd also argue it could just be that Russia doesn't want more civil war/unrest on their border, giving another reason for the West to meddle in it's sphere of influence.
 

FJAG

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The situation has been deteriorating since the Ukraine situation. Belarus has strong feelings of independence from Russia but is economically dependent on it.

This is a nice summary from last February.

:cheers:
 

Colin Parkinson

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keeping Belarus within the Russian sphere means that an army would only have to transit a 124km of hostile land to reach the borders of Kaliningrad 
 

Flanker

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"Russia deploys tanks to Belarus’ border amid unprecedented escalation of tensions" (defence-blog.com)

The title is highly misleading at least and sources are missing.
As for voa and dw, why comment state-paid propaganda?
 

Kat Stevens

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Did anyone happen to watch the last season of Berlin Station? Life imitating art all over the place.
 

MilEME09

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https://www.theglobeandmail.com/world/article-military-units-police-crack-down-on-protests-in-belarus-amid-hotly/

Ready for Ukraine 2.0?
 
S

stellarpanther

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The election panel in Belarus is saying the current President has won a 6th term.  Either way, whatever happens, we should mind our own business and stay out of it.



 

MilEME09

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stellarpanther said:
The election panel in Belarus is saying the current President has won a 6th term.  Either way, whatever happens, we should mind our own business and stay out of it.

I believe that he won as much as I believe Justin Trudeau wouldn't violate ethics rules again.
 
S

stellarpanther

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MilEME09 said:
I believe that he won as much as I believe Justin Trudeau wouldn't violate ethics rules again.

I don't trust any politician, regardless of their party.
 
S

stellarpanther

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Both are sides claiming victory, this might get interesting.  I'm curious what the current President did to ticked off Russia because they seemed to be allies up until recently.  I'm watching to see if Russia will send those troops they currently have on exercise on the border for the past 5 days into Belarus to back the opposition leader. 

https://www.bbc.com/news/world-europe-53721410
 

MilEME09

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https://www.cbc.ca/news/world/belarusian-opposition-leader-flees-1.5681664?fbclid=IwAR1DvY0G1fbHayuiVAE80OBW6H0TBmYASTGZa1uytuOOCKnveMaAeBnSVZ4

Well this keeps getting more interesting

 

MilEME09

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https://www.cnn.com/2020/08/14/europe/belarus-protests-riot-police-intl/index.html?utm_content=2020-08-14T23%3A01%3A14&utm_term=link&utm_medium=social&utm_source=fbCNN&fbclid=IwAR1gHDo5Uipz9sFxuqFa59kVmV-jStnC6v9kKxHf1Ue5rJRPtcbsmNiUBH8

And now the tipping point, police and military officers refusing orders from Minsk and joining protestors.
 

The Bread Guy

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Stand by for #PoliteGreenMen ? ....
A Russian hybrid intervention into Belarus to support Belarussian president Lukashenko is likely imminent. Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko had a phone call on August 15 to discuss the situation in Belarus. Putin thanked Lukashenko for returning 32 detained Wagner personnel on August 14. The Kremlin’s readout of the call stated “all problems that have arisen will be resolved soon” and characterized the protests as “destructive forces” trying to harm the Union State.[1] A Kremlin intervention would likely consist of Russian forces in unmarked uniforms supporting crackdowns on protesters. The Kremlin has not previously characterized the protests in Belarus as destructive. Kremlin-linked media outlets reported neutrally and slightly sympathetically towards protests in Belarus as of August 14.

The Union State is a supranational organization between Belarus and Russia. The Kremlin has been working to strengthen the Union State as a way to regain dominance over Belarus and integrate the Belarussian and Russian militaries.  Success in that endeavor could allow Russian military forces to be stationed directly on the Polish border and in vital locations threatening NATO’s ability to defend the Baltic States.

Prior to his call with Putin Lukashenko held a meeting in Minsk on August 15 with Belarusian officials to discuss the situation in the country during which Lukashenko said the protests are “aggression against Belarus” and that Belarus “needs to reach out to Putin.”[2]  This open request for help from Russia marked a sharp change in the tone Lukashenko has been using, as he has previously been accusing Russia of interfering in the elections and in Belarussian internal affairs.  He has sought to gain leverage on Putin and refusing to cooperate with Putin’s efforts to strengthen the Union State. Lukashenko rationalized the need to engage the Kremlin at this time by characterizing the protests as foreign aggression against Belarus. Lukashenko claimed the threat faces not only Belarus, but the whole Union State, including Russia. Lukashenko likely used this meeting to acknowledge Putin’s objective to prevent a pro-democratic revolution in Belarus similar to the 2014 Euromaidan revolution in Ukraine.

The Belarusian Forestry Ministry placed bans on visiting 53 forests in Belarus, including almost all of the Gomel region’s forested areas. Gomel borders Russia's Bryansk region. This action may be preparation for the Kremlin to insert irregular forces into Belarus' south.[3] Russia’s Western Military District Commander Alexander Zhuravlev examined Russia’s fleet of military vehicles in the Bryansk region on August 14.[4] Bryansk is 110 kilometers from the Russian-Belarusian border.

Belarusian authorities have partially blocked Belarusians’ access to the internet since Lukashenko’s highly falsified presidential election on August 9.[5]

Video emerged allegedly showing Russian forces near Belarus IVO the highway from Smolensk to Vitebsk. Video footage surfaced on August 13 depicting a column of Russian hardware parked on the alleged shoulder of the highway from Smolensk, Russia to Vitebsk, Belarus.[6] The column included seven transport trucks and five Katyusha rocket launcher trucks. It is unclear whether the footage is actually from Smolensk or August 2020; the footage could be from a different location and/or from a previous date.

Support for Lukashenko in the Belarusian military continues to weaken. Men in Belarusian airborne infantry uniforms (VDV) are participating in ongoing protests in Minsk as of August 15.[7] It is unclear whether these persons are actual VDV personnel, veterans or active servicemembers. The Kremlin likely seeks to avoid having to intervene in Belarus but will do so if Lukashenko appears likely to lose control over his security services ...
Footnote links @ linked article
 
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