The Belarusian crisis as a turning point – Myśl Polska

This article was first published on Myśl Polska.

The era of Western domination and US hegemony is over. The main factor of change is the so-called counter-hegemonic alliance between China and Russia that cemented the idea of ​​a “great Eurasian partnership”. Since 2015, the transformation has taken place through a targeted synthesis of the Eurasian Union and the Chinese “Belt and Road Initiative”, known as the New Silk Road. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization and the BRICS are working for a new, just international order.

The US wants to oppose this objective tendency at all costs. Therefore, a new type of war developed, often referred to as hybrid or asymmetric. Its features are: a difficulty to recognize and the impossibility of specifying the beginning and end of an operation, and the application of various hidden instruments: economic and financial, informational and diplomatic methods, plus activities in the cyberspace; finally, the frequent involvement of entire societies. Rival powers have the potential of mutual nuclear destruction, therefore in a war of a new type of military action is limited to the necessary minimum. Unlike the first two, World War III has global reach for the first time, and one can win it without crossing the borders of the countries involved.

One of its dimensions is network warfare, the goal of which is to take control of a specific area, without using ordinary, classic types of weapons, and – if possible – even without the use of military aggression. The American professor Gene Sharp is credited with creating the methods of conducting the so-called color revolutions to change an anti-American elite into one subordinate to Washington. Today it is already known that this was the meaning of the “festival of Polish Solidarity”, symbolically ending with a poster with an American cowboy who holstered Poland with the Balcerowicz Plan, and generally with all the “velvet revolutions” that turned the power of socialist demolition into adherents of neoliberal capitalism.

After a decade of siphoning the lives of former socialist states into poverty, the time has come for a second wave of color revolutions that included the 2003 “Rose Revolution” in Georgia, the “Purple Revolution” in Iraq (2003-2005). The “Orange Revolution” in Ukraine (2004-2005), the “Cedar Revolution” in Lebanon (2005), the “Tulip Revolution” in Kyrgyzstan (2005), the “Blue Revolution” in Kuwait (2005), the unsuccessful “Denim Revolution” in Belarus ( 2006), the “saffron revolution” in Burma (2007), also the failed Iran’s “Green Revolution” (2009) and the Tunisian “Jasmine Revolution”. The latter started the so-called “Arab Spring (2011), which culminated in the destruction of wealthy Libya, which by promoting a new currency for the African Union threatened US domination.

Behind network wars there are always Western NGOs: the National Endowment for Democracy, the Agency for International Development (USAID) and the Open Society Institute set up by the American financier George Soros. In addition, Freedom House, Carter Center, the National Democratic Institute, Millenium Challenge Corporation, and Human Rights Watch. Funds for foreign entities willing to implement the American interpretation of the idea of ​​democracy and the market are transferred on the basis of the Freedom Support Act (FSA) passed by Congress in 1992.

In the European Union, a similar role is played by the European Foundation for Democracy, the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and the Civil Society Mechanism (CFS). NGOs train “revolutionary” cadres, pay for the preparation of propaganda materials and provide advisers. In the case of Belarus, oppositionists were even trained directly by the US Department of Defense and the Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmish-Partnekirchen, the so-called “university of American imperialism”.

A new type of war unleashed in defense of the already lost hegemony has its next stage in Belarus in August 2020. This relatively small Slavic country is characterized by three attributes that make it a unique entity.

The first is that it preserved, as the only state after the collapse of the USSR, some elements of socialism, the absence of an oligarchy and great income inequalities, and a state ideology and traditional morality; 43% of working Belarusians are employed in the state economy sector. State-owned enterprises account for over 70% of the country’s industrial production. There are approximately 3,000 companies worth $ 120-150 billion, including the world’s leading phosphorus, nitrogen, truck and tractor plants. Then there are modernized kolkhozes. Thus, the Belarusian economic model contradicts the neoliberal dogma of the alleged superiority of private property over the socialized one.

The second attribute is commitment to Eurasian integration, and above all, the creation of a Union State with the Russian Federation, which makes Minsk Moscow’s greatest ally among the post-Soviet states. This prevented the closing of the western “sanitary cordon” around Russia. Both countries form a common security space, hence in Belarus there is a radar station in Hancewicze near Baranavichy (Brest Oblast), which covers an area of ​​almost 5,000 km to the west and is the core of the warning system against a missile attack against Russia. In turn, in Vileyka (Minsk region) there is the 43rd Naval Communication Center, which ensures communication with Russian ships around the world.

Finally, the third attribute is Minsk’s commitment to China’s New Silk Road and its very good relations with Beijing. China can increase the effective sovereignty of smaller states by recognizing itself as a representative of the “Global South”. This is also what China is doing in their relations with Belarus, which has large and good Chinese investments and favorable loans. In this way, Minsk was able to balance between Russia and the EU in an effort to maintain effective sovereignty.

Considering the current situation, one should also take into account the attitude of Belarus, which in the fight against Covid-19 has not imposed a health regime on the population and is doing much better than most Western countries, has 8 times fewer casualties than in the United States (in relation to its population) and 12 times less than in Belgium. It is meaningful that no one was punished for protests without masks. As if that were not enough, the president said that he was offered money from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), which promised $ 950 million for a lockdown. Therefore, Lukashenko exposed himself to the interests of global pharmaceutical corporations by asking about the behavior of other leaders who, by surrendering to WHO, led to a multidimensional crisis in their countries. Sovereign Belarus has given the advocates of globalism many reasons for hostility.

The course of the “color revolution” is always similar: at the beginning, the results of the elections are not recognized by the opposition. Then not only manifestations violating the law may appear (after all, today there is no lack of potential for protest in any country) but also victims which the authorities are accused of having hurt. Usually, performance-type methods are used, where “perception weapons” are employed in the form of appropriate symbolism shaping the perception of public opinion, e.g. oranges, roses, kneeling in front of the police, specially prepared songs, etc. The next step is information, psychological, diplomatic and economic pressure from Western states. And so it happened this time.

The protests took on a rather unusual character, combining opposition forces from various social groups, as it is shown by objective premises in their addresses to the crowds. Three key aspects can be identified.

The first one is economic: after the development of the first decade of the 21st century, Belarusian finances hardly survived the weakening of the ruble in 2011. Its economy, half of which is made of foreign trade with Russia, sharply decelerated, along with the problems of its eastern neighbor’s economy, which was pressed down in 2014 by US and European Union sanctions. Despite this, in 2018 the Belarusian authorities developed a program for socio-economic development until 2035. The project aims to improve the country’s investment climate by attracting foreign direct investment. A year later, the total volume of foreign investments in the Belarusian economy amounted to 10 billion US dollars. And 45% of that amount, or $ 4.5 billion, is provided by Russia.

The second place is taken by the United Kingdom, which in 2019 invested 1.8 billion dollars in the Belarusian economy, or 18% of the total investment. Cyprus ranks third (7.6%), while Poland and Austria invested $ 440 million annually in Belarus. In fact, 80% of Belarusian exports and imports are related to cheap Russian raw materials and the Russian market. Russia is also the main source of loans for Belarus. They amount to approximately $ 8 billion. However, even before the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic earlier this year, Belarus was already experiencing a recession. This is not an isolated phenomenon in the world of today.

The second point is geopolitical. Lukashenko in 2014 condacted a game with the “great powers” to avoid a Ukrainian scenario, which saw the victory of “democracy”, the “revolution of dignity” and the West, but that left many Ukrainians impoverished and forced to look for work all over Europe. GDP per capita there is much lower than in Belarus. A success for the President was the organization of the Minsk format, in which the leaders of Germany, France, Russia and Ukraine negotiated a solution to the Ukrainian crisis. In his plan to extend peace in Belarus, Lukashenko was even able to oppose Moscow, rejecting some integration proposals, announcing the reopening of the US embassy and buying American oil. He also sought dialogue with Poland, he did not recognize the annexation of Crimea to Russia, while maintaining proper relations with Kiev.

Today, the goal of this game is clear: it was a survival tactic and preparation for the hot phase of defending Belarusian sovereignty. Therefore, in questioning the results of the Belarusian elections, the particular narrative of the “lack of democracy and violation of human rights” should be ruled out immediately, because firstly, the political system does not matter in geopolitics, and secondly, it is an instrument of the West’s expansion, which is not hindered by the fundamentalist Saudi Arabia, putsches in Venezuela or Egypt, and the undermining democratic procedures in Poland or even in France.

Third, the scale of the protests was influenced by social changes. Several oligarchs appeared in the country (Aleksnader Lucenk, Andrei Klamko, Viktor Kilsy), as well as a group of millionaires, however, only 0.1% of the population began to identify with the transnational business elite. The engine of the Belarusian protests, however, was the new “creative class” – specialists in information technology (IT), of which there are approximately 100-120 thousand, mainly men. This modern industry, launched thanks to the president, generates 5% of the economic growth. The new class, living in a new, virtual world of numbers, although it earns well, wants a new state model and a different aesthetics. Lukashenka no longer suits their ideas.

So we can talk about the prodigal son syndrome. The creeping hipster revolution involves people who are Americanized, cosmopolitan, working, and therefore not really interested in politics. Compared to similar events in other countries, where the potential for rebellion has usually increased due to economic deprivation and social problems, it has emerged in the opposite situation. This also proves the difference between the Belarusian model. The discussed generation is also the effect of civilizational changes such as: fast movies, fast cars, speeding commercials, the dynamics of sports, the pursuit of money; hence: stimulation and the inability to concentrate based on logic, truth and rational discussion. The one-person political system of 26 years does not fit this psycho-social dynamic. This is the Hegelian spirit of the time.

In Western systems, these social groups are satisfied with a virtual democracy, based on artificial political divisions, marketing-organized identity differences, prepared by spin doctors constructing narratives of the day, etc. And here is an antagonistic contradiction: people who recognize their own good as the most important thing (the ideological expression is the word “freedom”) and want to decide on the direction of policy concerning the common good.

Gracjan Cimek

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