The blood-soaked quagmire that is Ukraine and recent statements from US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson alluding to the notion that regime change in Syria is off the table, indicate that the US policy of toppling governments it doesn’t like may be a thing of the past. However, western meddling in Belarus says otherwise.
But unlike neighbouring Ukraine, Belarus is looking increasingly like a rampart against the west’s regime change steamroller.
The disingenuous nature of the protests in Belarus has been exposed in light of the so-called vagabond tax being revoked by the government. Yet the monument behind the protests has not be cancelled, thus exposing these protests as having everything to do with regime change fanaticism and nothing to do with disagreements over the now defunct tax law.
It must be said that the protests have been confined to a very small portion of the population of the country and what’s more is that the government is not allowing them to spiral out of control. This contrasts sharply with Ukraine in 2014, where the government seemed totally demoralised in respect of its ability to restore law and order.
Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko who is never one to restrain himself from straight talking, has openly said that there will be ‘no Maidan’ in his country.
The Russian Ambassador to Belarus recently gave an exclusive interview to Sputnik where he echoed the words of Lukashenko in saying that there will be no western backed regime change in Russia’s closest fraternal partner state.
Not only do Russia and Belarus form a union-state and have essential economic ties, but both Russia and Belarus are more vigilant than ever against foreign meddling in light of the 2014 coup in Ukraine. This is the case in spite of occasional trade disputes between Moscow and Minsk, which are more frequently about Lukashenko asserting his personal authority than they are about any meaningful long term disagreements.
In his Sputnik interview Ambassador Alexander Surikov spoke of the situation in the following way:
“All the actions by the West, on both the Ukrainian and Belorussian flanks, all these actions have an anti-Russian character…We understand that the next efforts will be directed at Belarus, and that they have already been directed there
We can see that a variety of delegations have become frequent visitors to the country. We are looking at this closely, but understand that for now, the West does not have the strength to tear Belarus away from Russia”.
The Ambassador continued,
“And Belarus itself is not prepared to rush into the West’s arms, breaking all their economic ties (with the Russian Federation”.
This is the clearest indication yet that Belarus and Russia are prepared to work as close allies to prevent any civil insurrection and foreign intervention in Belarus. This contrasts with Ukraine, where the ousted President Viktor Yanukovych didn’t directly call on his Russian ally for aid against the insurgency, neither before nor after the coup, even though he would have had the full legal authority to do so.
Yanukovych was ultimately undone because of his cowardice and indecision. By contrast, Lukashenko’s biggest possible undoing could be his ego which at times has led him to have flirtations with western powers in order to attempt to bring Russia to the table in a manner favourable to him.
This tactic of Lukashenko is getting old, not least because objectively, Russia has only been fair or overly fair to Minsk. In short, Lukashenko has nothing legitimate to complain about and deep down he probably knows this. Lukashenko is many things, but he is no fool. The same didn’t apply to Yanukovych, who at times looked more like Hamlet than Julius Caesar…not that either had a peaceful end to their lives.
Although some, particularly in countries like Poland and Germany retain the appetite for regime change in Belarus, if they attempted such a move, they will have bit off more than they can chew.
When it comes to western backed regime change against Russian allies, the buck stops in Belarus.