Presidents Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin. Andrei Nikerichev / Moskva News Agency
Tadeusz Giczan, CEPA: The Donbasization of Belarus. A Test For Europe
Without EU action, Belarus will become a failed state on Europe’s doorstep.
What nine months of unprecedented internal repression couldn’t achieve was finally made possible by a far less bloody, but much more publicized hijacking of a Ryanair jet. The European Union (EU) has realized that the Belarus problem will not just vanish and decided to take a first decisive step toward resolving the crisis. In late June, it adopted the fourth package of personal sanctions against the regime, but more importantly, has adopted sectoral economic sanctions. And that is a real game-changer.
From fall 2020, Lukashenka — thanks to EU’s inaction and Vladimir Putin’s support — was able to maintain control of the situation in the country and stifle street protests. But to the surprise of many Western decision-makers, the situation in Belarus has not returned to normal. Quite the contrary, the Belarus situation today can be described as Donbasization. Like Russia’s effective seizure of that Ukrainian territory, it involves transformation into a full-on rogue state with no rule of law, complete international isolation, the demolition of civil society, the middle class, and the private sector. The hijacking of a passenger plane was merely the pinnacle of this process.
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WNU Editor: Regular readers of this blog know that I have been a long time critic of President Lukashenka since the beginning. I can also say unequivocally that the mess in Belarus does not benefit Russia in any way. For one. Belarusian President Lukashenko has ruled out a complete Anschluss with Russia, while still taking billions in aid. His threats that he will turn to the West if aid is not given has frightened the Kremlin, and they are now just paying him off to make time while insuring that Belarus does not completely collapse into itself.
One more note. His repression has made many Russians sick of his regime, this blogger included. Many of us have friends and family in Belarus, and we all know they are going through rough times.
As for the EU, they have no strategy or idea on how to handle Belarus. I do not expect this to change anytime soon.