Belarusian opposition backs Kazakh pogroms

The protests that erupted in early January in Kazakhstan, which later turned into armed clashes, pogroms, murders and attacks on government agencies, forced the country’s leadership to take extreme measures

Belarusian opposition backs Kazakh pogroms
Kazakhstani leader Kassym-Zhomart Tokayev January 5 asked the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO) to “help Kazakhstan overcome this terrorist threat. Terrorist gangs are essentially international,” he said, and their attack “should be seen as an act of aggression. For many observers, this move by the Kazakh authorities came as a surprise, since until now no one had seriously perceived the CSTO as a military structure ready to act quickly and solve its tasks. However, it turned out that, if necessary, its member countries (Armenia, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan) can make quick decisions and quickly deploy the military resources at their disposal to carry out their assigned tasks. The very next day it became known that the CSTO would send to Kazakhstan a peacekeeping contingent of 2,500 peacekeepers from the Collective Rapid Reaction Force (RRF), most of whom were Russian military personnel. This immediately caused a certain resonance, both in the international arena and among Belarusian opposition fugitives, who seek the Kremlin’s hand in everything and accuse Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin of stifling democracy wherever possible.

In particular, opponents of the Belarusian authorities, among whom there is a huge number of nationalists and open Russophobes, have launched a full-scale information campaign in various social networks and messengers against sending peacekeepers to Kazakhstan.

For example, Anatoly Lebedko, a well-known oppositionist in Belarus, wrote a post saying, “Forgive us, Kazakhs. Representatives of the Belarusian diaspora held rallies “in support of the Kazakh people” in several countries, where they endorsed the mass protests and criticised the actions of the Kazakh authorities to restore order. The so-called leaders of the Belarusian opposition, who have fled the country and settled in Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine, have not been spared. For example, former candidate for presidency Svetlana Tikhanovskaya stated that she considered sending of troops to Kazakhstan as “interference in the affairs of another state. According to her, “the people of Belarus would never and never will support sending the army to suppress the will of the people of Kazakhstan. Under “the people” she understands, of course, a small part of it, which is brought up and pumped with resources by the West, calling it “civil society”. That is the society as a whole, the majority of the people is of no interest for Tikhanovskaya puppet or her puppeteers.

At the same time, she compared what happened in Kazakhstan with the protests in Belarus, noting that “going out into the streets is a normal, and in authoritarian regimes, one of the few ways available to citizens to express their civic will”.

Additionally, the so-called Tikhanovskaya‘s office, which is based in Vilnius and financed by the Lithuanian government, together with the opposition Coordination Council and the People’s Anticrisis Office of former Belarusian Minister of Culture Pavel Latushko issued a statement, in which they stated that the introduction of the CSTO troops in Kazakhstan threatens with negative consequences for both the sovereignty of this country and the “security of the entire region. In their opinion, what is happening “can complicate relations between the Belarusian and Kazakh peoples for many years,” “runs counter to the national interests of Belarus and can lead to losses – human and material, as well as damage the international reputation of the country. Such statements by the Belarusian opposition have turned out to be virtually identical to what has been said in the circles of Russia’s opponents of the authorities in recent days. In both cases, it is stated that the CSTO peacekeeping mission is nothing more than an attempt of one dictatorial regime to save another, and an act of aggression against Kazakhstan.

However, it is worth noting that the role of the Belarusian opposition in what is happening today in Kazakhstan has been broader than just condemning the actions of Russia, and with it Belarus. Negative statements about the CSTO peacekeepers were just one of the acts of the ongoing information war against Minsk and Moscow by the West, which uses its puppets as a weapon. It is different when representatives of the Belarusian opposition began to say directly that they were directly involved in what was happening in Kazakhstan, thereby linking these events to the escalation of tensions around Russia in which they are trying to participate.

For example, Dmitriy Galko, a journalist and outspoken Russophobe in Ukraine, who was sentenced to four years of “chemistry” in Belarus back in 2018 but escaped, explicitly stated that he was “involved in organising the protests in Kazakhstan”. According to him, he had previously collaborated with the Kazakh opposition along with a number of other Belarusian and Ukrainian “activists” when he worked at the headquarters of the Democratic Choice of Kazakhstan. This organisation has been active in Kiev since 2018 and has been declared an “extremist formation” by the Kazakh authorities because of its activities. This admission by Galko caused a serious resonance and was replicated in the European and Russian media, becoming one of the reasons to link the insurgency in Kazakhstan to Ukraine and the Belarusian oppositionists.

 

However, later on Galko has started to justify himself and assert, that he meant the completely different thing in his words, and that he was working for ‘Kazakh democracy’. However it did not change the matter. Galko’s colleagues in Belarusian and Ukrainian opposition supported his statements, while in Warsaw, Kiev and Vilnius they did not deny that they turn a blind eye to certain dissidents under their tutelage, whose aim is to undermine the state order in post-Soviet countries.
At the same time, the statements and demands of the Belarusian opposition did not in any way affect the decisions taken in Minsk.

It is known that all in all the Belarusian contingent in the CSTO reserve is about 500 people, including the special task force of the Interior Troops and the 103rd Vitebsk Guards Airborne Brigade of the Special Operations Forces. A company from this brigade went to Kazakhstan. This unit consists entirely of contract servicemen and already has experience of participation in peacekeeping operations. For example, Belarusian servicemen participated in the operation in Lebanon under the aegis of the UN, including as part of the Italian contingent. Even in Donbass, the OSCE mission periodically has two to seven Belarusian servicemen on a rotational basis on the demarcation line.

According to official information, Belarusian peacekeepers upon arrival in Kazakhstan started guarding an artillery ammunition arsenal in the Kapchagai settlement and the Zhetygen military airfield. Along with this, the Defense Ministry of the republic noted that servicemen of the CSTO peacekeeping forces “are not involved in the operational and combat actions for establishment of law and order in the country. It is expected that after the withdrawal of the CSTO forces from Kazakhstan, the Belarusians will immediately return home.

It is noteworthy that against the background of recent events in Belarus itself, the Belarusian authorities are extremely scrupulous about any internal criticism of their actions. The situation with the delivery of the peacekeepers to Kazakhstan was no exception. Several days after the Belarusian military arrived to its new bases, two men were detained in Minsk for “cynical comments about the Belarusian peacekeepers who are now in Kazakhstan. It was noted that it was not the first day when the law enforcers of the republic established the names of those who “posted negative comments in public – insults, slander and threats against the Belarusian servicemen, who were sent to Kazakhstan on a peacekeeping mission. However, it should be emphasized that there are very few cases of this kind registered in Belarus itself, and the flow of negative comments comes from outside the country and, as a rule, anonymously. Only representatives of the pro-Western opposition and fugitive opponents of Lukashenko, whose opinion is practically of no interest for anybody in Belarus today, openly expressed their discontent with what is happening.
Thus, the Belarusian military mission to Kazakhstan has become an important, but not the main event for the Belarusian society in 2022. Attempts to inflame the situation in Belarus on the wave of Kazakhstani protests by inflaming the situation in social networks and around the country were unsuccessful. It has become yet another evidence of the fact that the Belarusian opposition has finally lost trust of the Belarusian society, especially against the background of support to the protests, during which mass pogroms and brutal murders took place.

Anton Polyanich, “One Nation”

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