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what about Belarus?

Belarus - click to enlarge

Ousted Kyrzyg President Bakiev has arrived in Belarus.

Belarus’ authoritarian President Alexander Lukashenko said Tuesday he had arranged for Bakiyev to come to the Belarusian capital. His presence, however, could exacerbate Belarus’ tensions with both the West as well as neighboring Russia. “President Bakiyev and his family are in Minsk under the protection of our state and me personally,” Lukashenko said in televised remarks to parliament, adding that his guests were undergoing medical checkups.
Belarus borders Russia, Ukraine, Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia.

Belarus seems to be a country that's easy to miss. The country's president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been in power for about fifteen years. The Bush administration described him as "the last dictator in Europe" heading up "an outpost of tyranny." He is sometimes linked to Chavez of Venezuela, Ahmadinejad of Iran, and Kim Jong Il of North Korea. Axis of Evil stuff. Take it from where it comes.
Human rights campaigners and Western governments complain that opposition voices are harassed and stifled and independent media has been all but eliminated. Opposition activists are closely monitored by the secret police - still called the KGB. However, the president does enjoy the support of many Belarussians for maintaining political and economic stability - a campaign slogan in 2006.
In a land which lost one-third of its population in World War II, most people fear instability and the prospect of civil war far more than they fear their president. That makes the kind of popular uprising seen in Georgia and Ukraine unlikely in Belarus.
Lukashenko's single mother raised him in a poor village. He admits to adopting an authoritarian style.
"An authoritarian style of rule is characteristic of me, and I have always admitted it. You need to control the country, and the main thing is not to ruin people's lives." ~ Lukashenko in 2003

Belarus enjoys reasonably stable relations with Russia. Belarus and Russia share many cultural, religious, and linguistic similarities. Belarus is much closer to Russia than to the West. If Belarus had to choose between the EU or Russia....

Does Belarus have to choose? Maybe someday.

Lukashenko brushes off criticism.

Mr Lukashenko appears undeterred by criticism, whether it be from home or abroad. "I've been hearing these accusations for over 10 years and we got used to it," he said before polling. "We are not going to answer them. I want to come from the premise that the elections in Belarus are held for ourselves. I am sure that it is the Belarus people who are the masters in our state." 

He warned that anyone joining an opposition protest would be treated as a "terrorist", adding: "We will wring their necks, as one might a duck".


Belarus depends heavily on Russian energy supplies, but Russian energy also travels through Belarus to European markets. Russia can apply pressure to Belarus by using alternate routes if Belarus makes moves toward the EU. (Belarus' Oil Sector: A Target of Opportunity)

Belarus provides transit service for more that 70 million tons of Russian oil per year to Europe (not including the oil supplies to Belarus itself) through the Belarus Druzhba pipeline. This staggering quantity takes two directions from Belarus territory: one westward into Poland and Germany, and the other one southward via Ukraine into Slovakia, the Czech Republic, and Hungary (with pipeline links to each country). All these countries critically depend on Russian oil supplies through Belarus and Ukraine.

Druzhba Pipeline Map (source)
 click to enlarge

Every country is valuable on the grand chessboard these days. So let's assume there are those who would like Belarus to join the EU, and there are those who would like Belarus to rejoin Russia. And Belarus would presumably like to have options to exercise up until the last possible moment.


In mid-2008 Belarus hired a professional PR firm to improve it's image in the international community. Belarus hired Chime Communications and Lord Timothy Bell to run an information campaign as well as marketing campaign to make Belarus more attractive to investors.

As we have informed, on March 13 Lord Bell met with Alyaksandr Lukashenka. According to official reports, it was a private business visit. After the meeting with the Belarusian ruler Lord Bell told to journalists that his company works in many countries of the world “improving image”. The PR-manager believes that there are many “two-faced and hypocritical comments about Belarus” at informational web-resources. A serious work is to be done to change that, he said. The most important thing, Mr. Bell believes, is to make information about the country just, and true to reality.

Later Timothy Bell said in an interview to foreign media that he and his company would earn millions of dollars over improving of Lukashenka’s image of several years.

It should be noted that with the beginning of the British lord’s cooperation with the regime of Belarus political repressions, crackdown on opposition and disbanding of peaceful rallies intensified in the country. The cruel crackdown on the peaceful protest on March 25 took place two weeks after the first meeting of Lukashenka and Bell.
Within months, the Financial Times profiled Belarus. ('Last Dictator' seeks to woo the west, 11/08)

Also interesting to see the official line on Belarus's decision to go down the privatization road now -- in reality because Russia isn't prepared any longer to prop up the economy with cheap gas -- is essentially, we decided to wait, we weren't ready, we wanted to take our time and do things properly. And now we're doing things properly. This fits nicely into Lukashenka's old narrative of how Belarus was always blessed as it managed, due to his skillful leadership, to escape the ravages of criminal capitalism in Russia. (source)

Within one year, the PR campaign had produced some more positive results.

Lukashenko with his young son and the Pope in April 2009. (source)

Who benefits from this PR campaign? Well the campaign is supposed to make Belarus attractive to investors. So, presumably, the beneficiaries are: Belarus, and investors of The West.

But will Belarus strike good deals with investors of The West? That is always the question. Sometimes countries get into deals with investors, and the deals turn out to be not so good for the country in question. But they are great for the investors. See, for example, the continent Africa.

That could happen in Belarus if Lukashenko is not careful.

So Lukashenko hired Lord Tim Bell. Will that help?

Lord Tim Bell is a powerful, connected man. Lord Bell presumably knows many powerful, connected people who would like to do business in Belarus. For instance, Lord Bell handled PR for Margaret Thatcher, oligarch Boris Berezovsky, and Alexander Litvinenko. (source)

Would you like to do a deal with Boris Berezovsky?
Boris Berezovsky lives in the UK. He is not a fan of Vladimir Putin.

Shortly before he died of poisoning, Litvinenko publicly blamed Putin for involvement in his murder. But the murder has not been solved. (Who killed Litvinenko? The Independent, 11/25/06)

Known as Sasha to his friends, he had come to Britain in 2000 after turning whistleblower on the FSB, claiming he had been ordered to assassinate the virulently anti-Putin oligarch ­ and his subsequent patron ­ Boris Berezovsky. He was quickly submerged into Berezovsky's circle of influential emigrĂ©s.

Last month we learned that Sergey Serykh, the man who, along with his wife and son, jumped to their deaths in Glasglow, Scotland, may have known who killed Litvinenko. (aangirfan: Servey Serykh, Litvinenko, and the Russian Israeli Mafia)

According to Vitali Alexandrovich, Sergey Serykh's landlord in London, Sergey "said that since he defected from the Ukrainian secret services they were trying to assassinate him.
"He said he knew who had killed Alexander Litvinenko (the Russian dissident poisoned in London in 2006)." (Daughter of asylum-seeker.)
But Serykh committed suicide before saying.

Also last month, Berezovsky won a Litvinenko poison spy libel case.
Businessman Boris Berezovsky has won a libel case over allegations he was behind the murder of former Russian agent Alexander Litvinenko in London. He was awarded £150,000 ($224,000) at the High Court over a claim made by Russian TV channel RTR Planeta. Mr Berezovsky, 63, said he had been a friend and supporter of Mr Litvinenko and the comments were "outrageous".

Allegedly, Lukashenko and Berezovsky also know each other well.

Which relates to this, and this.

A lot of stories and intrigue. A lot of deaths.

What will happen to Belarus? With Poland reeling, will Belarus step out of the shadows? And if so, who will benefit? Will the Belorussian people benefit? Will Lukashenko make sure that it's "the Belarus people who are masters in {their} state?" Will Lukashenko stick to the main thing, by his own words, which is: "not to ruin people's lives?"

Something to keep an eye on.

UPDATE: Good article at Pravda: Belarus's Lukashenko does not know what to do with so much enriched uranium

Removal of nuclear weapons from Belarus that occurred in 1996 was “a major mistake,” President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko told media on 14 April during his working visit to Gomel region....
Them the Belarus leader complained that he was not invited for the world summit on nuclear matters held in Washington on April 12-13. Presidents of Russia, Ukraine and Kazakhstan participated in the summit. At some point, Ukraine and Kazakhstan also had a part of Soviet nuclear arsenal which was taken to Russia in early 1990s.
“If you don’t want to give away the uranium, we will not invite you to the summit,” Lukashenko said. He said that unwillingness to invite Belarus to the summit is the proof that Americans and the West in general are not trustworthy.
“I will not allow anyone to bend over Belarus. We will talk only respectfully, like partners however hard America or Russia may pressure us. The pressure is from two sides and we feel it,” he added. Alexander Lukashenko added “if Russia, Kazakhstan and other CIS states had been reliable friends, they would have made it a firm point: Belarus is ours and must attend the summit. Americans would have had nothing to do but agree.” 
It may be that Lukashenko was simply offended that he was not wanted in Washington. And he is right. For the last 15 years the US have been calling him “the last dictator of Europe.” The warming of relations between Belarus and the West in the last couple of years mostly concerns the connections between Minsk and Brussels rather than Washington.


Anonymous said…
Peasant there is one thing I remember, when the orange revolution came to Belarus about 500 demonstrators showed up in the main park. Police were sent in and beat them down with riot sticks.

Lushenko went on teevee and announced the revolution is over. My guess is he is doing some Pr work to get investment. He will probably get some investment as most of the king pins in Europe (in my opinion only) don't see him leaving office anytime soon. He knows which side of the bread his butter is on and it is on the gas side.
A. Peasant said…
dubs you have an excellent instinct for these things, and i've been wrong about a lot lately, so no argument from me.
Anonymous said…
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the Silverfish said…
"Not to ruin the lives of the people" Now there's a novel idea but it'll never fly as that is simply not how the game is played and the man is a hypocrite for saying so. Anyone who is on top of the heap has ruined the lives of many people on his or her way up. To think otherwise is not only foolish but it is a lie.

Never in the history of this planet has this ideal worked or even been

Even Gandhi failed miserably, sure his ideals were admirable but in the end many peoples lives were ruined and little changed with the exception of the British being sorta maybe kinda a little bit kicked out but in the end the poor stayed poor and oppressed and the rich , well they stayed rich and oppressive.
A. Peasant said…
'it's the thought that counts.' not.
chuckyman said…
Someone mention my name?

As usual DM was more light-hearted than I. My pick was

Since I’m on a cheery streak (back to normal) I see that Noor has a post that possibly links the recent dis-ASH-ster with my favourite contentious document – the Protocols of Zion
A. Peasant said…
i did notice the knee-jerk reaction to the volcano: 'this is terrible. we *need* a XYZ organization / coordinated response / insert your favorite NWO one world government supra-body for dealing with this particular situation that won't happen again anyway...'
chuckyman said…
I was really impressed with how quickly the BA pilot (from the “famous” ash damaged plane in 1982) was propped in front the cameras.

Any one notice the headline hinting at the creation of the new global banking tax. It briefly sneaked onto the headlines. It is to prevent future bank failures!!! Yeh right. Where do I start one that one. More flying swine flu anyone?

A busy week for the Elites. Murder an uncooperative government AND clear the entire airspace over a continent. They must have really hated the idea of going to the state funeral to use that excuse. It didn’t stop the military air exercise this week over Europe did it.
Anonymous said…
As I have mentioned before however there appears to be a lot of resistance to new global taxes. South America is forming it's own central bank and monetary system.

The east does not look ready to climb on board, Russia and China are talking about an integrated monetary and trading system which benefits them.

Talk about dropping the dollar in many places and not accepting it for oil. Something needs to be done fast to avoid economic collapse. It will take time to develop the oil in the Black Hills of Dakota and the Falklands which some say is more than exists in the mideast anyway.

Of course these volcanos and mother nature not towing the line could well present a problem also. What to do what to do.
Anonymous said…
Saddam Hussein went to live in Belarus.

- Aangirfan
A. Peasant said…
aan, i never, ever heard that before. was this before or after they hung the guy who they said was saddam?

dubs, check this out at pravda:

“The Iranian nuclear program can be stopped. It can happen only if Teheran’s oil sales program is obstructed, because this is how the nuclear program is financed. Yet, China that gets the black oil from Iran will not agree to it under any circumstances. At the same time it will not break the promises given to the world community. ***China will discuss the sanctions, but will not vote for them.*** There is another factor besides oil. Lately, Iranian-Chinese military and technical cooperation has been developing. In particular, during the last parade held in Teheran the Persians showed contemporary air defense complexes that strongly resembled Russian S-300, allegedly designed by them. Most likely, they were made in China.

china will talk about the sanctions all day long, they just refuse to back anything up that might hurt iran. sounds like they're turning teh 'peace process' game back on israel.
A. Peasant said…

that's the link
chuckyman said…
Good link A.P.

If the analysts quoted are to be taken on face value they are squarely putting China in the cross hairs. Russia is sidestepping direct confrontation with America’s ZOG on the sanctions issue. Are they feigning weakness or submission in the hope of tempting the US to overreach? NATO’s supply lines are dangerously long and very vulnerable.
Anonymous said…
aagirfan I read that somewhere myself years ago I wouldn't doubt it for a minute. Sadam certainly went somewhere and was not the guy who got smoke in Iraq. He didn't even look the same and had an over bite.

It is hard to be really sure what is going on but the idea of turning the peace process back on supposed peace makers makes sense. Who knows maybe Russia, China and Iran sip coffee and laugh at the whole thing.

Russia could have stalled on the S300 while China was shipping the missiles into Iran. Russia can just go ahead and sell the missiles set up for Iran to China to replace the inventory or sell them eventually to Iran.

Mullen and Gates are Georgetown schooled but even they it appears anyway are not too keen on attacking Iran. It is Isreal who keeps pushing.

We have all discussed the fact that nobody really knows what Iran has or for that matter what has been shipped to them. All the bullshit and chirping is just that, chirping. I believe it would be a fair guess to say they have a lot more hidden out in the mountains than Iraq did.

I would bet aangirfan saw this also, she seems to be on top of everything. There was a short piece about a weapons fair and Iran displayed a vehicle which could tunnel under the earth, carry rockets, fly in the air, become a submarine and do about a 100 miles on hour on the surface of water. I have seen nothing about it since. Now that sounds like some hellish piece of gear to me.

It is beginning to look to me like Isreal is not a permanent fixture in the middle east. Their sperm count is supposedly down to 20% from all the deoleted uranium and other poison unleased in the area. Maybe the end game is wipe out the locals, crown the demon in Jerusalem and move out and claim victory.
A. Peasant said…
chuck, over-reach seems more and more likely with the US being pressured by israel. the whining and pressure on obama is just deafening, why doesn't he understand about israel's poor feelings? so he is being relentlessly pushed to do something, and plus there's the contingent that say we have to do something or else israel will just make everything worse. so it appears to be a waiting game to see when stupid shows up.

dubs, yes i would assume, considering how long this has been going on, that iran has defenses and good ones. and also that a lot of israelis dying tragic deaths would be really great for the jewish narrative... an infusion of fresh blood into the bloodless holocaust corpse.
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
Here is another diddy I ran across. This case is solved as far as I am concerned. They have many many inland lakes and streams.

"Most of Finland’s tap water is purer than many brands of bottled water."
Anonymous said…
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Anonymous said…
wrong link
A. Peasant said…
hey dubs, yes good one by g. duff. he really lays it down and that's exactly what people need.

re: flouride, hey! see? good find! that doesn't surprise me at all. if people ever comprehend what's been stolen from them and their children, in terms of health and brain functioning, by intentional poisoning via fluoride, vaccines, additives, etc., there will be hell to pay. it's just diabolical, the poisoning.
Anonymous said…
I am still laughing over this one.