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Four Russian National Bolsheviks showed up at Wednesday’s news conference in President Hotel in Minsk calling themselves journalists of the Belarusian paper Nasha Niva. They dropped leaflets with the bid not to recognize the Minsk format of negotiations and shouted down OSCE’s special representative in the trilateral contact group on Ukraine Ambassador Martin Sajdik by chanting:
“Donbas to Russia!”
After the incident, Russian media said that the press conference was disrupted. Belarusian journalists, however, reported only an attempt of provocation – Martin Sajdik yet made his speech.
“An agreement was reached to withdraw heavy weaponry, which is subject to the Minsk agreements, before 20 February,” he said.
Why did they want to disrupt a routine press conference?
“Many people really want to derail the negotiation process to prevent Minsk from being a talks venue. Others just want to fuel the flagging conflict in Donbas again. And some are eager to stamp themselves as an active force of the state,” says journalist Svyatlana Kalinkina.
Using their name by Russians came as an unpleasant surprise to the Nasha Niva.
“The fact that some unknown people, some fringes, who were banned even in Russia, are able to get to the heart of our capital and start screaming is a shame. We are lucky that they did not start shooting or, say, pouring acid over OSCE representatives. It is a heavy blow to the reputation of our security services,” NN journalist Artsyom Harbatsevich stresses.
Indeed, the Minsk police grabbed only one National Bolshevik who stayed to be interviewed by reporters and let himself be detained. The rest are already in Moscow.
If the action was planned as a ‘fighting reconnaissance’, it was crowned with success: only one of four participants was detained. This means that there might be more provocations in the near future.
The Other Russia is just another name for the good old-fashioned National Bolshevik Party created by notorious Eduard Limonov in the 1990s. It claims to be an opposition party banned by Russian authorities. But in the conflict with the USA and Ukraine, the Kremlin and the NBP do have the same interest. In Russia, they attack foreign embassies and diplomats; in Ukraine they fight and gain combat experience. As for Belarus, the National Bolsheviks have always welcome the idea of the territorial expansion of Russia.
Yaraslau Stseshyk, Belsat, Minsk.