The so-called ‘Russian World’ is coming closer to Belarus and it does not seem to be peaceful, independent and pro-government experts warn. Yury Tsaryk, a representative of Minsk-based Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Research, and Dzyans Ivashin, chief editor of the Belarusian service of the international OSINT community InformNapalm, are the guests of Belsat TV program Two vs. Two.
Will the Kremlin set off a war and invade our country or just force Lukashenka to abandon Belarus without a single shot? Opinions differ.
Yury Tsarik: After the events in crimea and Donbas Belarus adopted a new defense plan and directive on the protection of the state. Of course, they are classified, but as far as I understand, the documents were adopted to avoid the situation that Ukraine faced – when something happened to the supreme power and the army did not know what to do. As far as I know, there are exact plans provided for various scenarios, including the supreme commander [Alyaksandr Lukashenka]’s having some misfortune <…> It was promoted to the level of military doctrine, it is quite an interesting document <…> [Belarusian Defense Minister] Andrey Ravkou openly said that the experience of the armed fighting in Ukraine had been taken into account during working on the doctrine.
Dzyanis Ivashyn: The plan will stall as the entire General Staff is full of agents of Russian influence due to the fact that they were trained in Russian military universities; there are many people of Russian origin, Russians take senior command positions. <…> Lukashenka is a hostage to the situation he has built for two decades.
Host: Experts say that many patriots in the army…
Yury Tsaryk: The level of patriotism in the Belarusian army is quite high, but I agree that there are lots of problems as well. But considering the recent Crimean events, the selection of personnel, particularly at the level of the General Staff, was very careful. That is why I doubt that the plan will stall.
I think with you that we do have a problem with personnel, especially at the local level, it is not being solved quickly enough. In order to avoid causing an international scandal, we should find a proper approach to our soldiers when saying to them that they might have to fight in a potential war with Russia. It is clear that if a new paradigm is put clumsily, the agents will spill the beans and the Russian side will know about it very soon.
No matter how strong Russia’s pressure is, no matter how aggressive its intentions are, we cannot head for a full-scale confrontation with Russia. Therefore, we are talking about the way of accurately and delicately building-up a system of inhibiting potential aggression without destroying Belarus-Russia relations.
Host: Does it mean that Alyaksandr Lukashenka should remain in power?
Yury Tsaryk: I believe it is the nation who should decide during the next presidential election.