The Lukashenka regime is signaling its willingness to strike a deal. Poland in Belarusian propaganda.

Over the past weeks, Belarusian propaganda about Poland has suggested that Minsk proposes a deal linked to the change of power in Warsaw. Belarus is offering to limit the influx of immigrants in exchange for opening border crossings.

In the past, it was customary for Alyaksandr Lukashenka to signal his stance on Polish-Belarusian relations. On November 3, while answering questions from residents of Astravyetsk, a town located on the border with Lithuania, he referred to these relations. It is worth noting that such visits are usually well-prepared and scripted, so the questions, answers, and language used are not accidental.

białoruś emil czeczko granica migranci uchodźcy ogrodzenie propaganda
Belarusian propagandist Ksenia Lebedeva, together with a group of “Belarusian patriots,” laid flowers on the grave of Emil Chechko, Photo BT

According to the state agency BelTA, a group of selected representatives of residents from Astravyetsk wished to discuss the potential for restoring relations between Belarus and its neighboring countries, Poland and Lithuania, with the Head of State. This request comes in light of recent elections in one country and upcoming elections in another.

– According to BelTA, the Lukashenka was asked whether Lithuanian voters can ensure their government acts in the country’s interest rather than following the lead of Washington or Brussels and dancing to their political tunes.

Meanwhile, Lukashenka expressed his confidence in restoring the relationship with Lithuania and stated that Poland would have no other option but to follow suit. He also mentioned the complaints from Lithuania and Poland about immigrants attempting to enter the EU through Belarus. He also emphasized that Belarus does not detain migrants as it does not want to become an EU dumping ground. It is quite intriguing to hear this statement from a politician who accuses Western countries of treating newcomers as subhumans. He also accused EU countries of breaking off relations with Belarus, including migration issues, and imposing sanctions.

Lukhasenka commented on the results of the Polish elections, stating that he did not anticipate significant changes in Polish politics following the election of pro-European politician Donald Tusk and the departure of the Law and Justice party, which he referred to as more pro-American.

– It should be noted that Poland’s policy towards Belarus will not change immediately. Communication channels remain closed, and they have provided certain conditions we cannot meet now. “Let this one go, let that one go.” He broke the law. How will I let him go?”, said Lukhasenka. Furthermore, as a sovereign and independent state, we shall continue to pursue policies in our nation’s interest. We have made our position clear, and if they are willing to cooperate, we are ready to lend a hand whenever necessary – Lukhasenka added, probably referring to the case of Andrzej Poczobut, who is serving an 8-year prison sentence.

Poczobut, a Polish journalist and activist from the Union of Polish People in Belarus, was given on February 8 a long-term prison sentence. As a result, two days later, Poland suspended traffic at the Bobrowniki border crossing until further notice. They limited international traffic with Belarus to just two crossings. In June 2023, Polish authorities completely blocked truck traffic registered in Belarus and Russia. Similarly, Lithuania and Latvia also made comparable decisions.

Belarus reaches out 

Belarus has been showing signs of trying to improve its relations with neighboring countries lately. In late October, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs made an unofficial complaint that Latvia declined to meet to discuss the migration crisis. The intended topic of the dialogue was to include the possibility of opening the border crossings with Belarus.

The Head of the Security Council of Belarus, Alyaksandr Volfovich, has made similar complaints against Poland and Lithuania, stating that the source of the migration threat is not Belarus and Russia. He has appealed to Poland and the Baltic countries to solve the migration problems on the border with Belarus but emphasized that his requests have remained unanswered despite “constructive proposals.”

Opening border crossings for goods traffic could be a beneficial step for Belarus. In exchange, the country could show what it can offer to meet its expectations. The recent drop in illegal border crossings by immigrants into Lithuania is a clear indication that Belarus has the necessary tools and capabilities to manage its borders effectively. While Poland and Latvia continue to report dozens of illegal border crossings daily, Belarus has managed to curb such activities on the border with Lithuania. It is unlikely that these newcomers suddenly decided to avoid this part of the Belarusian border alone. Instead, it is a sign that Belarus can control the flow of illegal border crossings.

The Sad Eyes of Chechko

It is becoming increasingly evident that Lukashenka is attempting to leverage the issue of migration to accomplish his political goals. It is supported by the growing number of propaganda materials in Belarus that debate the migration concern. These articles often echo the arguments presented by the authorities and appeal to the conscience of the West while stubbornly denying that Minsk had anything to do with the crisis outbreak.

The state-owned Belarusian television BT aired a program that extensively covered the topic of migrants. The program began by stating that Angela Merkel invited migrants to Europe in 2015 with her famous phrase “We Can Do It.” It further explained that this decision resulted from the migration crisis on the Belarusian-Polish border. The program was almost half an hour long and provided detailed information on the subject matter.

The program’s expert is Vusal Jafarov, a mysterious Azerbaijani “historian and orientalist” representing the E. Chechko Foundation in Azerbaijan. The organization named after the Polish deserter has already established an international presence. The commentator, invited by Belarusian television, expressed his disappointment that the EU stopped responding humanely to the influx of migrants after 2020, precisely when Lukashenka began to transfer them to the Western border of Belarus.

– The migration policy of EU countries bordering Belarus has become increasingly harsh and brutal each year. The authorities of Poland, Lithuania, and Latvia are not only disregarding international humanitarian law but also causing the deaths of migrants from the Middle East – these are the claims made by the program’s authors.

Finally, a case of Emil Chechko, a Polish deserter, appears and is thrown into a discussion. A journalist from BT, Ksenia Lebedeva, goes to the cemetery to place two roses on the grave of the man who supposedly disclosed information about the Polish army’s mass executions of migrants. A BT staff member interviewed Chechko before his passing, where he spoke about the alleged actions of the Polish military.

Vusal Jafarov commented on Chechko’s case, stating that Western media, including BBC and Al-Arabiya, and human rights organizations had made it a taboo subject. It is likely because they consider it unrealistic that a NATO soldier sought refuge in Belarus.

Krzysztof Tołwiński, a Polish politician, believes that Chechko’s words were meant to convey an inconvenient truth. Tołwiński, who is a popular figure among Lukashenka state media, has had a diverse political career, having moved from Self-Defense of the Republic of Poland to Law and Justice, Kukiz15, Confederation parties, and finally forming his own Front Formation. According to Belarusian television, he is the first Polish politician to comment on Chechko’s statement and the murders that occurred on the Polish border. He suggested that the Polish authorities were involved in the alleged suicide of the Private in question.

– Private Emil Chechko’s actions and words hold much truth and shame for us. It cannot be ruled out that his death was not accidental. It is quite the opposite – he was merely an inconvenient person and killed to protect the interests of the Polish authorities, he has stated.

Tołwiński, in the program, accused the Law and Justice government of attempting an unsuccessful coup in Belarus. When their plan failed, politicians of the ruling party allegedly turned against refugees. The reasoning behind this move was that the existence of an external enemy would help consolidate society.

The program’s authors conclude that limited access to the border for journalists and activists in Poland allows only a select group of people to know what is happening there.

Dzmitry Bialakou, the former guardian of Chechko and current Head of the charitable foundation named after the Polish fugitive, also comments on the situation at the border. He accuses Poland of inhumanity despite their own experiences with Nazism and concentration camps. The program features multiple accusations of Nazism and genocide by Polish services made by representatives of Belarusian law enforcement, who are known for their brutality.

The reportage includes propaganda pictures illustrating a visit of Belarusian patriots to the grave of Emil Chechko, a Polish dissident and soldier.

The program ends with the Chechko images accompanied by music from the TV series “Polish Roads.”

– Emil witnessed the haunting gaze of the refugees he shot, which stayed with him for the rest of his life. Presently, the Polish Consul in Hrodna commutes to work through the Emil Chechko street passage while he can look at the poster featuring the sad eyes of a Polish soldier, says a voice-over.

The border fence isolates Poland from the rest of civilization

Belarusian propaganda is attempting to spark the interest of Polish citizens in the idea of isolating Belarus. They aired an hour-long program on state radio titled “Thoughts about Poland.” We have previously reported on this project’s authors and participants, which attracted Lukashenka and Putin’s supporters to Belarus, who are considered “anti-system” individuals.

In a radio program hosted by Daniel Mikusek, a Polish businessman in the packaging industry and a fan of conspiracy theories, the audience heard all the typical clichés of Belarusian propaganda about the migration crisis. However, the broadcast was surreal because Belarusian propagandists and Polish citizens expressed the same views. It was even more absurd that the authors of the broadcast denied that the Belarusian authorities were responsible for provoking the migration crisis in 2021.

The program host mentioned that the fence was not only meant to prevent people from crossing the border illegally but also to stop Polish residents from escaping to Belarus. Additionally, he drew a comparison between the border fence and the Great Wall of China, symbolizing China’s isolation from the rest of the world and ultimately leading to its downfall. The presenter argued that Poland could also meet a similar fate due to its isolation from Belarus. According to Mikusek, the fence at the Polish border does not serve its intended purpose and only has symbolic value. The border is also being breached by individuals who have paid bribes to Polish officials for visas, only to be deceived. They were told to pay 10,000 Euros for a single document. However, they have yet to arrive at their intended destination – Poland.

According to the program participants, the fence is a serious ecological problem – it divided the Belovezhskaya Pushcha. All sides of the issue were previously present in Belarusian authorities’ statements and local propaganda.

There were also accusations that Poland was committing genocide against migrants on the border with Belarus. Mikusek discussed the deserter Emil Chechko, who unfortunately died in Belarus. According to Chechko’s statements, “Governor Morawiecki” regime murdered 6,000 women and children.

One of the participants in the program was Paweł Jański, who identified himself as a social activist. He left Great Britain with his family and relocated to Belarus for fear of alleged prosecution. According to him, he found a genuine sense of freedom only after moving to Belarus.

The program compared Poland and the Third Reich and suggested that the truth would only be revealed after the Morawiecki regime collapsed. The program also proposed a new Nuremberg trial to hold the responsible Polish authorities accountable for genocide. 

The true motives of the Belarusian regime were exposed by two local propagandists and commentators, Piotr Piatrouski and Alaksei Dzermant. Piatrouski claimed that Belarus doesn’t import migrants. Also, it doesn’t stop them from approaching the border. This assertion is absurd, given the confirmed fact that in 2021, Belarusian authorities facilitated the international business of bringing people from the Middle East and transporting them to the Polish border.

Piatrouski politely stated that it is in the best interest of both Belarus and Poland to secure their border. Belarus actively seeks to engage Poland in a dialogue to address this issue. On the other hand, Dzermant made it clear that Belarus would stop allowing migrants through its border only after Poland dropped its sanctions.

Business as usual?

These types of programs demonstrate the true nature of the Belarusian authorities. Lukashenka hopes to return to the “business as usual” policy in relations with the West. This approach will increase his room for maneuvering in policies toward the Kremlin. He hopes that the change of power in Poland and the EU’s potential to exert significant influence on Warsaw would solve the crisis his way. Lukashenka’s approach involves using humanitarian justifications for his actions while ignoring the fact that the Belarusian authorities are deceiving migrants with the promise of a quick and easy crossing of the border.

Lukashenka is using migrants as a bargaining chip. If the West meets Belarus’ demands, the Belarusian border will no longer be accessible for Middle Eastern migrants as before. However, the fact that he is requesting the lifting of Western sanctions indicates they are impacting the Belarusian economy.

Jakub Biernat/

Translated by PEV