Eduard Palchys, a creator of 1863x.com web project and former political prisoner, urges Belarusians to join a civil campaign to monitor the war game Zapad-2017.
“There are many different opinions and rumours about the exercise, they are often conflicting. If there are no specific facts and impartial analysis, tension will grow not only in Belarus, but in the whole region as well. That is why I suggest we should use Open Source Intelligence (OSINT) methods,” Palchys told belsat.eu.
OSINT is a term used to refer to studying and analyzing the data collected from publicly available sources.
“Citizens of Belarus, who live not far from the war game sites and do care, can take photos, make videos, keep records and then post information on the web or send it to journalists. This information published will allow experts to carry out a real-life analysis of what is going on,” he stressed.
The blogger draws the attention to the necessity of using hashtags #Запад2017, #Захад2017 і#Zapad2017.
The Belarusian-Russian strategic army exercise Zapad-2017 scheduled for September, 14-20 is supposed to demonstrate ‘persistence in efforts to ensure security of the two brotherly nations’. Such exercises are held in Belarus and Russia interchangeably every two years. In September, there will be about 10,000 troops involved in the exercise in the Belarusian territory (7,200 – the Belarusian Armed Forces and about 3,000 – the Russian Army).
At the same time, Lithuanian president Dalia Grybauskaite and a number of European politicians believe that the ‘West-2017’ demonstrates the preparation of Belarus and Russia to the war with the West. In mid April, Oleksandr Turchynov, Secretary of the National Security and Defense Council of Ukraine, stressed that the joint military exercise might become the preparation for an assault against Ukraine in September. In turn, Belarusian democratic circles fear that Russian troops will not come back home after the war game.