On Thursday president Alyaksandr Lukashenka ordered his special services to ‘explain the matter’ to Belarusians fighting in Ukraine on the both sides of the front. He even called them ‘posturers’- the president might have been aware of the latest media reports about foreign fighters for unrecognised separatist republics who come back from Donbas, have a rest in Belarus and post photos depicting then with or without weapons on the Internet.
Perhaps, it will be difficult to reach the Belarusians fighting for Ukraine’s army in volunteer battalions. As most Belarusian volunteers know that the way home is closed for them, they are trying to obtain Ukrainian citizenship. And Ukraine that still has trouble expressing gratitude is likely to grant citizenship to themin the near future in spite of its red tape. It is easy to describe a Belarusian fighting on the Ukrainian side – he is usually an enemy of Russian imperialism and Russification carried out by president Lukashenka. And he goes to Donbas not for money, but for the sake of idea. By the point, many of the volunteers were in files of the KGB before the war.
The story of vocal supporters of the ‘Russian world’ is quite different. No one persecutes them in Belarus. And interestingly, they often turn out to be former soldiers of the Belarusian army, and what is more, they did their military service in so called elite units. Apparently, the state that spends money on the formidable army of ideologists failed to explain to its soldiers that the military service in the Belarusian army is needed for protecting their own land, not for ‘touring’ in the neighboring countries and killing its citizens.
But as it always has been, president Lukashenka is beating around the bush instead of giving, for example, a direct order to ideologically correct the servicemen of the 5th special operations brigade deployed in the town of Maryina Horka. After all, among its soldiers fighting for the unrecognised Donetsk republic is very popular.
In 2015, Belarusian journalists found at least four of these brave men. This year one person has already given his life for separatists. And the case is those ex-servicemen who like to boast of their ‘achievements’ in Donbas in social media. The Belarusian authorities should send their best political leader instructor (there is no shortage of them in Belarus) to them. It is no question they will be able to explain that the skills obtained in the Belarusian army should not be used to kill the representatives of the brotherly Ukrainian people.
Thus, if one should search for posturers, then let’s start with those round the corner.
Maxim Chyhunka, belsat.eu