Russia’s foreign intel head Naryshkin arrives in Minsk, meets with Lukashenka

Sergei Naryshkin visiting Minsk. 22 october 2020. Photo: Alyaksandr Lukashenka’ s press service

On Thursday, Alyaksandr Lukashenka has held a meeting with Director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service Sergei Naryshkin in the face of People’s Ultimatum announced by opposition leader Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya.

“I am sure our meeting will create an explosion of sorts in the media, especially on the internet. We do not hide the fact that the situation around us, I mean the Union State, is not easy. I thank you for the information that you regularly share with our special services and with me as well,” state-run news agency BelTA quotes Lukashenka.

To some extent, Alyaksandr Lukashenka specified what he meant when referring to the gravity of the situation:

“<…> in this world, the world that has gone frenzy, especially over this pandemic and so on, we do not have many friends, let us be frank. Everyone has an interest in us – in Russia, Belarus. We have to respond.”

Last week, Tsikhanouskaya’s team published the text of People’s Ultimatum they are going to issue to Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Belarusian officials. They strongly urge the regime to fulfil the following demands in the near future: Lukashenka’s announcing his resignation; putting an end to police violence in the streets; releasing all political prisoners. From what Lukashenka has said today it appears that he is not going to comply with the demands. According to the opposition, if they have not been met by October 25, the entire country ‘will take to the streets to peacefully deliver People’s Ultimatum; on October 26, all enterprises will start striking’.

Tsikhanouskaya stepping up demands: Lukashenka may face People’s Ultimatum

Lukashenka and Naryshkin have not seen each other in person for more than four years. Prior to taking in charge of the intelligence service in 2016, Sergei Naryshkin was chairman of the Russian State Duma.

“I share your assessments of the degree of tension in the world as a whole and around our countries. I am sure that the special services can do much more to look after the interests of our states, our citizens, to protect them from the threats that arise with a certain frequency,” Sergei Naryshkin told Lukashenka.

In mid September, Naryshkin said that the United States played a key role in preparing the protests in Belarus and put Lukashenka’s strongest election opponent Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya under ‘close guardianship’. “The protests have been well organised from the very beginning and are coordinated from abroad,” he said. The Director of the Foreign Intelligence Service says that ‘in fact, we are talking about a poorly veiled attempt to organise another colour revolution and an anti-constitutional coup, the goals and objectives of which have nothing to do with the interests of Belarusian citizens’.

Russia puts Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya on wanted list, following BelTA