That isn’t something new, she continues, but rather the result of “the errors of all 25 years of Lukashenka’s presidency. It is a mistake to say that Belarusians and Russians are one people, that we are brothers, and that we cannot live without one another. But our people are trusting, not into conflict, listen to this and as a result we have a situation when even those opposed to Lukashenka today love Putin.”
“And today,” Kalinkina continues, it seems to many that Belarusians feel that they need money and therefore need Russia, and they are prepared to believe that we are “one people.” “If the Kremlin knew that Belarus would rise as one against them,” she says, it wouldn’t even be talking about an Anschluss.
But according to Nikolay Statkevich, a leader of the Belarusian National Congress, that is exactly what the Belarusians would do, thus guaranteeing that Belarus would not be “a second Crimea” but rather “a second Afghanistan” in which the Russians would suffer serious losses and then be forced to withdraw (charter97.org/ru/news/2018/12/31/318394/).
“I do not think that Belarus will be swallowed up,” he says, because Belarusians overwhelmingly value independence – 90 to 95 percent do – and they recognize that Lukashenka has been selling them off piecemeal. If the Belarusian dictator tries to sell them off wholesale, they will go into the streets in opposition – and not just into the streets.
According to polls, Statkevich says, one million Belarusians are prepared to defend their country’s independence with arms in their hands. They can look back on a 500-year-long tradition of partisan wars. As a result, if Putin and Lukashenka try something, they won’t get “a second Crimea” but rather “a second Afghanistan.”