Sunday, September 20, 2020

Russian-Led Counter-Revolution in Belarus May Solve Tasks of Belarusian Revolution, Pastukhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 19 – Revolutions often last for many years despite the tendency to reduce them to a single day or two, Vladimir Pastukhov says; and it sometimes happens that the counter-revolutions they inevitably provoke may themselves end by resolving the tasks the revolutionaries set themselves to begin with.

            That happened in Russia a decade ago, the London-based Russian analyst says, and it is likely that the very same thing will happen in Belarus, a country that will never return to what it was before August 9 but that won’t move forward along a single straight course (

            The situation in Belarus is complicated by the fact that it remains within the magnetic field of an imperial center, Pastukhov continues. Lukashenka may well be converted into “the nominal ruler of the country” but in fact be under the tight control from the Kremlin. His fate, however, is ultimately less significant than the fundamental change in the Belarusian population.

            In that event, the West will introduce sanctions which both Minsk and Moscow will survive but limit its involvement in Belarus lest it provoke the Russian side.

            A second scenario is also possible, the analyst says. Moscow may not want to have to deal with Lukashenka anymore and will pursue the installation in Minsk of “a more Europeanized leader but at the same time one acceptable to Moscow.” Such an individual would be under less control but would also cost Moscow less.

            In considering what the Kremlin will do, Pastukhov argues, one must remember that while Putin is no immune to imperial romanticism, “money is more important;” and it will be on a straight cost-benefit analysis expressed in a financial balance sheet that will drive what he does in Belarus and elsewhere as well.

            If Putin can make money more easily by dispensing with Lukashenka than by keeping him, then that is what he is likely to do, however much he may talk about “the Russian world” or overcoming the results of “the greatest geopolitical catastrophe” of the 20th century, the disintegration of the USSR.

            And because that is so, he may become the latest counter-revolutionary leader to implement the goals of the revolution because they certainly serve his immediate interests if not necessarily all of his long-term ones. 

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