Thursday, May 27, 2021

Minsk Events Call Attention to Longstanding Soviet and Russian Tradition, Melikhov Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, May 25 – “The kidnaping of Roman Protasevich is a logical extension” of a Soviet tradition and will continue as long as “pro-Soviet regimes” like the ones in Minsk and Moscow exist unless the international community mounts a multi-pronged attack on the practice, Vladimir Melikhov, a Cossack writer argues.

            The kidnaping of White Russian leaders like Generals Kutepov and Miller in the 1930s was followed by the same approach to dealing with “a multitude of White emigres in the Western zone of occupation by officers of SMERSH between 1945 and 1947, he says, a tactic designed “to destroy the best and frighten the rest” (

            The international community did not prevent these crimes in the 1930s and 1940s and did not take effective action when the Soviet Union shot down a South Korean passenger plane. In that case, 269 people were killed. “What was the reaction? Declarations and sanctions, that’s all.”

            “The fate of peoples under the power of dictators has never defined” the responses of countries confronted by such crimes, Melikhov says. Instead, they invariably calculate what costs they and their own citizens will suffer if they try to defend their principles against those who so willfully violate them.

            And the leaders of such countries excuse themselves for their inaction, he continues, by suggesting that any steps they might take behind denunciations and sanctions would have more negative consequences for their own countries than for those who are committing the crimes in question. They know that their own people won’t demand more and will quickly forget the case.

            As a result, it is almost certain that the regime which authored this criminal action “will remain unchanged.” Those who care about the rights of Roman Protasevich must nonetheless fight on, seeking to overcome the resistance of those who are now making such loud declarations from doing anything really serious to help.


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