Staunton, Aug. 14 – Meeting in Vilnius, the Belarusian opposition formed a new joint transitional cabinet to give itself more stability than it has had in recent months under the leadership of Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya who does not want to assume complete charge but isn’t prepared to have anyone else do so, Dmitry Galko says.
The new body forms a de facto government in exile although it doesn’t use that term in deference to Tsikhanouskaya who objects to it and consists of five people including her. Three are well-known, but one is very much a new face and may say a great deal about where the Belarusian opposition is headed, the Belarusian commentator continues.
The three well-known figures are Pavel Latushko, who earlier was minister of culture and has worked closely with Tsikhanouskaya; Valery Kovalyevsky, a diplomat who worked in the US and then at the world bank; and Aleksandr Azarov, a lieutenant colonel from the militia (graniru.org/Politics/World/Europe/Belarus/m.285765.html).
The new and for many unexpected figure is Valery Sakhashchik, a former military officer who has a checkered past but rose to prominence when he called on his fellow officers not to obey any orders to send them to fight in Ukraine (b-g.by/society/byivshiy-komandir-38-y-brigadyi-k-sozhaleniyu-ya-vizhu-chto-nashi-siloviki-ne-gotovyi-spokoyno-razgovarivat-s-narodom/ and youtube.com/watch?v=eyazRoW57c8).
Sakhashchik’s rise creates a certain intrigue, Galko says, because it raises the possibility that the Belarusian opposition may seek to raise troops to fight against Moscow in Ukraine, something that could be a game changer as far as the opposition and indeed Belarus are concerned. At the very least, this raises issue of the possible creation of a new Belarusian army.
Whether that will happen and indeed whether the new grouping will promote stability and an increase in the influence of the Belarusian opposition or prove nothing more than one more occasion of intramural émigré politics, of course, remain to be seen. But the fact that this is provoking discussion, the commentator says, is important at a time when things are too quiet.