- LUKASHENKA-PUTIN "INTEGRATION MAPS" PUBLISHED
- LAWSUIT AGAINST LUKASHENKA WAS TODAY FILED AT THE ICC
- CYBERPARTISANS SLOW DOWN THE ADVANCE OF RUSSIA'S TROOPS
- SANCTIONS: ESTONIAN BUSINESS AND "LUKASHENKA'S MONEYBAG"
- SANCTIONS: LITHUANIA REJECTS POTASH TRANSIT FROM BELARUS
- POLAND CONSTRUCTS A WALL ALONG ITS BORDER WITH BELARUS
- LUKASHENKA'S PUBLIC ADDRESS
LUKASHENKA-PUTIN "INTEGRATION MAPS" PUBLISHED
This is an update on the ongoing political crisis in the Republic of Belarus prepared for you by the International Strategic Action Network for Security (iSANS).
Last week, the number of acknowledged political prisoners in Belarus exceeded 1,000 individuals for the first time. The list of currently acknowledge political prisoners is available at the following link: https://prisoners.spring96.org/en
Human rights groups, however, highlight that the list of people already defined and identified as political prisoners is not the complete list of individuals who face ongoing repressions on political grounds and reflects only a portion of them. Meanwhile acting regime continues to use degrading and dehumanizing technics to motivate violence against civilians. Homophobia has been particularly widely weaponized in the last few months.
We also register new tactics by the junta: the families of activists residing abroad are being terrorized in a new campaign of repressions while Lukashenka-controlled media call for unjustified alienation of real estate and properties of both activists and their families. Likely, this practice will become widespread in 2022 as more and more criminal cases are launched following Stalinist-era fashioned denunciations – both private and public.
Last week, an allegedly complete text of «integration maps» was published (full text here) by the Lukashenka administration. The document was signed in November 2021, but is believed to only being made available for the general public last week. This document is causing serious concerns related to the loss of sovereignty by the Republic of Belarus.
We would like to highlight your attention that although the document wasn’t available to public until recently, it’s text goes in line with the negative scenario forecast made by iSANS in our analytical report «Welcome to the BSSR-2: Union Programs and the erosion of Belarus’s sovereignty» that was published in September 2021.
The so-called «union programs» embody the negative scenario that has been hanging over Belarus for the past three years, since the infamous «Medvedev ultimatum». Faced with national sovereignty in the name of his political survival, Lukashenka predictably chose the latter at the price of Belarus independence. To download full document, click here.
As Lukashenka has turned into a puppet regent of Vladimir Putin and more Russia’s troops enter Belarus, there is an urgent need to review the independence of his decision-making, but also the future of Belarus in case of open military conflict with Belarus. In addition, Ukraine’s capital is facing real danger with Belarus borderline slightly 60 miles away.
In their take on current situation, ECFR Fellows Pavel Slunkin and Gustav Gressel write as follows: «Regardless of whether Russia invades Ukraine again, Belarus’s territory will increasingly become a source of military threats to all its western neighbours – not just Ukraine. In his desperation to please the Kremlin, Lukashenka risks torching the independence of his country.»
There is similar trending discussion in the United States. «If Russia proceeds with its threatened invasion of Ukraine, it is increasingly clear that Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s autocratic regime in neighboring Belarus will also need to be viewed as a full combatant in the war.» – writes Brian Whitmore, a Nonresident Senior Fellow at the Atlantic Council.
LAWSUIT AGAINST LUKASHENKA WAS TODAY FILED AT THE ICC
Today, Polish lawyer Tomasz Wilinski filed a lawsuit against Lukashenka and his subordinates to the International Criminal Court in the Hague. The case is copy of an extensive file deliver in December 2021 to the National Prosecutor’s Office of Poland. Wilinski suspects the former president of Belarus and other Belarusian officials of genocide and crimes against humanity.
We would like to draw your attention to a recent iSANS article on other criminal procedures that are already available to the West to pursue criminal prosecution against the perpetrators of crimes against humanity in Belarus.
CYBERPARTISANS SLOW DOWN THE ADVANCE OF RUSSIA'S TROOPS
On the night of January 23 a hacker group called Belarusian Cyberpartisans carried out a cyberattack targeting the Belarusian state railway in order to paralyse the network and slow down trains carrying Russian troops into Belarus for military exercises. In a statement published in their Telegram channel, the group claimed that it had encrypted and / or destroyed internal databases that the Belarusian railways use to control traffic, customs and stations. It also put forward two political demands in exchange for unlocking the railway’s systems: release 50 political prisoners most in need of medical care and withdraw Russian soldiers from Belarus.
“We don’t want Russian soldiers in Belarus since it compromises the sovereignty of the country and puts it in danger of occupation. It also pulls Belarus into a war with Ukraine. And probably Belarusian soldiers would have to participate in it and die for this meaningless war”, a member of the group said.
The state railways confirmed the attack but said that the intrusion was minor and has only slowed the issuance of electronic tickets. However, a former Belarusian Railways employee told Radio Liberty that the cyberattack was “a serious blow” to the railway system, affecting automated systems from payroll to cargo manifests to timetables. “The problem with electronic tickets is trivial by comparison,” he said, adding that much of the formerly automated work at the railway is now being carried out manually, producing serious slowdowns. “All the archives have been destroyed. It is impossible to see statistics for the last year or the last month. Nothing in electronic format remains.”
SANCTIONS: ESTONIAN BUSINESS AND "LUKASHENKA'S MONEYBAG"
Despite harsh EU sanctions, Belarusian oil exports to Estonia reached record levels in 2021. An investigation by Delfi Estonia, Re:Baltica and the Belarusian Investigative Center shines a light on how the trade, initiated by an oligarch nicknamed «Lukashenka’s energy wallet», has been set up. For full text, click here.
SANCTIONS: LITHUANIA REJECTS POTASH TRANSIT FROM BELARUS
Lithuanian Railways rejected the applications of three Belarusian companies to take over the transport of Belaruskali potash fertilizers to the Lithuanian port in Klaipeda. The move is made after the Lithuanian government ruled that the agreement between Lithuanian Railways and Belaruskali did not meet the interests of national security. The applications were sent by Belintertrans, Belkali MIGAO, as well as the Belarusian Potash Company, a subsidiary of Belaruskali.
On 28 January, Belaruskali has also filed a complaint in the Vilnius Regional Administrative Court to challenge the decision of the Lithuanian government to terminate a long-term contract for the transportation of fertilizers under which the Belarusian manufacturer supplied 11 million tons of potash per year.
The transit of Belarusian potash through Lithuania is supposed to stop on 1 February, 2022 when the decision of the Lithuanian government to recognize it a national security threat comes into effect.
POLAND CONSTRUCTS A WALL ALONG ITS BORDER WITH BELARUS
Poland started the construction of a 180 kilometres-long wall along the border with Belarus. The wall is 5.5-meter-high and will cost USD 400 million. “The Belarusian side is ready to do anything when it comes to provocations, so we have to be ready for any kind of event,” said Arkadiusz Tomaszewski, deputy commander of the Border Guard in Kuznica, where clashes took place in November last year. The structure is due to be completed in June and will cover almost half the total length of the Belarusian-Polish border.
Lithuania, in turn, is planning to install surveillance cameras along the entire length of its border with Belarus, Prime Minister Ingrida Simonyte said on 28 January. The project will cost about USD 45 million.
LUKASHENKA'S PUBLIC ADDRESS
On 28 January Lukashenka (who acts in private, and not official capacity) delivered a somewhat «program address» to the Belarusian people and the National Assembly. A large part of his speech which lasted 3 hours and 40 minutes was devoted to a potential war in the region.
Among others, Lukashenka has reaffirmed that Belarus will fight alongside Russia if Russia is attacked. He also added that if Belarus faces an aggression, “there will be hundreds of thousands of Russian soldiers here, who will defend this sacred land together with hundreds of thousands of Belarusians.”
Lukashenka also promised to destroy Lithuanian statehood if it wages the war against Belarus: “God forbid you start a war together with the other Baltic states — it will be the end of your statehood and development”. Speaking of the Ukrainian crisis, Lukashenka promised to “bring our Ukraine back into the fold of our Slavism”. In the last few weeks Lukashenka and his propaganda are explicitly targeting Ukraine and teasing its political leadership.
As for Poland, Lukashenka has seriously revised the number of victims of the migration crisis. He claimed that Polish border guards “killed and buried hundreds of thousands of migrants” at the Belarusian border. Lukashenka also claimed that Polish border guards have been given an order to capture a Belarusian border guard in order to exchange him for Polish deserter Emil Czeczko. He said he did not agree to such an exchange and gave orders to shoot to kill if the Poles made such an attempt. No proofs have ever been provided on that matter and local media detected numerous fake statements in Lukashenka’s standup show.