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Old 26.08.2020, 16:50
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Belarus 2020

There is a European nation forced into an authoritarian state, but the Europe seems unwilling to sacrifice much to help Belarusian people.

NZZ: Von der Ost- zur Frostpolitik: Warum Merkel in Weissrussland vorsichtig agiert (one article free after registration)
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Merkel hatte am Montag im CDU-Vorstand von der Notwendigkeit einer «klugen» Vorgehensweise in Weissrussland gesprochen. Das mag ein Handeln im Fahrwasser der EU sein. Vor allem aber hat sie dabei die strategischen und ökonomischen Interessen Deutschlands im Blick: Berlin muss für Freiheit und Demokratie in Minsk auftreten, ohne Moskau dabei allzu fest auf die Füsse zu treten. Denn Deutschland ist beispielsweise Partner Russlands bei der in den weltpolitischen Fokus geratenen Pipeline Nord Stream 2. Deutschland leidet zudem schon jetzt am meisten unter den ab 2014 Moskau sukzessive auferlegten Wirtschaftssanktionen.
An example of how the things are being directly run from Moscow:
After Belarusian Journalists Quit State TV, Russians Fill The Void
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Old 26.08.2020, 20:02
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Re: Belarus 2020

Because "the West" knows that Russia will take a dim view on a colour revolution in Belarus with the danger that a westernized Belarus will join Nato.
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Old 26.08.2020, 23:39
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Re: Belarus 2020

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Because "the West" knows that Russia will take a dim view on a colour revolution in Belarus with the danger that a westernized Belarus will join Nato.
So, it is better to have Russia even closer instead?
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Old 26.08.2020, 23:42
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Re: Belarus 2020

I don't think it makes much difference for EU, as Belarus is fully dependent from Russia at the moment.
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Old 26.08.2020, 23:48
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Re: Belarus 2020

But it matters for the people there, here is a video of how the detained of the human chain are beaten:
video:

article (please use https://deepl.com or Google translate):
https://wyborcza.pl/7,75399,26243367...C-B.2-L.3.maly
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Old 27.08.2020, 00:24
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Re: Belarus 2020

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There is a European nation forced into an authoritarian state, but the Europe seems unwilling to sacrifice much to help Belarusian people.

NZZ: Von der Ost- zur Frostpolitik: Warum Merkel in Weissrussland vorsichtig agiert (one article free after registration)

An example of how the things are being directly run from Moscow:
After Belarusian Journalists Quit State TV, Russians Fill The Void
after the mess they made with Ukraine, it's probably better that they do nothing
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Old 27.08.2020, 00:35
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Re: Belarus 2020

Situation with Ukraine was different. Ukraine solved it's internal problems itself by changing the government from pro-Russian to pro-European. They only needed help from the West to deal with Russia's invasion and, IMHO, they really helped because without involvement of the western countries the situation in Ukraine might be much worse right now. But Ukrainian president was very good in negotiations with western countries, he literally saved the country from Russia.
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Old 27.08.2020, 00:43
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Re: Belarus 2020

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Situation with Ukraine was different. Ukraine solved it's internal problems itself by changing the government from pro-Russian to pro-European. They only needed help from the West to deal with Russia's invasion and, IMHO, they really helped because without involvement of the western countries the situation in Ukraine might be much worse right now. But Ukrainian president was very good in negotiations with western countries, he literally saved the country from Russia.
Ukraine was not really on the Russians radar, I don´t think that cared one shot of Vodka about who is in charge in Kiew, the Crimea however is another matter and somehow I get the impression that Putin would have gone nuclear if Russia were in danger of the Crimea going to the west.
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Old 27.08.2020, 10:37
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Re: Belarus 2020

A regime fall in Belarus could be seen from Kremlin as a precedent for Russians (a speculation why Alexei Navalny Wikipedia reference-linkAlexei_Navalny has been poisoned).

At the moment, there are not any demands in the Belarusian political opposition and protesters to break their economic ties with Russia or any other geo-political realignments. And also in the West nobody mentions these at all.

Russia wants to incorporate Belarus fully, it used to support it more in per capita terms than EU supported the Central/East European countries (by providing largely discounted oil and gas, which allowed Belarus to manufacture fertilisers and sell them abroad for regular prices).

For the Western Europe at this moment there is a possibility of a leverage of economic sanctions on Russia but nothing real is done (except for sheepish lip service).
Now, with the oil prices low and LPG availability it is much easier for Europe to do.
Russia has already been hit by sanctions imposed for the war in Eastern Ukraine - it is still a zone where people die and lawlessness rules, and the two separatist republics there in stalemate ruled like mafia states with impoverished population of in total almost 4 million people.
But if Europe couldn't sanction Russia even after its support to Syrian regime- that makes even more refugees - but Italy is most strongly against the sanctions on Russia within EU - one can see that the big business' ties with Russia hijack the EU politics even if the cause of Russian actions is directly seen at country's shores.

RFERL: Beatings, Rape Threats, And Searching For The Missing In Belarus
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Old 27.08.2020, 11:16
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Re: Belarus 2020

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after the mess they made with Ukraine, it's probably better that they do nothing

Yes, I wish that the west would just stop interfering and expanding NATO to Russia's borders despite past assurances not to do so.
Also because every single time the west (i.e. US and its coalition of the willing) interfers, it ends in disaster. They are really not competent for that sort of thing.

And I get it, I really do: there's a lot of bad history between Russia and it's neighbours which explains for example the downright paranoia of the Polish.
But international stability is far more important to me than any of Russia's neighbours.
Let's just stay neutral and let that lot work it out.
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Old 27.08.2020, 11:39
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Re: Belarus 2020

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There is a European nation forced into an authoritarian state, but the Europe seems unwilling to sacrifice much to help Belarusian people.
This sentence strikes me as incorrect.
Should be <<There is a European nation forced into an authoritarian state, but the EU seems unwilling to sacrifice much to help Belarusian people>>
One is the continent Belarus is situated in, the other is a political union (of which Belarus is not part of).

Seems the EU didn't do nothing.
What exactly do you want the EU to do/sacrifice at this point?
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Old 27.08.2020, 11:51
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Re: Belarus 2020

Unless you invade Belarus or organize a coup there's not much that can be "done" from the outside to really change the situation, and EU is definitely not inclined to go in that direction - and probably would not even have the full capability to do so effectively.

Not to mention that these actions usually backfire at some point - see the recent history of Iran and the US.

I see a situation in Belarus similar to that of Hong Kong...
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Old 27.08.2020, 11:55
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Re: Belarus 2020

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What exactly do you want the EU to do/sacrifice at this point?
This sentence strikes me as incorrect.

He wrote Europe and not EU. There is a massive difference.

Switzerland, for example, is in Europe. What has Switzerland done to help?
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Old 27.08.2020, 12:14
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Re: Belarus 2020

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Yes, I wish that the west would just stop interfering and expanding NATO to Russia's borders despite past assurances not to do so.
Also because every single time the west (i.e. US and its coalition of the willing) interfers, it ends in disaster. They are really not competent for that sort of thing.

And I get it, I really do: there's a lot of bad history between Russia and it's neighbours which explains for example the downright paranoia of the Polish.
But international stability is far more important to me than any of Russia's neighbours.
Let's just stay neutral and let that lot work it out.
Nato expansion is in a nutshell the root of the whole problem, Russia feels threatened by increasingly aggressive former east bloc states, especially a powerful Poland under nato protection, remember the Polish-Russian wars of the 18th, 19th to mid 20th century. So Russia has cause to mistrust any nato expansion, on the other hand there is the treaty of Paris, where Gorbachev signed the agreement that sovereign nations were free to choose their own security agreements.
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Old 27.08.2020, 12:18
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Re: Belarus 2020

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Ukraine was not really on the Russians radar,
...........
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Old 27.08.2020, 13:29
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Re: Belarus 2020

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Nato expansion is in a nutshell the root of the whole problem, Russia feels threatened by increasingly aggressive former east bloc states, especially a powerful Poland under nato protection, remember the Polish-Russian wars of the 18th, 19th to mid 20th century. So Russia has cause to mistrust any nato expansion, on the other hand there is the treaty of Paris, where Gorbachev signed the agreement that sovereign nations were free to choose their own security agreements.
This as far from understanding the strengths and stance of the Eastern European countries towards Russia as it gets.
The military capability of "powerful Poland" is a fraction of Russia - in 2018 it was 11B vs 60B USD. And then Russia has not only a lot "dark" budget apportioned to the military as well, but the capacity to manufacture all the modern weapons while Poland is closer to a 3rd world country (in the capacity of its military industry)and any advanced hardware has to be sourced from elsewhere. That alone should explain everything. Ditto for the Balkan republics. Besides, there is a difference between a nationalistic propaganda soaked country with the purpose of popular support to any "patriotic" conquest and a run of the mill peaceful society which main preoccupation is healthcare of pensions and politicians try to sell these to the voters and not conquest of an even poorer country :-)

This "Russia has to oppose NATO" doesn't really make any sense. NATO was "braindead" until very recently Russia did more aggressive moves. The NATO protection of Poland and Baltic republics is a total joke militarily, it took months to even let some US soldiers to clear beaurocratic barriers to take part in some joint exercises. There are no soldiers, no weapon storages, no defence systems in place. There is simply no any possibility to react. What stops Russia is hopefully the reasoning that they would not gain that much but would loose their only real allies in the struggle with China. (they may posture as China would be their partner but in reality and long term they'd doomed and they know that very well)


That's why Sweden got some cold sweat and started talking anout bringing their military back to shape when they realized Trump's threats might be real.

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Old 27.08.2020, 14:16
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Re: Belarus 2020

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This as far from understanding the strengths and stance of the Eastern European countries towards Russia as it gets.
The military capability of "powerful Poland" is a fraction of Russia - in 2018 it was 11B vs 60B USD. And then Russia has not only a lot "dark" budget apportioned to the military as well, but the capacity to manufacture all the modern weapons while Poland is closer to a 3rd world country (in the capacity of its military industry)and any advanced hardware has to be sourced from elsewhere. That alone should explain everything. Ditto for the Balkan republics. Besides, there is a difference between a nationalistic propaganda soaked country with the purpose of popular support to any "patriotic" conquest and a run of the mill peaceful society which main preoccupation is healthcare of pensions and politicians try to sell these to the voters and not conquest of an even poorer country :-)

This "Russia has to oppose NATO" doesn't really make any sense. NATO was "braindead" until very recently Russia did more aggressive moves. The NATO protection of Poland and Baltic republics is a total joke militarily, it took months to even let some US soldiers to clear beaurocratic barriers to take part in some joint exercises. There are no soldiers, no weapon storages, no defence systems in place. There is simply no any possibility to react. What stops Russia is hopefully the reasoning that they would not gain that much but would loose their only real allies in the struggle with China. (they may posture as China would be their partner but in reality and long term they'd doomed and they know that very well)


That's why Sweden got some cold sweat and started talking anout bringing their military back to shape when they realized Trump's threats might be real.

I don't agree that Russia started this by making particularly agressive or unreasonable moves.

Western interests had been coveting Ukraine and Georgia for years. Not because they really care about the health and happiness of either country, but because they want to restrict Russia's access to the Black Sea and therefore to the Mediterranean. Crimea is of course the prize with its naval port. To ensure its security, Russia took back Crimea in a fashion far more legitimate than the partitioning of Serbia. I'm cool with that and I'm also convinced that it decreased the probability of a major conflagration.


In terms of reaction time, I think that you're looking at this from the wrong angle. NATO deployments on Russia's borders reduce possible reaction times to almost nothing. Which means that few options are left besides a massive, preventive strike against NATO forces in eastern and central Europe.


My view: take NATO and its political extension called the EU out of that neighbourhood and let the relevant countries work it out so that the rest of us can sleep better. (Not necessary to say, but I am a bit of a slavophile BTW so I do wish them all the best.) Russia has every interest in establishing peaceful commercial relations with its neighbours and to try to paint it as today's agressor is a manipulation if you ask me.



Also, Russia has made some very smart investments in military technology recently and I wouldn't call their bluff.
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Old 27.08.2020, 14:38
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Re: Belarus 2020

Grow up. Realpolitik never died and is probably more alive today than at any point in the past 50 years at least. The push of NATO towards the borders of Russia was always going to keep Russia nervous, the small countries around Russia basically have never had and never will have the freedom to chose to which alliance they will belong.

Same story in Bulgaria right now - 50 days of continuous protests against a highly corrupt government not reflected in Western media simply because the EU actually likes the Bulgarian prime-minister simply because compared to Orban and Putin he seems like a good guy and Frau Merkel doesn't want to distort that story. Realpolitik again
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Old 27.08.2020, 15:03
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Re: Belarus 2020

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I don't agree that Russia started this by making particularly agressive or unreasonable moves.

Western interests had been coveting Ukraine and Georgia for years. Not because they really care about the health and happiness of either country, but because they want to restrict Russia's access to the Black Sea and therefore to the Mediterranean. Crimea is of course the prize with its naval port. To ensure its security, Russia took back Crimea in a fashion far more legitimate than the partitioning of Serbia. I'm cool with that and I'm also convinced that it decreased the probability of a major conflagration.
Russia already had a Novorossiysk naval base there and the Blask Sea fleet.
Crimea was important for other reasons and could have been probably transferred to Russia in a different way. A suspected plan was that the Ukraine could be cut off from the Black Sea.

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In terms of reaction time, I think that you're looking at this from the wrong angle. NATO deployments on Russia's borders reduce possible reaction times to almost nothing. Which means that few options are left besides a massive, preventive strike against NATO forces in eastern and central Europe.
There are no NATO deployments on Russia's border. NATO has so called rotational presence, altogether about 4k of military and civilian, but no any deployed high tech anti access/area denial gear. The NATO "presence" there is a token only.

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My view: take NATO and its political extension called the EU out of that neighbourhood and let the relevant countries work it out so that the rest of us can sleep better. (Not necessary to say, but I am a bit of a slavophile BTW so I do wish them all the best.) Russia has every interest in establishing peaceful commercial relations with its neighbours and to try to paint it as today's agressor is a manipulation if you ask me.
That's like saying that each of China's neighbours to deal with it separately, because if they ally together it would work worse. Interesting novel idea :-)

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Also, Russia has made some very smart investments in military technology recently and I wouldn't call their bluff.
Turkey as well, and they even got to test their stuff against Russian's :-)
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Old 27.08.2020, 15:18
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Re: Belarus 2020

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This sentence strikes me as incorrect.

He wrote Europe and not EU. There is a massive difference.

Switzerland, for example, is in Europe. What has Switzerland done to help?

At least not congratulating the guy for winning the election
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