Following last Sunday’s presidential election in Belarus, one in which the incumbent Lukashenko recorded a resounding victory over opposition candidate Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, the ensuing civil unrest that has since gripped the eastern European nation will no doubt remind onlookers of the Western-backed Maidan protests that took place in Ukraine seven years ago – and what those disturbances resulted in for Minsk’s southern neighbour.
In November 2013, following then-Ukrainian President’s Viktor Yanukovych’s decision to suspend an EU trade deal in favour of Kiev pursuing closer ties with neighbouring Russia, a wave of violent protests would soon sweep the former Soviet state, centring on the capital’s Independence Square (Maidan Nezalezhnosti), in which then-Republican senator and former US Presidential candidate John McCain would give an official speech in support of the anti-government protesters.
By February 2014, the ‘Maidan’ protests, fully supported by both the United States and European Union, would culminate in Yanukovych being removed from office in a coup and his government being replaced with a coalition of Western-backed fascists and far-right sympathisers, including three senior members of the ultranationalist Svoboda party, who’s leader Oleh Tyahnybok had in the past urged Ukrainians to rise in arms against what he termed a ‘Muscovite-Jewish Mafia’.
With anti-Russian sentiment becoming dangerously high amongst the new Western-backed neo-Nazi supporting government of Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine’s ethnic Russian minority was forced to take action, with the predominantly ethnic Russian Donbass region in the East of the country breaking away to form the independent Republics of Donetsk and Luhansk in April 2014, following Crimea’s successful reunification referendum with the Russian Federation the previous month.
The establishment of these two new Republics, however, would draw a brutal response from Kiev, who would go on to use neo-Nazi paramilitaries such as Azov Battalion and Right Sector to wage a bloody war on the fledgeling states; with Kiev receiving the full support of the West in this campaign through the provision of military training and arms sales to Ukrainian forces, resulting in a now six-year-long conflict which has resulted in more than 10,000 deaths.
The similarities of what has occurred in Ukraine over the past seven years, and the situation that is currently playing out in Belarus, are so far, almost a carbon copy; and the motivations for a Western-friendly regime to be installed in Minsk as it was in Kiev, should be blindingly obvious to onlookers.
As Moscow’s sole ally in Europe, Belarus’ strategic geographical location to the west of Russia’s border means that should the government of Alexander Lukashenko be replaced by a regime friendly to or part of the US-NATO hegemony, then the Washington Neocons’ long-time geopolitical ambition of Russia’s western frontier being composed entirely of NATO members or allies would finally be realised, with Belarus’ two northern neighbours, Latvia and Estonia, having become members of the coalition in 2004.
Indeed, Belarus was earmarked for regime change as far back as 2005, when then-US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice labelled it as an ‘outpost of tyranny’ in a similar vein to the ‘Axis of evil’ label attached by the same administration to Iran, Iraq and North Korea.
With many Belarusian industries under state ownership, there is also prime motivation for Western corporate interests to seek a change of government in Minsk to one that would favour privatisation; a common factor amongst previous regime change projects, from the CIA and MI6’s 1953 coup in Iran, in response to Mohammad Mossadegh’s nationalisation of Iranian oil reserves, to the CIA-orchestrated 1973 coup in Chile, which allowed US-based manufacturing firms to gain a foothold in Santiago’s copper industry and telecommunications sector.
With these factors in mind, as well as Belarus’ unique geographical position, it can now only be hoped that the current unrest doesn’t follow the same trajectory as Ukraine in 2013, as such an outcome would surely encourage the Neocons to pursue what is perhaps the biggest, and most dangerous, regime change prize of all – Russia.
Gavin O’Reilly is the Secretary of Dublin Anti-Internment Committee.
Published by American Herald Tribune
Republished by The 21st Century
The views expressed in this article are solely those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of 21cir.
*(Top image: Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Credit: Twitter)