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Sunday, March 26, 2023

Lukashenka says his opponents can return to their homeland under certain conditions

On February 6, Alexander Lukashenko signed a decree on the creation of a special commission to work with opponents of the regime who wish to return to their homeland. Accepting the report by the country’s attorney general, Andrei Shved, Lukashenka noted that the commission being created will decide whether Belarusian opponents can return to their homeland or not.

“Today I signed a decree, which was prepared by a group of specialists headed by you, on the consideration of applications from Belarusian citizens living abroad on the issue of the commission of offenses by them … If we did not foresee something here in the decree, the Attorney General has enough power to involve the entire state apparatus, officials in order to solve this problem with these fugitives … And we must not just look at the fugitives. Someone will crawl under the plinth – they understand that we will find them anyway,” Lukashenko told Belarusian state media.

However, the main addressees of this declaration – Lukashenka’s political opponents – are in no hurry to repent and admit “mistakes” in order, as the decree puts it, to “consciously and actively fulfill their civic duty” towards the current regime.

The correspondent of the Russian service “media” ​​was convinced of this.

Member of the Presidium of the Coordinating Council, head of the People’s Anti-Crisis Department Pavel Latushko says that Lukashenka offers an “absolutely non-legal instrument”.

“Neither the Criminal Code nor the Code of Criminal Procedure provides for such a procedure. If we are talking about the possibility of creating such a special institution, then we must understand that the Belarusian authorities are illegitimate and it is impossible to believe in their actions…delicts or crimes,” one of the leaders of the the Belarusian opposition. during a conversation with a correspondent of the Russian service media.

Among the main complaints against Lukashenko’s “conciliatory” initiative is the fact that the issue of the limitation period for criminal liability is not really resolved. Today they will forgive you, they will take you on the “hook”, and later, when the statute of limitations still allows it, at any time they can resume the criminal case and bring you to criminal responsibility for the crime of which you have already “repented”.

“As the Attorney General has given his word, he may as well withdraw it. We already knew 7-8 months ago that Lukashenka was developing such a plan. It is somewhat reminiscent of the times of a hundred years ago in 1921-1927 – the operation of the “Trust” Cheka-OGPU. Maybe the message was somewhat different, but the similarity of approaches is obvious,” says Latushko.

Recall that some aspects of the long story mentioned by the Belarusian opponent were described in Lev Nikulin’s novel “Dead Swell”, which was later filmed in the Soviet mini-series “Operation Trust”. Then the Soviet secret service managed to attract a large number of opponents of Soviet power to the territory of the USSR, under the pretext of the need to participate in the work of an anti-Bolshevik organization (which did not actually exist ). Subsequently, they were all suppressed, arrested and shot. By the way, a little later a similar fate awaited many special service employees who organized this provocation.

When asked by a correspondent why Lukashenka decided to create the above commission, Latushko replied: “There are several reasons. First, he felt the exodus of highly qualified professional personnel from Belarus from the IT sector, business, intelligentsia – people who created an important added product to the Belarusian economy. Secondly, Lukashenka announced the so-called “Year of Peace and Accord”, trying to give the impression that he favors the normalization of relations with the majority of society, which to date does not not support. But at the same time, Lukashenka publicly declares that those who repent should become even better than all the “yabats” around him today. It turns out that a person will have to do it publicly, record a video message, actually kneel down, as Lukashenko himself said earlier: “Crawl towards me on your knees. He wants through humiliation to carry out actions linked to his recognition by the majority of Belarusians. For him, this gestalt is not closed, he is still worried that the majority of Belarusians did not support him in 2020, and still do not. But criminal proceedings will come, and there should be no illusions here! “, is convinced the source of the media.

Latushko refers to data from surveys conducted by the Internet portal Zerkalo. According to these studies, only 1% of those who left Belarus after the events of summer-autumn 2020 are ready to return to the country, and another 2% agree to think about it. “And that’s out of 160,000 who took part in this survey. These are the 3% that Lukashenko owns. The vast majority of Belarusians who left do not believe this. We know how Belarusians treat Lukashenko today. He has no faith, and no one will believe him anymore, his train has left, his door has slammed. But at the same time he needs to create an image, and I cannot exclude that there is a group of trained people who can do the required actions for television and return to Belarus, ”says Pavel Latushko.

Vadim Mozheiko, an analyst at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, sees Lukashenka’s appeal to political emigrants as a sign that 2020 has not been “sick” for him. “He says himself that this is an attempt to ‘turn the page’ and move on. But Lukashenka sees this move on his own terms, because the commission of his officials and those responsible for the security, of course, does not inspire confidence. And the format itself is not an attempt to forgive: “well, we’ve been past this a long time, we’ll forget and move on” – on the contrary, c It’s a will to continue the violence by other methods, to punish all those who don’t agree,” underlines Mozheiko.

At the same time, the expert notes that Lukashenka does not understand the mood of the Belarusian diaspora abroad. “As a result, it is unclear to whom these messages are directed. If you believe the state propaganda that all Belarusians who left wash the floors for a penny, freeze, starve, etc., then we can assume that some of them dream of returning to Belarus. But, to put it mildly, that’s not true, and outside the country, the target audience for these calls isn’t particularly visible. But those targeted by state propaganda in both Belarus and Russia may believe that Lukashenko has resolved the political crisis and that everything is in order. And after the end of the work of this “commission”, a couple of people will be filmed in front of the camera, who will ask for forgiveness and repent,” explains the political scientist.

According to him, such initiatives by the Minsk official make political emigrants who left the country after 2020 laugh: “It is clear that there is no trust in this, and anyone can be imprisoned at any time, whatever let a commission say, and no one will complain. And most importantly – what will a person who repents of the regime get? The opportunity to come to Belarus and live there in the conditions of sanctions, economic problems, lack of prospects, without hope for change and in anticipation of a war that could spill over to this country at any time.

The expert himself does not envisage the possibility of returning to his native country in the near future. “Yesterday began the trial of my colleague, political analyst Valeria Kostyugova, who is accused of her professional activities and contacts with opposition politicians. And for that, she risks up to 12 years in prison, which was a signal for the entire community of experts. So if a criminal case can be made for this, then I’m somehow not attracted to the idea of ​​returning to Belarus,” says Vadim Mozheiko.

The head of the Mises Research Center, Yaroslav Romanchuk, recalled that Lukashenko has been constantly discussing the topic of relations with political opponents since the end of 2020, when he managed to retain power in the country after brutal crackdowns.

“He needs repentance, humiliation, ‘rolling under the plinth’ and saying, ‘I’m a hero, I’ve defeated everyone!’ But he sees that Russia is losing this war and sooner or later she will completely lose it, and he certainly wouldn’t want to go to The Hague or another similar place with Putin,” says Romantchouk.

The expert describes the situation in which Lukashenko finds himself as follows: “He understands that if Russia leaves Ukraine, then all these organs of the Union State, which were created as fakes, can have a completely different meaning. Who will then defend Lukashenko? “Yabatki”, and those around him now, certainly will not.”

According to Romanchuk, in this case the calculation was not made on the people who left, but above all on their “nuclear” electorate. And, secondly, for those 35-40% of the country’s citizens who are in the so-called “grey zone” and doubt whether Lukashenko is good or bad? “From the point of view of official propaganda, he did not draw Belarus into direct participation in the war, and that is an achievement. And now he makes such an offer. All this is aimed at consolidating his electorate. Of course, he doesn’t think anyone will come back from abroad in such conditions: “Go humiliate yourself, crawl on your stomach, I can put you in jail”. Naturally, when political processes continue to unfold in Belarus itself, and at the same time he calls on the opposition to return to their homeland, but this is certainly not about mercy, understanding, peace and harmony” , is convinced the analyst.

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