Belarusians Demand Lukashenka Resign
Russian political scientist – on the persecution of opponents of the Belarusian government and the criminal nature of the regime of Alexander Lukashenko
At the Deputy Dean of the Faculty of World Economy and Politics, National Research University Higher School of Economics Andrey Suzdaltsev there is no doubt about the authenticity of the audio recording of the conversation of April 11, 2012, published by the EUobserver, in which the then head of the KGB of Belarus Vadim Zaitsev discusses the plans of the special services to eliminate the opponents of the authorities on the orders of Alexander Lukashenko.
The speech on tape, which Igor Makar, a former employee of the Belarusian special services, intends to present to Ukrainian investigators, was about journalist Pavel Sheremet, the former head of SIZO No. 1 in Minsk Oleg Alkaev, the former commander of the 5th separate brigade of special forces Vladimir Borodach, the former head of the anti-corruption department in state authorities at the central office of the Ministry of Internal Affairs Vyacheslav Dudkin. Recall that journalist Pavel Sheremet was blown up on July 20, 2016 in a car in the center of Kiev.
Andrei Suzdaltsev, a Russian citizen expelled from Belarus in 2006 for critical publications about the situation in the country, was not at all surprised that his name was mentioned in «execution lists» enemies of Lukashenka. According to the political scientist, the head of the Belarusian regime is ready to give such instructions even today, including in relation to the citizens of Russia..
Andrey Suzdaltsev spoke about this and not only in an exclusive interview with the Russian Service «Voices of America».
Victor Vladimirov: How did you perceive the release of the resonant audio recording?
Andrey Suzdaltsev: This is just the tip of the iceberg. Recall that the disappearances of Belarusian politicians that happened more than 20 years ago (ex-CEC chairman Viktor Gonchar, ex-Interior Minister Yuri Zakharenko, businessman Anatoly Krasovsky and others) have not yet been disclosed. – V.V.). There is still a mass of unsolved crimes that we do not really know about. People in the republic disappeared without a trace. In general, it was not in vain that they started talking about the existence in Belarus «death squads». And worst of all, this Pinochet practice, which is characteristic of similar regimes of the fascist type, where political opponents are deliberately destroyed, has not gone anywhere. Fascism grows out of primitive decisions. A person interferes, so he must be removed. Considering the very essence of Lukashenka, and I have been dealing with him for a long time, more than a quarter of a century, this kind of thinking is typical for him. It’s his style.
V.V.: How reliable do you think the recording is?
A.S.: I think one hundred percent. First, people (correspondent «Novaya Gazeta» in Minsk Irina Khalip and her husband, former presidential candidate of Belarus and political prisoner Andrei Sannikov – V.V.), who personally know Vadim Zaitsev (the head of the KGB of that time – V.V.), reported that they recognized his voice. Secondly, the publication that posted the audio recording first gave the tape for examination, it was checked. And this is just the beginning, there are also records that concern, among other things, the explosion in the metro (in Minsk) in 2011. To be continued. Moreover, I would not be surprised that Lukashenka is still capable of giving orders to destroy someone who irritates him. It’s not only about emigrants, but also about the murder of Russian citizens on the territory of Russia.
V.V.: As we know from the media, you also got into «firing list». Do you have an idea why?
A.S.: I have devoted many years to fighting this regime. And I think, as a Russian citizen, that he is dangerous not only for the Belarusian people, but also for Russia. This is a typically totalitarian regime that does not shy away from anything, including the most bloody, savage provocations. For 25 years I have devoted many articles to Lukashenka. No wonder he repeatedly mentioned me by my last name. This is extremely rare. I felt a constant threat. Some Belarusian experts, who are on the side of Lukashenka, publicly called for the murder of Suzdaltsev, stuffing him in the trunk and bringing him to Minsk, and so on. Then, however, this did not prevent them from coming to Moscow and performing on various TV channels … So this is practically state terrorism in action. The matter is aggravated by the fact that Lukashenka is now in an impasse. Whatever happens with street protests, he understands very well that he has no support among the population. But it is also clear that, having such a supply of negativity and so many skeletons in the closet, he cannot leave power..
V.V.: Otherwise you will have to pay for everything?
A.S.: Naturally, not only to Lukashenka himself, but also to those close to him. People who are doomed have gathered around him. This is a real gang of assassins, but «Godfather», of course, Lukashenka, no one will lift a finger without his instructions.
V.V.: And you are not surprised by the lack of a proper reaction in Russia to the content of the resonant film, especially in the context of the threat to the lives of Russian citizens?
A.S.: I suspect that this is happening, perhaps for tactical reasons. Now the All-Belarusian Assembly is being prepared, Lukashenko is trying to rely on this unconstitutional body in order to remain in power for an indefinite period, and no one wants to make harsh statements at this moment. But in this case it is difficult for me to comment on Moscow’s actions. I think it’s just not yet time to put all the accents…
I suppose you still have to take into account that there was a hunt for Russian citizens, and one of them died in Kiev. Now the fate of Lukashenka is largely in the hands of Ukraine. Because if the Ukrainian investigation confirms that Lukashenka ordered the murder of Sheremet, then, of course, the situation will change dramatically, and for Moscow too.
V.V.: How do you assess the situation in Belarus and the prospects for the development of events?
A.S.: Lukashenka is perceived by the Belarusian people as a murderer. And it is clear that there can be no dialogue with him. He is afraid of the spring wave of protests, and he talks about it himself. Therefore, he throws all his strength to stifle any manifestations of discontent at the root. People on the street are already grabbing a sidelong look… But Lukashenka, of course, is doomed. It is impossible to keep an entire country at gunpoint and hold on to power with bayonets.
Lukashenka will not fulfill any agreements with Moscow. Because even his tamed experts said that there were no agreements with Putin in Sochi in September, like that. Let’s backtrack. He insists that the wave of street protests has subsided. All huge forces are thrown for the cleanup, on punitive expeditions against their own people. They burst into apartments, looking for protesters on video footage. They are mopping up the population, intimidating them, forcing them to leave, imprisoning them … Lukashenka does not hide his satisfaction, rubs his hands.
Then the question arises before Moscow, why then… things are good? Although they will not say so publicly. Strange approach – at the level of the 19th century. Constant repression is overwhelming. People overestimate. But this is the spring that they pulled, but it will still bend.
V.V.: Lukashenka’s last interview in which he calls Putin his friend…
A.S.: I would nevertheless take into account here that Moscow usually carries out a multi-tiered approach to any international subject and leaders of states. Here one cannot be guided only by the fact that the TV channel published a very positive interview with him, where Lukashenka acts as “native father” for Russia and the unfortunate victim who is waiting for an attack by Polish tanks (on the republic) … But one must understand that (at Moscow’s disposal) there are other solutions and approaches. I would not pay much attention to this interview. I’ll just give you an example. Russia, given the fact that Lukashenka was in the hands of Russian citizens, whom he could give to Kiev at any moment, nevertheless recognized the results of the presidential vote. Although even Lavrov then said that there were questions about the voting. This immediately caused a stir in Minsk that Lukashenka can (from Moscow) demand absolutely whatever he wants. It turned out not. We counted the debts for a loan taken earlier for gas of $ 1.5 billion, and that’s it. The price of oil and gas has not changed, and Lukashenka has not received any concessions in terms of the economy. Although the rhetoric was supportive. Here we must also understand that Russia has always stood for the processes to be lawful and legitimate. Even political crises need to be resolved by legal means, in a calm manner. Unfortunately, this is no longer possible..
Well a month, two, three, six months…Therefore, Moscow is in limbo here, it is difficult for it to find any solutions…