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Latushka answered Lukashenko

Pavel Latushka: Deputy Head of the United Transitional Cabinet of Belarus, Head of the National Anti-Crisis Management, Ambassador

On the eve of the so-called "single day" of appointing MPs at all levels of the Soviets, excuse me, all levels of government, Lukashenko has once again decided to find enemies. But this paranoia practically always consumes Lukashenko, always before every election campaign. This time, the dictator spoke about the enemies during a meeting with representatives of the so-called law enforcement agencies. However, he did not have a map with positions showing an alleged attack on Belarus being prepared, so he decided to discuss other topics. For example, he talked about scenarios of a change of power in the country. What did Lukashenko say this time?

Lukashenko: “What are the completely absurd and illegal sanctions, the large-scale militarization, and the demonstrative flexing of muscles, including military activities near our borders? What are their reasons for doing this? Who threatens them? And when in history have we ever threatened anyone? What reasons are there? Who threatens them? When a person who has been involved in a series of crimes tries to talk about legality, it appears especially ridiculous and blasphemous. We have 136 thousand victims of crimes against humanity, and this is only until May 2023. These crimes include murder, torture, forced disappearances, rape of women, men, and minors, deaths in prisons, and forced deportation. These are the most serious crimes that are prosecuted according to international law. And Lukashenko asks, what are the sanctions for? Perhaps it would be more appropriate to ask why there are so few sanctions? Or why has he not been arrested, detained, and brought to justice?”

On February 24, 2022, Lukashenko provided territory of Belarus for the invasion of Ukraine. As a result of this invasion, genocide occurred in Bucha, Gostomel, and Irpen. The Russian army was stationed near Kiev, and about 800 rockets were launched from the territory of Belarus. How many children and women died because Lukashenko became the aggressor in this war? And he speaks about militarization and demonstrations of force? Claiming that he does not threaten anyone?

He initiated mass repressions against Belarusians. Dozens of Belarusians lost their lives because of Lukashenko. He has imprisoned thousands of people. He hijacked a civilian plane, orchestrated an artificial migration crisis, provided territory for aggression, and deployed tactical nuclear weapons on Belarusian soil. And he claims he does not threaten anyone? Who is this thesis addressed to?

Let's also add that in the autumn of last year, the so-called First Deputy State Secretary of the Security Council, Pavel Muravejko, commented on the sanctions from the Baltic countries, saying: “From a simple logic standpoint, we have every reason to forcibly sever a vital corridor for us.”

To sever the Baltic Sea? To forcefully break through the corridor... In essence, it was a threat of military invasion against a neighboring country. Wasn't this statement by the Deputy State Secretary of the Security Council a direct threat to a NATO country? How should neighboring countries react to such statements? Especially considering that Lukashenko's regime has already assisted in Russia's invasion of Ukraine, and military exercises with Russia regularly and permanently take place in Belarus, not to mention Lukashenko's deployment of nuclear weapons in the country?

Lukashenko: “The next task is for all law enforcement agencies, primarily the Ministry of Internal Affairs and the Ministry of Emergency Situations. People must feel safe at home, at work, and on the streets at all times of the day. I want to emphasize that the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the KGB, special services, and the prosecutor's office must take control of this. I am warning you, our personnel must patrol the streets. [...]. They used to patrol without weapons - that's how it was. But now, patrols must be equipped with firearms, at least pistols, and everyone should be aware of this.”

I asked one of the officers from the Ministry of Internal Affairs if patrols used to carry weapons before, and the answer was affirmative. Lukashenko is simply creating another lie. He is attempting to once again threaten Belarusians, to intimidate them with weapons. Lukashenko continues to reinforce his security forces. He is signaling that they have the authority to use force against civilians. Essentially, it is an indulgence for murder. And why does he do this? Because Belarusians are stronger than him, because he fears us, he fears both us and the Belarusian people.

As a result of the actions of the security forces - including murders, illegal arrests and detentions that lead to suicide - dozens of Belarusians have lost their lives since 2020. Once again, people are dying due to the direct actions of those who are supposed to enforce the law, and these deaths continue. So, what kind of security does Lukashenko speak of when he mentions security forces? Who among the Belarusians feels a "strengthening" of their sense of security when security forces are present nearby?

Perhaps Lukashenko himself feels this security when he is surrounded by security forces? The answer to this question is obvious and lies on the surface: by bolstering the power apparatus, he seeks to maintain his grip on power. This is his way of protecting himself from the Belarusians who have clearly expressed their discontent to the dictator - enough is enough! However, by inflating the power apparatus, Lukashenko is digging himself into a hole because the weapon with which he actively prods his security forces, making them dependent, the same weapon that he directs against Belarusians, may eventually turn against him.

It is important to understand this: no leader in the world increases the size of their power apparatus or oversaturates it with weapons when they have no issues with support, when they haven't committed crimes, and when they have no problems with legitimacy. However, for some reason, this is a frequently occurring symptom among dictators who have held power for more than a decade. For some reason, they want to secure immunity in advance, just in case they are no longer in power. But why, if they haven't committed any crimes? 

We want to disappoint Lukashenko. Business does not thrive under the barrel of machine guns, IT specialists do not work under the control of security forces, and innovations are not born under the watch of "patrols." The presence of thugs on the streets, whom Lukashenko inexplicably refers to as law enforcement officers, does not motivate highly skilled professionals who make significant contributions to the economy by paying taxes to remain in Belarus. And most importantly, patrols do not solve the problem of garnering support.

Lukashenko: “Now you will understand. I mentioned scenarios, and there are three of them - how they interpret it. The first scenario, which is most desirable for them, involves organizing a coup d'état or a violent seizure of power directly during the election campaigns.”

And that's quite interesting. Lukashenko himself described what he himself did in 2020. In fact, Lukashenko carried out a violent seizure of power during the election campaign. There is nothing new here: it is one of the regime's favorite propaganda techniques to accuse opponents of the very actions in which you are deeply involved, to initiate a "preemptive strike." The shoe is on the other foot.

Lukashenko talks about three scenarios. But perhaps there is a fourth scenario? And I must disappoint Lukashenko: he did not guess the script.

Lukashenko: “At the same time, Warsaw is attempting to recruit high-ranking Belarusian officials who will be able to replace our quiet and lazy people. They understand that they are incapable of overturning Belarus, incapable of implementing any revolution scenario or launching an armed invasion here in Belarus. We are closely monitoring this process and observing their approaches to leaders in both the military and civil spheres in Belarus. They will search for and create new figures who are loyal to the West and more effective. They will employ all methods, from simple bribery and blackmail to threats against the lives and well-being of you, us, and your relatives and friends.”

And that's interesting. We didn't even conceal this project; it was completely public. Information about it was available through various channels, including the United Transitional Cabinet and the National Anti-Crisis Management. There is even a special Telegram channel called "Personnel Reserve." The democratic forces of Belarus are genuinely implementing the project called "Personnel Reserve for New Belarus." We need honest officials, and Belarusians need honest officials who will support statehood — officials who currently work within the system, prioritize the preservation of our country, and have not committed any crimes.

We have no intention of "hanging anyone on poles," as Lukashenko frequently suggests. It is he who commits crimes and treats Belarusians in that manner. The most important thing, and this is an appeal to officials, is to abstain from committing crimes. The crucial point is to avoid staining your hands with blood, and then you will be in demand in New Belarus. Lukashenko is afraid of our project because representatives of the state government are involved in it. However, I will disappoint his special services: they have failed to obtain data on the project participants, and they will not receive it.

The West does not seek loyal officials, but we, the Belarusian people, need officials who will support independence, sovereignty, human rights, freedom, and democracy. We are actively working on this, not Lukashenko's special services.

Lukashenko: “You know what is concealed beneath the wording of the upcoming NATO and US armed forces exercises, "Defender-2024." You are aware of what it means for us that these exercises will take place in the Baltic countries, Germany, and Poland. According to the information we have received, approximately 90,000 military personnel from 32 member countries and alliance partners will be present on our doorstep. They will be practicing strategies to counter an attempt of Russian aggression, which essentially means against us, targeting one of the alliance's member countries. Listen, it's complete nonsense that Russia is preparing to attack the Baltic countries.”

Let's recall how Russia "wasn't preparing" to attack Ukraine. Everyone has learned from the bitter experience of 2022 and acknowledges that anything can be expected from Russia and Lukashenko's dictatorship. I worked as a diplomat in Europe for 16 years, and I have now been living in Poland for 3.5 years. However, neither in private conversations with ordinary citizens of European countries nor from politicians did I ever hear even a hint that anyone desires to attack Belarusian territory and seize land. Do you know what Europeans dream of? They dream of having children, building homes, traveling, developing, and resting. But capturing someone's territory is not their aspiration.

Lukashenko's meeting is another example of how the dictator attempts to shape an agenda and transfer his distorted ideas to others. Why does he do this? He needs to create an image of the enemy in order to consolidate his electorate under this fabricated image. To achieve this, he increases defense spending and strengthens the power apparatus. This is solely aimed at preserving his power. In fact, Lukashenko's actions are preparations for provocations and acts of sabotage against neighboring countries. He is laying the groundwork for subsequent aggressive actions through information and propaganda. We are well aware that this has already occurred in 2022 and continues to happen today.

Therefore, whenever we listen to Lukashenko's words, we must always keep in mind that it is propaganda solely intended to maintain his power. Lukashenko is the biggest liar that Belarus has ever known in its history.



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