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Russia is using "soft power" to occupy Belarus


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

Currently, Russia is attempting to occupy Ukrainian territories through military means. However, there are also non-military methods of seizing territories and even entire states. In the case of Belarus, Russia is employing precisely these methods.

One of the official instruments of Russian "soft power" has become the organization known as "Rossotrudnichestvo." This structure is the Federal Agency for International Humanitarian Cooperation and was created to implement Russia's policy by promoting the ideas of the "Russian world" abroad, including in Belarus.

Rossotrudnichestvo is a government body that serves as the primary driver for promoting the Kremlin's hybrid influence. It has representative offices in 134 countries around the world, and personnel from the FSB and SVR work within Rossotrudnichestvo.

For many years, “Rossotrudnichestvo” has acted as an umbrella organization for a network of Russian influence agents. It also provides funding for various public diplomacy and propaganda projects, consolidating the activities of pro-Russian actors and spreading Kremlin narratives.

The actions of “Rossotrudnichestvo” in numerous countries are viewed as dangerous, posing a threat to national interests and security.

On April 2, 2024, the fourth representative office of “Rossotrudnichestvo” in Belarus, known as the "Russian House," was established. "Russian Houses" are also operational in Minsk, Brest, and Gomel. The illegitimate authorities of Belarus fully support these "Russian Houses," while they have nothing to offer instead of those.

While representatives of civil society in Belarus face repression and are forced underground, engaging in any activity that could lead to imprisonment, pro-Russian figures receive significant financial support from “Rossotrudnichestvo”, relative to local standards.

Lukashenko, having been saved by Russia in 2020, continues to express gratitude to the "Russian world" and allows Russia to exert its influence over Belarus through "soft power" methods. Representatives of the "Russian world" infiltrate all spheres of Belarusian society, seizing leading positions. They work towards eradicating Belarusian identity, imposing their own rules, and promoting the “Russian world” ideology.

Through the activities of “Rossotrudnichestvo” in Belarus, Russia and its "Russian World" aim to present themselves to Belarusians "not as a goal, but as a method," based on three pillars: "cooperation, security, and sovereignty."

Under the guise of "cooperation," they seek to exert control and influence over Belarus. By exploiting the concept of "security," they have dragged Belarus into a war against Ukraine, posing a genuine threat to the lives of the entire Belarusian population. And by manipulating the notion of "sovereignty," they are stripping Belarus of its basic state independence. This represents a non-military, gradual absorption of Belarus using the "soft power" method.

Lukashenko and his associates actively contribute to all of this. Lukashenko has committed and continues to commit these criminal actions against the Belarusian people and the nation solely to maintain his own power.

Russia is occupying Belarus using “soft power”

Today Russia is trying to occupy Ukrainian territories through military means. But there are also non-military methods of seizing territories and even entire states. In relation to Belarus, Russia acts using exactly these methods.

One of the official instruments of Russian “soft power” has become the so-called. "Rossotrudnichestvo". This structure is the Federal Agency for International Humanitarian Cooperation and was created to implement Russia’s policy through the introduction of the ideas of the “Russian world” abroad, including in Belarus.

This is a government body that is the main engine for promoting the Kremlin’s hybrid influence. Its representative offices are located in 134 countries around the world, and personnel employees of the FSB and SVR work “under the roof” of Rossotrudnichestvo.

For many years, Rossotrudnichestvo has acted as an umbrella organization for a network of Russian influence agents, and also finances various public diplomacy and propaganda projects, consolidating the activities of pro-Russian actors and spreading Kremlin narratives.

The actions of Rossotrudnichestvo in many countries of the world are assessed as dangerous, creating a threat to national interests and national security.

On April 2, 2024, the so-called "Russian house". It became the fourth representative office of Rossotrudnichestvo in Belarus. “Russian Houses” also operate in Minsk, Brest and Gomel. The illegitimate authorities of Belarus give carte blanche to the “Russian Houses”, in contrast to which they have nothing to offer.

While representatives of civil society in Belarus are being repressed and driven underground, and any activity threatens them with prison, pro-Russian figures have inexhaustible financial support from Rossotrudnichestvo by local standards.

Lukashenko fully thanked for his salvation in 2020 and continues to thank the “Russian world”, allowing Russia to take over Belarus with Russian “soft power”. Representatives of the “Russian world” penetrate into all spheres of activity of Belarusian society. And they not only penetrate, but also seize leading positions, work to eliminate the Belarusian identity, dictate their own rules and impose Russian-world ideology.

Russia and its “Russian World,” through the activities of Rossotrudnichestvo in Belarus, are trying to present themselves to Belarusians “not as a goal, but as a method,” based on three pillars: “cooperation, security and sovereignty.”

Under “cooperation” they are implementing a banal takeover under their leadership and influence over the whole of Belarus. By speculating on “security,” they dragged Belarus into a war against Ukraine and created a real threat to the lives of the entire population of our country. By speculating on “sovereignty” they are depriving Belarus of elementary state independence. This is the non-military gradual absorption of Belarus using the “soft power” method.

And Lukashenko and his associates contribute to all this. Lukashenko did and continues to do all these criminal actions against the Belarusian people and against Belarus only for the sake of maintaining his own power.

 

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