Opinion. Yahor Lebiadok on Russian bombers in the sky over Belarus

Photo from the personal archive of Yahor Lebiadok
4 mins

На русском языке: Мнение. Егор Лебедок о российских бомбардировщиках в небе над Беларусью
На беларускай мове: Меркаванне. Ягор Лебядок пра расійскіх бамбавікоў у небе над Беларуссю

Columnist Yahor Lebiadok in his telegram channel explains what it means for Russian bombers to patrol the sky over Belarus, what NATO has to do with it and what Putin’s role is. Here are his words unchanged.

Yesterday, two Russian Supersonic Bombers Tu-22M3 «by the decision of the Military Department of Belarus …. have completed the tasks of patrolling the airspace of Belarus«. The Ministry of Defense of Belarus notes that «from today, they will be carried out on a regular basis. These are measures to adequately respond to the current situation».

Tu-22M3 hit targets at the Ruzhansky training ground in Belarus on September 23, 2020, when the «Slavic Brotherhood» exercise was transformed from a small tripartite into a serious Russian-Belarusian one. The day before, Russian Tu-160 strategic bombers flew around the western Belarusian border. The next day, as a demonstrative response, the American strategic bomber B-52 (b/n 60-0044) flew through Poland and for the first time (according to open sources) performed an imitation of a missile strike on the territory of Belarus. Let’s see if there is such an «answer» this time.

A year ago, the reformatting of the exercises and the flight of Russian aviation were presented as «Lukashenka’s initiative» and «in response» to the transfer of the American battalion, the strengthening of aviation and air reconnaissance flights along the Belarusian border. The same song sounds today.

The strengthening of the Russian military presence in Belarus (air overflights, the deployment of Russian S-400 and Su-30, etc.) is presented exclusively as an initiative of Lukashenka. This allows to save his face, they say, does not make concessions to Putin under pressure, but initiates himself (such «initiatives» are especially contrasted against the background of his previous statements).

Speaking about the «adequate response», Russian and Belarusian propaganda always doesn’t say in response to what actions begin near the borders, and about the dynamics of their forces there. For example, the deployment of Russian S-400 near Grodno is presented as something within the framework of cooperation, and the movement of Polish air defenses with conventional Kub air defense systems is called preparation for war.

The Tu-22M3 flight should not be associated with a change in the military doctrine of the Union State, the migration crisis, the movement of Polish troops or the strengthening of NATO intelligence. This is a continuation of the expansion of Russia’s military presence in Belarus, which began long before that. These events are only a good information background, which can cover such actions. For Lukashenka, this allows to save face, for Putin – to present outside as an «adequate» measure to protect an ally, but not military expansion.

The transition to a regular basis of flights of Russian strategic aviation over Belarus will lead to the need for NATO actions, which then propaganda will show as hostile and under the sauce of which something else can be placed. Tu-22M3, Tu-160 are capable of carrying nuclear missile and bomb weapons. The obligations of Belarus and the Russian Federation under the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons do not prohibit the deployment of Russian nuclear weapons on the territory of Belarus under the control of the Russian military, as well as the flight of aircraft with nuclear weapons. This factor can be promoted in the pressure on the EU as a rate hike. If Western politicians consult with their military, and not react to such moves purely for political reasons, the threat will not work much. In any case, in such a political course in the current conditions, Lukashenka is not a political entity, the issue will be decided by the EU and the United States with Russia. As with the migrant crisis, Merkel calls Putin, despite the fact that in Russia there is a campaign to distance Putin from Lukashenka’s actions with migrants, yesterday Makei worked on this topic. The actions of the Russian Federation in this regard resemble a policy in the spirit: «Maybe Somosa is a son of a bitch, but this is our son of a bitch».

It’s funny to watch the propaganda in the pro-Lukashenka Telegram channels on this account: what power we have, the zmagary [Belarusian opposition – ed.] will now begin to spin. I do not know where these scribblers grew up, but for normal men, the one who hides behind the protection of his elder brother or someone else strong, taking everyone out and dirty, has always been considered a coward and other epithets. From the same opera: «the haberdist and the cardinal are power!» This is definitely not an indicator of masculinity and pride. I doubt that our security forces, unlike the propagandists, grew up in different conditions so as not to understand this.

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