Opinion. Yahor Lebiadok on current events with migrants

Photo from the personal archive of Yahor Lebiadok
4 mins

На русском языке: Мнение. Егор Лебедок о текущих событиях с мигрантами
На беларускай мове: Меркаванне. Ягор Лебядок пра бягучыя падзеі з мігрантамі

Columnist Yahor Lebiadok in his telegram channel published a post about current events with migrants. Here are his words unchanged.

A distinctive feature [of these events] from previous ones is the wide coverage by pro-Lukashenko media and concentration in one large group.

What for? (who needs it is pretty clear):

  • the restoration of centralization and manageability of migrant flows, increasingly fragmented into small groups that are difficult to control, an attempt to create a migrant concentration point for distribution;
  • distraction of attention of the «chain of command» from the inclination of «not-bowing» Lukashenko when signing integration programs with Russia;
  • an attempt to raise the stakes in putting pressure on the EU before considering the next sanctions and to weaken the effect of existing ones;
  • demonstration to its supporters and neutrals of the inhumanity of the enemy (Poland, Lithuania and the EU as a whole), as well as the inhumanity of the actions of the Polish authorities for the EU and the Polish opposition (including such a clear coverage of events by Lukashenko’s people for this purpose);
  • testing the actions of the EU and NATO in case of crisis phenomena (not a paramount point in importance, but it is important for Russia).

Possible course of events and consequences

Massiveness, in my opinion, was more important for the creation of an information event than for breaking the border and crossing everyone. The goal was precisely in the picture at the border (no wonder from the official border crossing, where naive migrants gathered, they were taken to the forest). Such an information event does not live longer than a week, so on Wednesday-Friday you can expect a certain peak of action for the press (demonstrative attempts to pass, dying and crying children, shooting at migrants, etc.). In parallel, relatively small groups will be brought to other parts of the border for their transfer (to Lithuania, to the Brest region), and new groups of migrants will also be held.

I would not expect a military conflict between the border guards of the two countries, which I have spoken about repeatedly, at the current gathering place, because there is too much attention and Polish forces. It is more likely to wait for it in other areas, although such a cluster is fraught with accidents.

So far, it is not clear that the EU has reversed in terms of sanctions. I believe that the EU is gradually getting what they did not learn in their «youth»: you can not make concessions to a bully, otherwise you will have to give in again and even more times. It is rather about strengthening the measures of influence. The key points are the development of sanctions and the reduction of transit opportunities, which automatically includes Russia and other countries, like China, to the solution of the issue (by the way, the channel of the State Border Committee of Belarus has been noting a decrease in the passage of transport at some Polish checkpoints from the norm provided for by bilateral agreements for more than a month).

Perhaps, what is happening, is like the final chord of the whole crisis, i.e. an attempt to create a maximum of information impact, to concentrate everyone in one place and scatter small groups along the border to transfer the final group and prevent the return of migrants to Minsk and the cities of Belarus. Lukashenko cannot just stop the crisis, it will be another inclination of the «not-bowing», and on such a trend, first in the heads, and then perhaps out loud, among his own people will sound «Akela made a mistake». Lukashenko understands this, which makes it difficult to get out of the situation quickly. In such cases, the model of political actions is often used:  bring it to a peak, then transfer the agenda to another resonant topic, and the conflict is smoothly stalled.

This crisis would not have been possible if mass demonstrations of citizens continued in the country – the resources of the security forces, who are now free, were drawn to the border.

Migrants «self-organized into such a large group … to attract the attention of the international community», i.e. held an unauthorized mass event with road closure, deforestation, repeated violation of the legislation on the State Border of the Republic of Belarus without any sanctions from the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the Civil Procedure Code and other bodies. Such actions, or rather such mass coverage of these actions by Lukashenko’s media, is another demonstration that Belarusians are not masters on their land (it is quite understandable what kind of regime demonstrates such actions).

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