NAfter the Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka, against whom a large part of the own population has been taking to the streets for weeks, Vladimir Putin paid his respects in Sochi, there is a discussion in Russia’s social networks about how long the Kremlin will continue to hold the beleaguered long-term ruler Wants to hold power. Political scientist Sergei Markov, loyal to Putin, rejoices on his Facebook page that Lukashenka understood in good time that his rocking course between Russia and the West was a wrong track and that he is now being saved by Russia. In Markov’s eyes, Lukashenka’s visit was a kind of return of the prodigal son and of truly biblical symbolism.
Most commentators are amused by the Belarusian president’s affectionate body language in front of his counterpart. Even Russian governors would not sit so obsequiously in front of Putin, tweeted the editor-in-chief of the opposition television channel “Doschd”, Tikhon Dsyadko. For blogger Andrej Perla, Lukashenka’s visit is similar to the ritual during the Mongol rule, when Russian rulers had to go to the great Khan to receive the Jarlyk symbol for their princely status. The parallel, which the opposition politician Leonid Gosman also emphasizes, is all the more piquant as Belarus historically never belonged to the catchment area of the Golden Horde, but was at that time part of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania.
The Russian intelligentsia shows solidarity
In Russia, numerous intellectuals have shown their solidarity with the Belarusians protesting against Lukashenka, the first being the writers Lyudmila Ulitskaja, Olga Sedakowa, Denis Dragunski, the theater director Konstantin Raikin, but also the actress Oksana Mysina, who is a hymn to intellectual strength, organization and the The beauty of the civil protests.
After the Belarusian Nobel laureate in literature Svetlana Alexievich, who is the only presidium member of the opposition coordination council still in Belarus and is free, asked the Russian intelligentsia to raise her voice, followed by several open letters condemning Lukashenka’s violent regime and Russia’s support for him. Among the signatories are the publisher Irina Prokhorova, the artist Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, the musician Vladimir Spivakov and dozens of others.
Europe’s “shredded” politics
Unfortunately, the many sympathizers are not organized and only have a few independent portals and social networks as a forum, says the satirist Viktor Shenderovich, whose grandparents came from Belarus. Schenderowitsch feels that official Russia, faced with the choice between Alexievich and Lukashenka, has opted for the tyrant is a shame for his country. Schenderowitsch also sees democracy in a crisis because rulers like Putin and Lukashenka have learned to use democratic instruments and to “win” elections. And Europe’s policy, which has been “shredded” through economic cooperation, only expresses its concern about it.
The opposition journalist Kirill Martynov is appalled that Lukashenka in Sochi called Russia, like in the bad old days, the “big brother”. In fact, conversely, young Russians today are trying to learn from Belarus, Martynov said, how to practice solidarity and how to wisely represent your own interests and those of your country.
Many commentators envision how the one and a half billion dollars that Putin promised Lukashenka could have used as a loan. Lyubov Sobol, a colleague of anti-corruption campaigner Alexej Navalnyj, who is recovering from poisoning in Berlin, tweeted that impoverished Russian regions could not expect such financial aid, and neither could the Russian health system. The journalist Roman Popkow replied on Facebook of the Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya, who had warned the Russians that their tax money would now be used to pay for beating Belarusians. Unfortunately, the People’s Republics in Eastern Ukraine would also be financed with Russian tax money, writes Popkov, the rescue of Bashar Assad, the regime of the Chechen ruler Ramzan Kadyrov and of course the beating of peaceful demonstrators in Russia itself. But he still hopes, according to Popkov, that the Russian Money could no longer help Lukashenka.