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Russia traditionally tries to project its crimes or its involvement in certain events onto other governments. History saw a huge number of such examples, from the Winter War of 1939, when the USSR accused the Finnish side of shelling its territory (the Mainila incident), to 2014, when Russian propaganda showed photos of Russian troops executing civilians in Chechen villages, while passing them off as mass killings of Donbas residents by “Kyiv junta.” There’s more examples, of course, but let’s move on…
In fact, Russia’s classic lying propaganda is monotonous in its approach to blaming others for what Russia itself has done or is plotting to do. The most striking example of the recent days is Belarus.
The Belarusian opposition, financed from Russia (Viktor Babariko — Gazprombank), receiving media support from Russia (Svetlana Tikhanovskaya — media resources owned by Alisher Usmanov) and even receiving asylum in Russia (Valery Tsepkalo), are branded pro-Western. The protests raging in Minsk for the third week already, widely covered by Russian journalists affiliated with the GRU military intel, are portrayed as those organized by the West, as well as those provocateurs (Russian nationals) who have infiltrated the crowds of activists.
In fact, being a catalyst and handler of chaos in Belarus, Russia, by its classical scheme, is blaming the West for everything. Seeing it as a Freudian slip, we can get a hint of what may happen to Belarus in the near future.
So, now the scenario of Poland occupying part of Belarus is being widely spun in the Russian media directly affiliated with the defense ministry and the GRU. In particular, the narrative is being spread that Poland, with NATO’s help, intends to annex Belarus’ Grodno region, according to a scenario identical to the one that unfolded in Crimea in the spring of 2014.
The saddest thing is to see this story, now being aggressively pushed through Russian information platforms, is also being spun by certain “useful idiots” who add fuel to the fire. For example, during the Feygin LIVE stream, Belarusian nationalist and a representative of the Ukrainian National Corps movement Sergei Korotkikh noted the growing separatist sentiments in the regions bordering Poland and Lithuania.
Summarizing all of this, we should read the opposite: not Poland or NATO but the Russian Federation. It is Russia that’s interested in shaking Alexander Lukashenko’s positions through the emergence of uncontrolled formations on the Belarusian territory. This could be, say, the “Vitebsk People’s Republic”, which has been promoted since the start of destabilization in Belarus.
On the other hand, this does not negate the likelihood of provocations with a kind of a “Grodno People’s Republic”, since quite a few Russian agents of influence operate in Belarus, Poland, and Lithuania, where their cells pose as “nationalist” and “patriotic” groups.
I have repeatedly noted that Russia traditionally, since Soviet times, has been exploiting nationalist and neo-Nazi groups for own benefit, having put these themes at its service in many countries.
And in this context, it should be noted that the interview with the Belarusian nationalist who is also part of the Ukrainian National Corps movement (just have a moment to enjoy the taste of these two ingredients in one dish!) was taken by Russian lawyer Mark Feygin. One of the first cases in his career was about defending the GRU-supervised neo-Nazi project BORN. The organization was supervised by a pseudo-journalist Dmitry Steshin, who is actually a GRU operative. During the Revolution of Dignity, and then during active hostilities in Donbas, he was an irreplaceable partner of another pseudo-journo and GRU officer, Alexander Kots. The latter is now in Belarus, covering protests in the required propagandist key.
I will also note that Steshin earlier oversaw the Russkiy Obraz magazine, which became the foundation for the Combat Organization of Russian Nationalists (BORN), whose members fought in Donbas and previously performed hit jobs in Russia (the murders of Stanislav Markelov, Anastasia Baburova etc.), and who spread their network up to Serbia. There they created an analogue of the group, Serbian Image, at the moment — Serbski Obid.
But this is just a small digression designed to draw your attention to the fact that if the GRU, through its media cesspools and with the use of nationalist rhetoric, has started channeling messages of threats coming from a third party, such threats should be expected precisely from Russia.
In turn, creating through nationalist puppets and provocateurs the appearance of Grodno region seceding from Belarus may become the pretext for Russia to either send in troops (I don’t even rule out that the move will be made at the request of the Belarusian president) or launch separatist scenarios with “people’s republics” along its borders, where the slogans “fascism will not pass” will be heard.
This, in turn, will complete the operation on the Belarus Anschluss, which began on July 29, 2020, and whose final stage we’re already observing.