Trip to Kyiv: Will Belarus enter the war? Will it be annexed by Russia?

Dimitri Kazakov, from Minsk

Recently, there have been many discussions about the possible participation of Belarus in the war against Ukraine, on the side of Russia. The fact that Belarus is complicit in the military aggression is indisputable. It was from its territory that the Russian troops who planned to take Kyiv in three days entered Ukraine. Russian planes took off from Belarusian airfields and launched rocket attacks on Ukrainian cities from here.

But now we are talking about the direct participation of the Belarusian armed forces in the Russian-Ukrainian war. According to information from the Ukrainian special services, Russia is planning a series of terrorist acts in the border area that may justify the entry of Belarusian troops into the territory of Ukraine and thus open a second front. The Kremlin has a rich experience in such provocations since the outbreak of the Chechenian war, and such a scenario is not ruled out.

However, it is impossible to predict how they will react to a possible participation in the Russian aggression, taking into account the reaction of the Belarusians to the war in Ukraine, when, as a result of partisan actions (“railway war”), the movement of Russian troops to the Ukrainian front was halted for almost two weeks. Also, the mass dismissal of Belarusian soldiers who did not want to carry out criminal orders. The situation in the country could turn sharply against the current government.

Lukashenko’s dictatorial regime is based solely on police and military force, massive repression and economic support from Russia. Lukashenko personally owes Putin the favor of keeping him in power in 2020, when popular protests spread across the country. Only the support of the Kremlin saved the dictator from an inevitable defeat. For this reason, the fact that the Kremlin demands support from its allies appears quite natural. In practice, Belarus, headed by an illegitimate dictator, is occupied by Russia, retaining only the appearance of a sovereign state.

So far, Lukashenko has not decided on direct military aggression. The main reason is the absolute popular rejection of Putin’s war in Ukraine. And although an open protest against the war by the dictatorship is not expected, the entry of Belarus into the war may launch a new process of mobilization of the masses in a more radical way. The Belarusians, unlike the Russians, do not suffer from an imperial complex, and it is quite obvious that the people’s reaction to the difficulties of the war would be extremely negative for the power.

There is another issue to take into account, Putin is also talking about “accelerating the integrative processes”. In other words, the possibility of annexing Belarus to the Russian Federation, a latent threat for a long time that, if materialized, would liquidate the independence of the neighboring country, with the complicity of Lukashenko, something that the population has rejected every time it has been raised.