"White Revolution" stirring in Belarus ( Washington Times, by Jeffrey T. Kuhner, May 4, 2005)"The winds of change are about to sweep across the plains of Belarus," begins the article. Ten years of rule under Lukashenko has had deleterious impacts on the nation concludes the author who states: Minsk, once the cradle of a brilliant, Slavic medieval kingdom and a major center of resistance to Adolf Hitler's invading armies, is now often derided by Western diplomats as resembling "East Berlin, without the charm." But, according to the article Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice stated at a recent meeting with Belarusan opposition leaders at the NATO summit in Vilnius that "The Belarusian government should know that they are being watched by the international community, that this is not a dark corner in which they can [go] unobserved, uncommented on, as if Belarus is not a part of the European Continent."
The hope of Washington is described as the continuation of the trend set in Georgia, Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan and consistent with President Bush`s policy of spreading democracy. The article notes that brave democrats plan massive street demonstrations this fall in hopes of forcing Mr. Lukashenko's resignation. With strong American support, they may well unleash a "White Revolution" similar to the Rose and Orange Revolutions in Georgia and Ukraine.
What could hamper this evolution is however, Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin is determined to not let Minsk go the way of Kiev and Tbilisi. His Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said Russia will oppose any effort by the United States to undermine Mr. Lukashenko's government.
A lot is at stake for those who dream of a new Russian Empire and who profit by arms sales to rogue nations which thus makes Lukashenko "not only a menace to his own people, but to American security interests as well."
The article relates that: "In his recent address to parliament, Mr. Lukashenko denounced any peaceful efforts toward democracy as 'plain banditry.' He vowed they would not occur under any circumstances."
Jeffrey T. Kuhner is a historian and communications director at the Ripon Society (www.riponsoc.org), a Republican policy institute. The views expressed are solely those of Mr. Kuhner
This article appeared in
Belarusian Review, Vol. 17, No.2
Copyright 2005 Belarusian Review
All rights reserved.
Jeffrey T. Kuhner