The Belarusians are accustomed to fakes destabilize the situation in the country before the election, so the message of the KGB about the detention of Russian mercenaries near Minsk experts and politicians are treated with great skepticism.
On the morning of Thursday, July 30, the Central election Commission (CEC) of Belarus briefed the presidential candidates the new rules of campaign activities – now they are as regular meetings will be held with the protection of the police and the use of fences.
As reported to journalists by the presidential candidate, the leader of the movement “Tell the truth” Andrey Dmitriev, at a meeting of the CEC, the state Secretary of the security Council Andrei Ravkov told that in Belarus there are about 170 foreign fighters trained in subversive activities, and there is a threat of provocations during mass actions. Another candidate, head of the “Belarusian social democratic Hramada,” Sergei Caraceni, added that if the provocations warned, they will.
After a meeting of Central election Commission Andrey Ravkov said that the detainees in Belarus on the eve of 33 Russian citizens, allegedly being mercenaries of private military companies (PMCs) Wagner, a criminal case. They are accused of preparing terrorist acts.
Mercenaries from Russia and elections in Belarus
On the eve of the news about the arrest, as he said, “33 militants of the Russian private military company Wagner”, who allegedly intended to destabilize the situation in Belarus during the elections of the President, disseminated by state-run media. The evening of the same day, the incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko held an emergency meeting of the security Council.
In teletchea about it there was shown a fragment in which the head of the KGB Valery Vakulchik reported to Lukashenka that we are talking about “militants PMC Wagner.” In response, Lukashenka instructed “to pay attention to the safety of mass events, including those associated with the election campaign”.
TV channel Belarus-1 showed the security camera footage of a Moscow hotel, where you can see how some men with things going in the foyer on July 25 at 03:32 night; and then a snippet of real-time imagery of the detention of a group of persons on the morning of July 29 in the sanatorium “Belorusochka” of Minsk. Next we were shown the Russian passports of detainees. The Russian Embassy confirmed on Twitter that they are from the Main consular Department of the foreign Ministry of Belarus “received official notification of the detention in the Republic of 32 Russian citizens”.
Later in the evening on 29 July it became known that the detained political analyst Vitaliy Shklyarov, a citizen of Russia and the United States. According to the TV channel ONT, Shklyarov allegedly “controlled the political activity of the blogger Sergei Tikhanovski”, “introduced in the pre-election headquarters of candidates their agents and mobilized around Tikhanovski protest electorate”. On the morning of 30 July, the wife of the blogger, candidate Svetlana Tikhanovski assured journalists that he did not know Shklyarov and that “Sergey and it didn’t work”.
The reaction in the media and social networks
Once there was a message on detention, as claimed by the authorities, militants PMC Wagner, expert of the analytical center of the Pro-presidential public Association “Belaya Rus” Peter Petrovski wrote in Facebook: “After the detention of Wagner is clear the owners of some alternative candidates.” In turn, political analyst Valery Karbalevich believes that the authorities are scared by the scale of the protests Tikhanovski and decided to finish off this wave.
Many bloggers drew attention to the fact that, according to state media, a mercenaries-Wagnerova calculated due to the poor disguise: “did not use Alcohol, places of entertainment did not attend, he held himself aloof, trying not to attract attention”. On tut.by published an article, “Women were waiting for them at the disco”, which include the sanatorium “Belorusochka” shared his impressions about the alleged living there vagnerova.
Experts: History vagnerova did not convince the Belarusian society
Arseny sivitsky, the Director of the Minsk Center for strategic and foreign policy studies in an interview with DW did not rule out that the official version could have merit. According to experts, this way the Kremlin could deepen the slowdown in the integration of Belarus and Russia, “forcing him to capitulate Lukashenko or replacing it with a puppet government.” Sivitsky has admitted that “the story seemed unconvincing to the Belarusian society, and this is due, first and foremost, a crisis of confidence in the government and, consequently, to public sources of information.”
Director of the Institute “Political sphere” Andrei Kazakevich in this regard, he added: “Belarus has used that power every election trying to manipulate public opinion, launching outright misinformation.” According to the analyst, the Belarusians do not have reliable evidence of what happened, and if indeed detained vagnerova, “we don’t know what these people were all in the country.”
Police speculated that the incident will be used by the authorities to restrict the election campaign of Lukashenka. In addition, said the analyst in an interview with DW, the Belarusian authorities will try to convince the West that the repression for which they criticized the recent months, linked to Russia’s intervention in the electoral process. “For many Western politicians it may become a weighty argument”, – says Kazakevich.
The opposition expects the restrictions for holding rallies
Members of the house of representatives to which DW asked for comment, they refused, citing a lack of evidence about the incident. DW interviewed Belarusian opposition politicians – Deputy Chairman of the BPF Party Alyaksei Yanukevich, the leader of the movement “For freedom” Yury Hubarevich, the head of the Belarusian social democratic party (Hramada) Igor Borisov – United in the fact that due to regular stuffing misinformation by the authorities, voters are unlikely to believe the official version about “militants Wagner.”
The opposition in one voice predicted the new restrictions in conducting pre-election mass actions. While Yanukevich suggested that the case may go before the introduction of state of emergency. Hubarevich pointed to the tensions before the elections and did not rule out provocations before the vote. But Borisov is commonly noted that Belarusians are frightened by the machinations of the West, and this time the Russian mercenaries. In his opinion, the authorities are using the events as a tool of intimidation.