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 Post subject: How Belarus Could Become Part of Russia
Post Number:#1  PostPosted: 11 Sep 2012 07:36 
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How Belarus Could Become Part of Russia

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Sept. 11, 2001, was a failure not only of intelligence but also of imagination. No one had even conceived that terrorists could seize airplanes and fly them into buildings. So after the attacks, the Pentagon and CIA hired screenwriters to advise on the construction of worst-case scenarios.

In that spirit, let's play with Belarus, the country that President Vladimir Putin made a point of visiting first after his ill-starred inauguration in early May. A nation of some 9.6 million people, Belarus is often termed the last dictatorship in Europe. Notably, its secret police are still called the KGB.

The scenario opens with real events, cinematic enough in themselves. Earlier this year, a Swedish ad agency, Studio Total, chartered a small plane, violated Belarussian airspace and bombarded the capital, Minsk, with some 800 teddy bears equipped with parachutes and adorned with human rights slogans like "Free Speech Now."

In a rage, Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko fired the generals in charge of the air force and border guards as well as his foreign minister. Sweden's ambassador was expelled, and Stockholm retaliated with diplomatic expulsions of its own.

After reports that a student who posted images of the teddy bears online had been arrested, Studio Total's founder, Per Cromwell, wrote in an open letter to the Belarussian authorities, "If you absolutely must jail and abuse people, why not invite us?"

But would Stockholm, which has refused to say it would not extradite WikiLeaks leader Julian Assange to the United States if he returned to Sweden to face criminal charges, extradite the teddy-bear pranksters if Belarus brought charges against them?

Here the scenario clicks in. Teddy bears begin appearing everywhere in Belarus. Arrests increase. Protests become more common and more clever, designed to catch the eye of the world media. As the crackdown escalates, so do the number of atrocity videos on the web. Weapons are stolen from barracks and from injured riot policemen. Some soldiers defect. Armed resistance breaks out. The night is lit by fires from Molotov cocktails.

The Western press accuses political leaders of hypocrisy, willing to chase halfway around the world to oust dictators like Saddam Hussein and Moammar Gadhafi but unwilling to do more than issue sanctions against the tyranny in their own backyard.

Belarus appeals to its closest neighbor and ally, Russia, for help. Putin declares that Belarus was always historically part of Russia, having experienced only one year of independence in 1918-19. He moves to reincorporate it into Russia. Europe howls in outrage.

Putin is convinced that Belarus is just the beginning of a long, well-prepared Western plan to remove him from power and weaken Russia. Everything — the nongovernmental organizations, the teddy bears, the election monitors, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, Pussy Riot, Mikhail Khodorkovsky — have been leading to this. Minsk is the stepping stone to Moscow.

That winter, Russia puts pressure on Europe by interrupting the flow of gas, blaming it on sabotage by "terrorists." In fact, there are now plenty of genuine terrorist acts in Russia, as arrests and show trials only increase popular resistance to Putin's regime. Chechen terrorists strike everywhere. Rumors spread about missing material from Russian nuclear installations. And the 2014 Winter Olympic Games are set to open in the southern city of Sochi in a matter of weeks.

Putin is backed into a corner. He picks up a special Kremlin emergency telephone. He knows only one person can save him now: super secret agent Anna Chapman. (Hey, it's a scenario, isn't it?)

Richard Lourie is the author of "The Autobiography of Joseph Stalin" and "Sakharov: A Biography."

Read more: The Moscow Times

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 Post subject: Re: How Belarus Could Become Part of Russia
Post Number:#2  PostPosted: 13 Sep 2012 14:56 
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If you make a fantasy story, at least make it believable....

While the US has been busy creating new governments in the Middle East, and the EU has been fighting over how to fall apart without anyone noticing, a Russia has been secretly building its empire. Having learned from the EU and its silent takeover of the member states, Russia has been taking initiatives on two fronts to create a large economic block, strong enought to worry the rest of the world if it should be given attention.
The BRIC and added nations is something that has not been given a lot of attention, yet it is creating a giant elephant in the room. Russia is in this cooperating with the countries that supply cheap labour products and services for the US and Western countries, and if this block will start to really flex its muscles it will cause more than a little concern.
But at the same time Russia is rebuilding the GOS in to an economic and political union, which might soon revive something reminding of the Soviet times. Easy border policies going towards free traffic of people and goods are just one thing reminding of the EU, but plans for a political union are in place. And, avoiding the EU mistakes, the time and way of tranferring the power is left to the member states entirely.
The first country to join this may, as strange as it may seem, Belarus. The 'last dictator' is finding it increasingly difficult to remain in power, and while relations with Moscow depend on the mood of the day, in reality it is his single ally. With Belarus already past the treshold of economic collapse, the one thing that could raise its level and keep (or at least temporarily extend) its leader in power is a for-going political union.
While it will be under the flag of a GOS treaty, in reality it will be nothing else as an economic and mainly political takeover of Belarus. The president will be granted his presence as ceremonial leader, but will have to transfer all rights and powers to the GOS, which will have appointed pawns of Moscow in place.
If this will be successful in that the world will not protest, other former Soviet states may follow. While it is not expeted that Ukraine and Georgia will sign over their power quickly, there are other states that have tight enough bonds to join, especially if this means partnership with the BRIC countries providing a market for their natural resources.

By the time Putin will hand over his title of president, he may appear in place to lead the GOS and officially get to lead not just Russia but all countries around as well.

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 Post subject: Re: How Belarus Could Become Part of Russia
Post Number:#3  PostPosted: 14 Sep 2012 11:39 
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I am sure you realise it was not me who wrote the above post, which was posted in the Moscow Times. Any how it sounded funny to me and that is the reason why I posted. To be honest I can't understand all these anti-Putin articles there when the owner Ria-Novosti is government owned! [thinking.gif]

I agree with you that while the USA, EU and the other countries are trying to solve their financial problems, Putin is taking advantage and is restoring back the ex USSR under a more modern version. Russia is a huge country with huge natural resources and taking advantage of this position is natural. We only hope that at the end of the day the benefits will trickle down to the general population. According to my information life in Russia has improved quite a lot, since I was last there but my wife told me, after she came back this year that certain bad and rude attitudes have not changed.

Putin is very well versed in how the system works and plays it well, so we can't expect an changes soon. Creating this new economic block it can only help Russia to find new markets and of course some cheap labour too. He also knows very well that he cannot rely on the EU for his gas exports and must find new markets. I think Russia already has oil pipe lines to China and is looking for more markets. Having recovered from the disaster of the 1989-91 collapse of the USSR, Russia today has very little external debt and many currency resources. All the independent republics, one by one have comeback under Russia's influence apart from Ukraine and Georgia and therefore the current leadership in Russia feels very strong and wants to play a bigger roles in international affairs, and we have seen their latest stance in Syria, after the losses they had in Libya, Egypt etc.

Putin has very good relationship and commercial ties with Germany, who is really running the EU, and feels very strong to order all the Russian companies to get permission from the Government before making any submissions to any investigations by the EU, like Gazbron, lately. With no new gas supplies, and pipelines build eg Nabusko via Turkey, Europe depends a lot on Russia supplies. As you must noticed he has a good influence in the Cyprus economical problems offering loans of $8 billion and I am sure he wants to have a say in their gas findings and the banking sector.

As about Belarus ..... is already in Russia's pocket for survival. Luhashensko is at his last legs and is there still with Putin's tolerance.

Big changes going on all around and I am sure Russia will always be a big player, as a superpower.

Let's see how the American's will sort out the new Anti-American wave...... and the threat by Israel to bomb Iran.

PS: I take that GOS = Gas, oil Supplies???????

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