With all of the tension taking place in Belarus, the Russian newspaper Pravda notes that Russia is very concerned about the potential loss of Belarus to “the West”, and says that it poses a military threat to the survival of Russia.
If Belarus goes to the West, then, militarily, Russia will lose control over long-range sea and close airspace. Therefore, we need a pro-Russian candidate for the new presidential elections.
The published program of the Belarusian opposition, the so-called ” Reanimation package of reforms “, envisages the transformation of Belarus into a radically Russophobic state, which is in no way inferior in terms of the degree of anti-Russian hysteria to today’s Ukraine.
It provides, in particular, for the country’s withdrawal from the Union State, the Eurasian Union, the Customs Union, the CSTO.
– the return of full control of Belarus over its air and anti-missile defense systems,
– withdrawal from the territory of Belarus of Russian military facilities – a communications center in Vileika and a radar station near Baranovichi,
– strengthening of patriotic education in the Belarusian army, translation of educational work in the army into Belarusian.
“We’ll have to completely change the entire scheme of the country’s defense”
Russia has two military facilities in Belarus: the 74th separate radio technical center “Baranovichi” – the “Volga” radar (Gantsevichi, Brest region), which is an integral part of the Russian missile attack warning system (SPRN) and the 43rd communications center of the Military the Russian Navy (Vileika, Minsk Region), which establishes communication with nuclear submarines in the waters of the Atlantic, Indian, Pacific oceans.
As the deputy of the State Duma of the Federal Assembly of the Russian Federation of the fourth convocation (Defense Committee), candidate of political sciences, military expert, member of the presidium of the public organization “Officers of Russia” Andrei Golovatyuk told Pravda.Ru , Belarus is a strategic partner of Russia within the Union State, and it stands as a barrier between the Russian Federation and NATO countries.
“We would not want Belarus to abruptly change the joint political course, as happened, unfortunately, with Ukraine. Because then we will have to completely change the entire country’s defense scheme, including air defense systems and other areas. Therefore, this will be a very serious problem. for the Russian Federation, if the foreign policy of Belarus changes and it starts to go to the West precisely in military terms, “said Andrei Golovatyuk.
In other words, Belarus is a strategic “bulge” in the west for Russia – it is indispensable for the defense of Kaliningrad. Therefore, in the event of a military threat, such an ally cannot be neglected. (source)
This is a very good analysis of the problems. In addition, I would like to make a contribution as well to this discussion.
Let’s take a look a Belarus and see why, just from a “boundaries” perspectives what is such a concern.
If one looks at a map, one can see that one of the last cities in eastern Belarus near Russia is Osinkova. The distance from here to Moscow according to Google Maps is 479 km, and approximately 5 hours and 45 minutes. If one changes the starting point to Minsk, the capitol of Belarus, it is about 8 hours and thirty minutes.
The first measure- Osinkova to Moscow -is approximately a trip from Knoxville to Memphis. The second measure- Minsk to Moscow -is a trip from New York City to Columbus. The first trip is not even an overnight stay- one can leave in the morning, do what one has to do, and be back home for a late dinner. Even in the second trip, while it would usually be “overnight”, a very ambitious person could make the entire trip in a day if he pushed hard.
This is the main reason why Moscow is so concerned that she is not in control of Belarus, and is also the reason she is pushing so hard into the Arctic- it is because she is terrified of being invaded, and given how weak Russia has become, as I have outlined in my previous articles, there is a very strong chance that she may seriously have to fight for her survival and could realistically lose. This is not like in World War II, where while she almost lost many times and was saved (not ironically) by the grace of God with a snowstorm at the Battle of Stalingrad in 1942, for Russia is weaker now than she was then. There is a strong chance that she will lose control over the oil deposits in the Volga basin in the case of a German invasion. Her last hope would be to go north as far as possible towards Murmansk and north pole regions, use the oil from this region to supply herself, and try to fight out any invading force. However, it is unsure if she will be able to do this.
Russia does not want American or German troops being placed less than a quarter day’s drive away from her main “nerve center”. It is a military nightmare.
Likewise, Belarus being cut off also prevents Russia from doing what she has historically done, which is to rush the Baltic nations and seize them, allowing her to reinforce her base at Kaliningrad/Kõnigsberg, which is her only exclave and while heavily armed is also surrounded with little way to protect herself.
It is clear from the article that Russia may challenge or attempt to have “new elections” in Belarus, because political control over this region is central to her ability to control herself. The problem is, unfortunately, that while Lukashenko is a dictator, the fact is that many people in Belarus also hate Russia because they remember the legacy of communism- a legacy that Putin has directly harkened he wants to revive as his idol is Stalin, whose brutality was so awful that no mask or talk of Christianity can hide or change the past.
All of the former Soviet satellite or “influenced” nations remember life under the USSR. It was miserable, and while there are a lot of problems with life under German influence, while bad, it is not as miserable. Thus in a war, who does one think that many of these nations will side with? To put it crudely, if one is stuck between two mad rapists with no choice except to be raped by one of them, and rapist A just rapes and leaves one for dead but rapist B not only does not kill one, but says “please” and “thank you,” brings some chocolates for you as well as helps you put your clothes back on after the rape, then the choice is obviously the latter.
These correspond respectively to Russia and Germany. Both nations have raped eastern Europe for centuries, both their economies and their people, and have caused many problems. However, in modern times, German industry and business contacts have helped objectively raise living standards in Eastern Europe, provided jobs for migrants from Eastern Europe to Germany and Western Europe, and have at least apologized for their atrocities in World War II. This cannot be said of Russia, who has provided nothing save for destabilization, poverty, and chaos, both in the past and today.
I want to emphasize that I am not “taking sides” here, but rather to point out that in the world of politics, sometimes there are impossible choices, where a choice must be made between bad and worse lest it be made for one, as this is the reality that nations like Belarus face.
Russia may be strong, but she is operating in a sort of “panic mode” right now, for if she does not secure control over Belarus and other parts of Eastern Europe, she is going to face a “wall of Europe” against her, and while she may not admit it publicly, in private as well as by the numbers, it is impossible for her to stand against it.