By Kit Klarenberg
Global Research, June 15, 2021CovertAction Magazine 14 June 2021
The at-times fiery protests that raged across Belarus throughout 2020 had largely fizzled out by the time local activist and seeming neo-Nazi Roman Protasevich was dramatically arrested in May this year.
Now, the country has been catapulted back to the top of the mainstream news agenda, with new life breathed into controversial self-appointed President Svetlana Tikhanovskaya’s hitherto unheeded calls for Western leaders to recognize her as the legitimate Belarusian leader.
True to form though, not a single outlet has deigned to mention that for many years prior to the unrest’s eruption, London and Washington had funded, trained, and promoted the very elements that took to the streets in opposition to President Alexander Lukashenko.
“Not Worth People’s Blood”
In April 2019, the RAND Corporation—a U.S. government think-tank—published a report, Extending Russia: Competing from Advantageous Ground.
It outlined “a range of possible means to extend Russia,” defined as “measures to bait Russia into overextending itself” in order to “undermine the regime’s stability.”
Drawing on quantitative and qualitative data from Western and Russian sources, this report examines Russia’s economic, political, and military vulnerabilities and anxieties and then “analyzes potential policy options to exploit them—ideologically, economically, geopolitically, and militarily” along with “the likelihood that [these policy options] could be successfully implemented.”
A dedicated section of the 354-page report dealt with “promoting regime change in Belarus.” It noted that, among other welcome outcomes, denying Russia “its one and only true ally” would be “a clear geopolitical and ideological gain for the West,” undermining Moscow’s proposed Eurasian Economic Union, complicating “any attempt to employ military force against the Baltic States,” and further isolating Kaliningrad,” the Russian exclave situated between Lithuania and Poland.
Fomenting unrest in Belarus was said to “present an opportunity to extend Russia by aiding the opposition, removing a long-standing Russian-allied dictator, and supporting liberalization.” Aid to Lukashenko’s opposition “could come in a variety of forms, ranging from public declarations of support by U.S. leaders to more direct financial and organizational assistance helping the opposition parties.”