BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS

Threat to Shoot/ Belarus

October 15, 2020 Dana Lewis Season 2 Episode 14
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
Threat to Shoot/ Belarus
Chapters
1:54
EDWARD LUCAS/CENTRE EUROPEAN POLICY ANALYSIS
13:07
ANDREI SANNIKOV/FMR. DEPUTY FOR. MINISTER BELARUS
BACK STORY with DANA LEWIS
Threat to Shoot/ Belarus
Oct 15, 2020 Season 2 Episode 14
Dana Lewis

After months of protests by hundreds of thousands demanding free and fair elections, The Interior Ministry of Belarus has now threatened to shoot demonstrators. 

And the main opposition leader has announced she is calling on factory workers and people from across The Country to strike, and shut down the system. 

Ex President Lukashenko has only jailed more people and remains defiant. 

On this Back Story with Dana Lewis, author Edward Lucas predicts a regime change, although it will take time. and former Deputy Foreign Min Andrei Sannikov says The West has got to do more to support the brave people of Belarus. 

Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

After months of protests by hundreds of thousands demanding free and fair elections, The Interior Ministry of Belarus has now threatened to shoot demonstrators. 

And the main opposition leader has announced she is calling on factory workers and people from across The Country to strike, and shut down the system. 

Ex President Lukashenko has only jailed more people and remains defiant. 

On this Back Story with Dana Lewis, author Edward Lucas predicts a regime change, although it will take time. and former Deputy Foreign Min Andrei Sannikov says The West has got to do more to support the brave people of Belarus. 

Speaker 1:

It seems like it's getting more violent and it seems like right now the opposition is not tiring.

Speaker 2:

He's getting more violent. It's also getting more political in the sense of, it's not just about democracy. It's about regime change. And increasingly saying to the Russians, keep your hands off. [inaudible]

Speaker 1:

Hi everyone. And welcome to this edition of backstory coming to you from London. I'm Dana Lewis, Bella ruse , 10 million people, and the election in August that was clearly a fraud . Every weekend, hundreds of thousands take to the streets, demanding the ex president Luca Shanko stepped down. He's not recognized as a president by European countries because the election in Bellaruse was a sham. Wasn't it? Mr. Luca Shanko . It's not the first time we spoken about Belarus here. The situation is escalating. Now the opposition leader, who was forced to flee Belarus has given Lucas Shanka when ultimatum step aside, or she will call everyone to strike and bring the entire country to a halt in late October. Her name is for Atlanta taken off sky . She only ran because her husband who was really the one involved in politics was jailed and he remains jailed by Lucas Shanko . It's outrageous on every level. Lucas Shanko has arrested thousands. His thugs have beaten many people. And now listen to this. Now his interior ministry has announced they are prepared to use live ammunition on protestors . Again, they are prepared to shoot protestors . They say, like I said, it's escalating. It's more dangerous. It's a threat to neighboring Russia. Where did we go from here? Listen to this backstory, share it please. And subscribe wherever you like to listen to podcasts.

Speaker 2:

[inaudible]

Speaker 1:

All right . I want to introduce you to Edward Lucas, who, if you haven't read his stuff before you've got to, he is a well known journalist. I know him from his days at the economist. He's written brilliant pieces about Eastern Europe and Putin and Russia. And he is now with SIPA the center for European policy analysis. Hi Edward.

Speaker 2:

Hello. Nice to be on the show.

Speaker 1:

And well , let's talk about Belarus on Monday, the ex Soviet countries, interior ministry threatened to fire on protestors marking a major escalation. Uh, I mean, they're talking about using a live ammunition on protestors .

Speaker 2:

That is an escalation and the regime was lashing out at favor the weekend against the women's March on Saturday against the big demonstration on Sunday. And then again on Monday when it was pensioners marching. So we see both a sort of new brutal edge to their attempt to crack down. But also we saw , um , the dictator, the autocrat, the leader of Belarus, Alexander Luca Shanker , meeting some of the opposition leaders at KGB headquarters for what seemed to be at least the appearance of , of an olive branch.

Speaker 3:

It seemed like some bizarre photo op, but because as he met with some people in prison , uh, that were, you know , still hundreds and hundreds of people being arrested the next day on the street, more than 700 people arrested on Sunday after his little photo op on Saturday. I mean, it didn't seem very genuine.

Speaker 2:

I think it's certainly not genuine. The question is whether it's effective. And I think what Luca Shanka and his cronies are trying to do is to split the opposition, to bog them down in talks on a new constitution or constitutional changes and hope that the onset of winter and the fear of being beaten and arrested or gradually blunt the edge of the street protests , I think that's his best shot. And that's what he's trying to do.

Speaker 3:

All right . Well, the opposition is just up. The ante of Atlanta. Tika knows sky has announced. And as you well know, she has , uh , been pushed out of Belarus. She is now in Lithuania, but speaking and getting more aggressive in her comments , uh , to the press in the European union. She is now saying not only is she the winner of the August 9th election, but the ultimatum is October the 25th. If Lucas Shanko does not step down and call new elections, which as you well know, he's not going to , uh, they will shut the entire country down. They're are calling everybody to the street

Speaker 2:

That is a big roll of the dice. And I worry that they don't have the organizational depth that they need to make that happen. I covered , um , solidarity in Poland in the early eighties, and that was a really serious labor union, where they had strike funds and networks of communication , support , and organization all over the country at every level. And the record of the Belarus opposition so far is not very encouraging when it comes to getting industrial workers out on strike, they've won the battle of ideas. They've won the battle of creativity. They are the dominant force on the streets when they choose to come out, but they are not the dominant force in heavy industry and in workplaces. And if they really mean shot the country down, that means the big factories. It means the railways is the par grid. It means all these things. And I don't think at the moment that they've got the kind of reach and cloud that you need to make that happen.

Speaker 3:

That's interesting because I mean, she obviously is very popular there. Um, and she, she is accusing the authorities now of state terror while her husband remains in prison. And she had a telephone conversation with him , uh , and to show that he is not cowed by remaining in custody all these months. Um, he is told her she needs to be aggressive, that the opposition needs to be more aggressive and they need to really confront Luca Shanko now .

Speaker 2:

Well, they're an amazing couple. And I think the , we all as outsiders need to celebrate and acknowledge, recognize the incredible courage and determination and creativity of the Baylor as our position there, it reminds me of the collapse of communism 30 years ago, sort of extraordinary scenes we saw on the streets of the cities of central Eastern Europe , um , in that , um , long ago era, but the trouble with being a broad as an opposition leader is you do lose contact with what's happening back in the, in the Homeland. And I think that it's a gamble to say that they can bring the country out on strike. It's possible. They're trying to bounce the regime into negotiations and they will then lift the strikes route . It's also possible. The regime says fine. Do you bring it on anyone who goes on strike gets far now what ? And if the strike is not effective, that will be a big blow to the opposition's credibility. And also to the personal credibility of this is to an Oscar.

Speaker 3:

Are you amazed at the tempo when you take a look at what's happening there every weekend on Sunday, these marches , uh, you know, a hundred thousand, 200,000, not, not only in Minsk, but across the country. I mean, people blocking policemen , uh, tying up traffic , um, even being

Speaker 2:

Some of the beating back

Speaker 3:

Some of these mass KGB, people who pull up in vans and try and do snatch and grabs him , the crowd turns on them. Uh , it seems like it's getting more violent and it seems like right now the opposition is

Speaker 2:

It's not tiring. Just getting more violent. It's also getting more political in the sense of, it's not just about democracy, it's about regime change. And increasingly saying to the Russians, keep your hands off Belarus . So the pro protests are evolving. I don't see the signs that I would like to see. I think that if we saw a million people on the streets , um , that would spell the end of the regime at the moment it's lost its moral authority. Um, and it's lost the battle of ideas, but in the end, these regimes for , for three reasons, they crumble at the top. We don't, well, they split at the top. We don't see that happening. They crumble at the bottom. We don't see that happening, or they're just overwhelmed by sheer force of numbers. And we don't see that happening neither . So for now, Lucas Shanker has retained the confidence of the Russians. They are not trying to undermine him, that they easily could. And his security forces, his goons are still turning up to work every day . And I think that he has got a good chance of surviving probably until the spring. I think after that, it may well be that Putin has maneuvered someone else into position and Pusha will then try and have his own kind of regime change and put someone in part who's less toxic than Lucas Shanker, but still acceptable to the Kremlin .

Speaker 3:

Edward spring is a pretty long horizon compared to some of the other predictions. I mean, maybe some of them are hopeful as well that the regime could crumble before then. Um, there is no sign, as you say of crumbling right now is Putin making a mistake by continuing to back Lucas . Shenko , he's worried these demonstrations could appear in Russia himself. And , but at the same time, generally people in Belarus were pretty warm to Russia. Now there is a sense from some of them, a feeling of betrayal.

Speaker 2:

Well , I think that's right. Push has got two problems. There's two things she doesn't want. One is democracy, but the other is anti Russian sentiment. And the problem is the harder he pushes on one, the more he gets the other. So the, if he allows democracy to , um , run riots, as he would see it in , in Belarus and Lucas, Shanker is toppled in a disorderly manner. That's a very bad example , um , for, or good example for people who yearn for freedom and Russia , a bad example for the regime, because people are gonna say, we got rid of a dictator in men's . Why can't we get rid of a dictator in Moscow? So that's one problem. The other problem is if he really backs Lincoln Shanko , and we have a 10 minute skirt square type tournaments , square style crackdown, then he transforms the pro-democracy movement into an anti Russian movement. And he doesn't want that fight that he saw what happened in Ukraine, where they intervened. And the result was to turn Russia's biggest and most important neighbor into a country where , um , the Kremlin is a swear word and he hasn't got that problem yet and got a rust , but he could get it. So he needs to play very careful, long game. And I think that's what he's doing.

Speaker 3:

Last question is Europe and America playing a careful long game. Are they being successful with taking out these sanctions? Most , most of the countries , not against Lucas Shanko himself, but against dozens of people around him, including the interior ministry. They don't want to appear to be too involved because that will involve Russia more. Is their thinking, is that smart? Is that strategic?

Speaker 2:

I would love to say it was smart and strategic. I think instead it's symbolic, Sloan spineless. I think that the , um , the West has been very late to this party. It's true. We don't want to , um, give the Kremlin, propaganda is a gift. Let them portray this as a pro Western anti Russian demonstration , um , opposition movement, because that wouldn't be doing any, any favors, but we could do more. We could have put sanctions on the regime earlier. We could have put pressure on Russia earlier. We could have given support to the opposition earlier, and we haven't done any of that. The standard success yet is Lithuania and the Lithuanian foreign minister Nina's Lincare features is kind of standing in as leader of the free world, or he's the foreign minister of a country of 3 million people because the European

Speaker 3:

Lithuania has been very bold.

Speaker 2:

They'd be very bold and they're our next door neighbor. They really get it. They share a common history. We've been arrested . They've got recent experience of dictatorship. And I take my hat off to the Lithuanians for their efforts. I just wish other countries were doing things too, but you know, Brussels is out to lunch. Washington's , Zach's lunch, London's lunch, Berlin's

Speaker 4:

Out to lunch. Um , we all have other things to worry about. And the bill rational position is having to fight this with a very small, but Gallant functionalities allies . I wish we could. I wish we were doing more. Edward Lucas. Thank you so much. I would just say on a personal note, there were very few people who I enjoy reading their analysis and hearing as much as you , uh , you're at the center for European policy analysis. Now I hope people follow you and read your material and, and , uh , and I really appreciate all of your time. Edward, thank you so much for being on the show. Thank you for your questions. Our next guest on backstory with Dana Lewis is Andre Santa Cove . He's a former deputy foreign minister of Belarus , jailed tortured by Lucas shingles regime and still fighting, not for his freedom, but for the freedom from dictator Alexander Lucas , Shenko , it is a violent tug of war that is taking place in Belarus and it continues. And there is a lot at stake in Andre. Welcome. Hello, Andre is a deputy foreign minister of Belarus until he resigned in protest in 1996, in 2010, he was a candidate in the presidential election. He was jailed by the KGB after protesting the election results. He was kept in prison 16 months and is now living in Warsaw. He was forced to flee the country and you know , I want to stop there for a sec Andre , because when I was thinking about introducing you today, it's very easy because these things roll off our tongues as journalists. And sometimes we don't understand, but imagine if you're American or you're Canadian or you're British, or you're living anywhere in Europe or anywhere in the world, and you have been forced to flee your country. It is a startling thing for somebody like Andre, who served in the government was loyal to his country, believes in Bellaruse . And now you're living in Warsaw, Poland, and watching probably very emotionally what's going on in your own country right now. Yeah, absolutely. It is a say a very emotionally, it's an understatement. You don't sleep at night. You are following the ones you are talking to friends who are thinking about how to help, how else to help you. I've been , uh , frustrated that there is no real knowledge. There'd be a lot of sensitization in the world. Still. There is no knowledge and no adequate measures taken by the democratic quilt towards , uh, against this data . Ruth was dictated. She sucks . Yeah, it is . It is very difficult, very, as you said, the emotional , uh, but , uh, what keeps

Speaker 5:

All of us going is the astonishing [inaudible] people, the festive fascinating behavior and the , the resoluteness with which they peacefully fight this murderous regime mudras , because it's not mothering people as Ellias as the ninth is not only the politicians we know about the four cases in 1999 and 2000, but also as local Shanka confess himself several times there were shooting criminals without any trial, without any prosecution . I mean, criminals. Yeah, there were criminals, but they were killed by Luca Shameka guns . It is, you know, in the plain light, in the daylight and the , you know, it's without any , uh, even , uh, without any pretense of , uh, doing justice to the , to the people. And we don't know whether they are all, all of them were criminals. Some of them , we just hear the , the man who is a compulsive wire tell about his glorious days in the nineties , uh, that he allegedly saved people from the 32 , uh , criminal groups only to organize , uh , the only criminal group on the territory of gelada is today his own

Speaker 4:

Right ? Can I , let me stop you for a second and roll this back a little bit. And that is fall of the Soviet union and all of these countries declare independence, the Baltics, the Stans , and Bellaruse Lucas Shanko wins in a democratic election. Everybody thinks, you know, the Eastern Europe has become democratic. What , what happened after that first election?

Speaker 5:

Well , there are different histories behind both extends , for example, and the Ukraine Galarza model , those countries that are in the European part of the former Soviet union and those countries in Asian part, a absolutely different histories, Baltics were like it too. So to say in a [inaudible] to be under the occupation for 40 years, we've been under the sovereign totalitarian regime for more than 70 years. And Luca Shankar was not elected immediately. We had the parliamentary Republic for the first three years, at least. And that was, I think , uh , that same test for many mistakes that were made around us. But then , uh, the , the leadership of girls at that time, I mean, the cabinet of ministers was really incompetent and they were driving country into stagnation. And then this populist came named Alexander Luca Shanker , who has popular, said that I have recipes for everything. I will restart the call on me in a new way that will benefit everybody in Belarus . And that was a democratic election. People voted for him and that was democratic election, but one thing should be underlined that , uh, this was an election against not for, I mean, the vote was against the , uh , the stagnation of then prime minister , uh, just love cabbage , uh, in favor or all the popular . So it was clearly , uh, because Paul's little, no , he promised the law , but he was not known for delivering anything. So people just believe his farm. He was a farm manager, he was a farm manager before that he served also in prison as the prison guard. He was doing the on petty party , uh, post positions. And so , Oh , he, he was a very loud mouth , uh , populist and in a way he should the era of populism in the world. Uh , I sometimes I think that , uh, now we have so many populists in the democratic world as well. That probably was the , the first one to, to , uh , indicate that the , this , this , these dangers coming to the world, not only to the former Soviet union. So why did you run against him? I mean, you, you ran against him , uh, in what year, and then w what happened in that election? Uh , yes, I ran against him in 2010. Why? Because , uh , uh, it was clear that the country, his goal was going into the, a BS because of the sub , uh, several , uh, more or less , uh , successful, economically successful years because of Russian subsidies. Uh, the crisis of 2008, the financial crisis really indicated that Booker sham cause economy will not cope with it and it will collapse. And , uh, it was clear also that we had a dictatorship and go to so talking all our friends and all partners best in the world that we have to deal with it, not only us, but also in Europe and the United States and Canada, those who are interested in various, not in the certain scene or dictatorship in the world . So we did run against him. I say we, because I had a very strong team and , uh , we actually , uh, predicted that the election will be weak . And , uh , we had a very strong support from the people not as strong as the , uh , into Akasha movement has today. And yes, so we were offering negotiation . Speaking about negotiations, some in the West are still thinking that it will be a solution. And , uh , negotiations with [inaudible] is out of the question for me. So we're offering negotiations at that time , not only to the dictator himself, but , uh , mostly to the people in his government and actual cycles, but it was rejected. We were thrown in jail because, because was so scared that he saw so many people in this square on the night of election, that he, at that time, he, he, all of himself personally, and that was the signal . He, all of himself, personally, the brutal dispersal, Brooklyn crank Dom of the innocent, peaceful demonstration and innocent civilians. It was a signal that a human be ready. If, if, if , uh , these kinds of crackdown is ignored, then we , we will have to really, we have to expect something more brutal, which is happening today. We made a mistake in the West because that was really the first fire. Uh , the , when the West should have really leaned on Bellaruse and forced him to re hold that election or canceled that election. And in the end, he got away with it. And that now fast forward to this summer, he's held the selection , um, by every single country's estimation from America to Britain, to all of the European union. Now he stole an election , um, and it was falsified. So now Andre, they've taken out this , the sanctions against Bellaruse, what is that going to do? They've named some people in Bellaruse , and they've said that they are going to, you know, freeze assets abroad , um, travel bans is not going to do anything. No , it's , it's very good. Uh , that he'll say we made a mistake. I think that alert is says, so I don't hear anybody from , uh , president officials or former officials from European union, from the Western vote from democratic countries saying the same thing. Uh , and , uh , I don't, I don't hear anybody recognizing the mistakes. I don't hear anybody taking responsibility for that , but this is coming from my, my years in Eastern Europe as a correspondent based in Moscow for 12 years. And I understand through a , a lot of the former Soviet countries that did not embrace democracy very well, where democracy was still born , uh, that we probably should have tried to deal with Lucas Shenko , uh, in that year, rather than this summer, now we have to deal with them now, but it was allowed people a blind eye. Yeah, absolutely. And the world should have dealt with [inaudible] in 1999 when there were political murders. And that was the most horrible year for [inaudible] this year, because the position was destroyed, the leaders were murdered and there was no reaction at that time. Everybody was keeping very quiet. Yes. Introducing some essentials , condemning making statements , but, you know , you know, it continued, you will be astonished to find out that till this time European union was providing assistance to the CATIA cause police, for example, that as , uh, that in September , uh , September 16, in the midst of all this crack down on people being brutally beaten, killed, and even raped in prison, a couple police got the surveillance drones from European union worth of $850,000. These draws that can be used to identify people, people during the demonstrations, you know, the cases when the, the Canadian company, for example, of course it is owned by Russian Gammon Goutra , but , uh, the Canadian company supplied the , uh, what the Kara and police, which have been used extensively now, and the reason there are many, many other examples like that. So there is a ,

Speaker 4:

In fairness to Canada because I'm Canadian. So, I mean, I think that I was shocked that those water cannons were ever sold to Luca Shenko , but in fairness, Canada has now also taken out sanctions against , uh , I believe against Lucas Schenkel himself. And they're one of the few countries to do it. The UK in Canada, the European union's sanctioned stop short of actually sanctioning Lucas Shenko himself,

Speaker 5:

To answer your question about the sanctions. I think that this personal sanctions targeted sashes are nothing because if there was, if there was not a history of lifting the sanctions without any break, and the conditions being met by , by the regime, then we could probably talk about the efficiency. Uh , otherwise, you know, the sanctions were introduced when I was in jail, there were lifted in 2016 to encourage locations that they continue with with his politics, they encourage location to strengthen the , the, the, the regime to encourage location , the strengths and the police forces , who are ,

Speaker 4:

W w what do we do with the, about this now, like this picture that we're showing now, these are men that are showing up in black masks , uh , on the, on the weekends, when these large demonstrations take place in the hundreds of thousands in Minsk and across the country, they, and grab people from the street. There's a lot of video online of them beating people, beating people in custody , um , attacking people who are even just walking on the street. I mean, these are not violent demonstrations. Most of them have been peaceful demonstrations , uh, in the Oman uniform police, but also these other guys show up in their mass KGB. Um, the, the numbers of detentions now, Andre are what in the thousands, and what do we do about it?

Speaker 5:

They're not bottle detentions is more than protein, thousands already. The criminal cases , uh, open against about 400 people and the people in jail, the number side in thousands, and the last Sunday, there were 714 people , uh , detained, arrested. So it is horrible. Really. Um , I always ask this question when you say horrible.

Speaker 4:

I don't think people in the West have watched everything that's going on because I keep a pretty close eye on it. You know, here's a list like elderly people being tier guests on the weekend, because a lot of the demonstrations have been carrying out by elderly people that are going peacefully to the street, waving flags, students being arrested in university dragged out of university beatings, where men and women are grabbed on the street. And you can hear in the video then beating them in the vans where they are arresting them. And incredibly some of the crowd then turns on the police. Um, and there are violent confrontations at times between the crowd , uh, you know, essentially beating these policemen and these mass KGB people back from, from grabbing people off the street and forcing them to let some of them go. I mean, it is very violent , uh , and , and it is shocking to see this in Europe today.

Speaker 5:

Absolutely. Uh, but , uh, absolutely on the, you know, it, it is , uh , the question is either there is a political will in the West to deal with this situation because it is dangerous, not only for us, but also for the world. It is dangerous. It's , it's clearly, it's a security breach. Clearly it's a threat to the international security and he asked him about the sanctions. Okay . You're now talking from, from England. Well , you know, great Britain was the third , uh, trade partner focus Shanker's regime in oil products, the third one after Russia in Germany. So , uh, economic sanctions, trade sanctions, financial sanctions, and , uh, uh, announcing, not announcing, but declaring this Oman , right . Police , uh , criminal organization, terrorist organization internationally. And then there is a petition now in international criminal court from Belarussians to , to start investigating and to start , uh , procedures, criminal procedures against Luca sham . So, you know, this , uh , sanctions , uh , are not really essential. I mean, the, the one that I've been discussed in the European union that the introduced by yes, by Canada, by great Britain, by United States, they have travel bands . They are mild restrictions to travel to the parts of the wealth, to the real creamer . If you don't think they're very muscular, what should we be doing to take a very strong financial? And it is, you know, morally justifiable because all these strong measures should be tied to the release of political prisoners, the cessation of all kinds of violence in the streets in prisons. And I don't mean to interrupt, but because you're raising such interesting points all the time, and I have to jump in, why is this not? When you say it's criminal, why not headed for the Hague? Why is this not at a certain point? Does it become a, does it become a war crime? It is. It is. In my view, it is, it's a genocide. That is how it could be compared with genocide and with war crime. But, you know, we, we, we are so weak with universal jurisdiction that some people have to work on it now. I mean, lawyers, I mean, real specialists or legal specialists, because , uh , you know, that , uh , those who are , uh, occupying the positions formally occupying the position of rules of the countries, they are not persecuted properly. So , uh, now in Europe , uh , the European parliament terrorists are talking about the feast of November , but that is the , the final end of location term . So let's stop doing something after that. Let's talk about the hake . Let's talk about the Warcrafts , let's raise this issue in the United nations in every way . Let's take this issue in , uh , individually countries, British British lawyers are known for their very , uh, skillful attitude towards , uh, such case such such difficult cases. We need international expertise. We need really, I think the other , some cases moving the democracy agenda forward. But if you arrive at this argument in the West where people feel that the West should stay out of it, because if they get too involved in it, that that will anger Putin in Russia, and that will bring the Russians into the conflict, and then it will escalate the conflict. What is, what is your opinion? It's not opinion it's, you know , uh , Russia is already, is there , Russia is working not only on the limits of the state two years. Propaganda is the line to the people, but , uh , uh, security forces , uh, are working with local chefs going on all these Craig dolls .

Speaker 4:

They're worried about it coming to Russia. They're worried about these same demonstrations, like the ones that were being organized by the poisoned opposition member, Alexa in the Valley. They're worried about it starting , uh , in Russia as well .

Speaker 5:

Yeah, it's a good point. They are worrying about something and there was , doesn't worry about something in girls because Y Y to be so shy as saying that, no, no, no, it will be taken as interference . I hear it for 20 years for more than 20 years already, but actually it's doing everything. It wants him to go out of the place . Look at Shanka , uh , together with Luca Shameka against the West and the West is still being very timid. The one very simple thing should be recognized, but there is nobody more supportive of dictate, dictatorial, aggressive policies of Russia in Duluth . Then Luca , sham , no matter what he is still the Kremlin's number one, men and daughters . So if you want to breach , if you want to threaten your security, you continue to be soft on him. I think that it is not the question again, it's it is not the question about, even about Belarusians . It's the question about the security in the region? The question about the , uh, impunity of the real facts are real criminals. I think bill Brown is doing a lot with Magnitsky act, but you want to case shows demonstrates that more should be done

Speaker 4:

Just for people who don't know who he is, was a businessman who was operating in Russia. Eventually his assets were seized and the, his lawyer Magnitsky was jailed and died in prison. And since then, Browder has carried on a campaign worldwide to bring about the Magnitsky act sanctions against members of Putin's inner circle. And he continues to campaign for them. And people have adopted them , uh, from Canada to America. And the, the was still , uh , Britain has adopted them in the EU is still , uh, I think , you know , waiting through it, then they are taking parts of those sanctions against individuals. Andre , are you concerned that the interior minister , uh, interior ministry of Belarus is now come out and said that they will use live ammunition? I mean, this seems like it's about to escalate in and can get very bloody in Belarus and go from bad to worse. They are prepared to use live ammunition against demonstrates.

Speaker 5:

Yes, of course I'm concerned. I'm very concerned for many years. Not only now, because I know that they're capable of that , but what it really means today that they want , by any means they want to provoke violence. Uh, since , uh, demonstrators protests have been so peaceful, so resonant to be, to stay non , non violent that they are doing everything. They started all kinds of claims that pole on high dancing , the bands of four , I mean the groups of violent groups, and then have they blame Tata come through salsa. But , uh, they, they, they really want to provoke violence and Luca Shaka himself. I think he , he confessed that he was getting ready to , uh, to, to, to order the provocation against the, the , uh, headquarters of their position during the elections. And I think maybe these people , uh, can be expected to do anything. That's why we need strong reaction because , uh, you know, this collation of violence happens because Luca Shanka was not on the list of even those mild sanctions. He read signals of the West very clearly, much better than the West reads his signals. Tell me, I want to just wrap this up, but I mean, we , I hope that, I mean, the idea that he wants to provoke violence and use live ammunition on crowds, I think , uh , we'll , we'll take this to a completely different level. And , uh, and , and the, the, the foreign outrage, the outrage in the West, I think nobody will accept that. And I think if he's toying with the notion of using live ammunition on crowds, I think that will be the end of him. Um, I mean , hopefully it will be the end of him, but hopefully we don't get to that stage. I hope so. I hope so because we , we really need to , uh, think about , uh, how to resolve this crisis without Lukashenko being , uh , uh, the country. And without, because I'm going , can give you an all of us , because , uh, today I think the West has all the leverage, for example, why those builders and ambassadors that didn't switch sides are not kicked out of the country , why they still allow it to function and to pretend that they represent country and the citizens , they do not represent the viruses . They do not represent country. Luca Shanka kicked out the ambassadors of all God, who is why, why the West is tolerating those spies and , uh , uh, the, the, the , uh , sirens of all the data, and then many other things. Because when I hear the questions , what , what can we do? I, sorry, but I do take it that we don't have political will to do much. So let's discuss it. At least. I think it's a, it's the time for discussion, of course, never, never, it's never all the discussion has to have some very practical results. Under the last question I want to ask you is America has been

Speaker 4:

The super power that has been able to wait into these situations sometimes successfully, sometimes , uh, making the situation worse. One would expect that the president of the United States would be warning Bellaruse now against using live ammunition, against escalating the violence , uh, demanding that he released political prisoners, but Donald Trump , uh, has been very silent, whether it's anything to do with Russia sphere of influence. Um, and he , and people are extremely critical of him for not speaking out against , uh , you know, potential bounties against us soldiers in Afghanistan, not speaking out against Putin's aggression in Syria and elsewhere. Are you in any way thinking that Joe Biden, if he is able to win the election in November would be somebody that would be more helpful. And are you looking for a more , uh , sympathetic ear , uh , from America if Biden is in the white house?

Speaker 5:

No, I don't want to interfere into internal affairs so United States, but we need America. We need a miracle leadership, not only as well , I was about in the world , but I think we need real American leadership because even the case of , you know , political prisoners, when America took strong decisions, like in 2010, in 2011, while the sanctions about economic sanction , then political prisoners were released. So we need the America back in the world with

Speaker 4:

The leadership role. I think most people believe that there needs to be a strong, strong America on the diplomatic fund, but America also has to set some good examples about its own democracy right now. And right now that's very challenged in November Andre Sinacola . Thank you so much for your time on various the former deputy foreign minister of Bela Reuss . He was , uh , jailed by Lucas Shanko . He was tortured by Lucas Shanko . He has fled the country and he is now one of the most important voices for Bellaruse to speak out and, and bring us all a little bit of backstory education on what is taking place there, Andre, the, the, this is really my last question. You often call Luca Shenko on Twitter, crazy Lucretia . Do you believe he is doing crazy things, or do you believe that Lucas Shenko , uh , is crazy himself

Speaker 5:

Either way? We'll have a very famous diagnosis of progression in the, in the ninth is by dr . Who is living now in the United States. And he diagnosed him with mosaic psychopathy. And I think that , uh, the, the, the things that he's saying to them doing today, it is not the things that adequate, that same person. That's why I call him what he is today. But , uh ,

Speaker 4:

I think that you will see this as an asset , uh , for the world peace and the human rights and democracy. Is this a shame that this being a threat that is threatened ? So Andre cynical , my very best to you. Thank you so much. And , uh , I think more than anything, if you are , um , watching what's happening in Belarus , I don't think anybody would not be moved at the scenes , uh , peaceful demonstrators on the weekends, especially , uh, watch it and follow it as people there peacefully attempt to struggle for freedom attempt to get a president who a lot of people think is mad , uh, who is committing crimes arresting and torturing and beating and wrongly jailing political opposition in almost anybody on the street that these black mass , uh, KGB thugs are coming into contact with. I don't think anybody wouldn't be moved by watching what's what's happening there. And we wish the people of Belarus , all the best things pink ,

Speaker 1:

And that's this backstory and Belarus watch the story. I'm worried for peaceful demonstrators in Belarus, as it seems ex president Lucas Shenko wants to instigate a violent episode as this happened so many times in different uprisings in Europe. It may not end well. And I hope I'm wrong about that. This podcast launched six months ago, by the way, it's been recommended as one of the best international news podcasts. And we're looking for a sponsor, not necessarily a paid sponsor, but I'd like to support an organization that needs help such as veterans groups or international aid organizations. If you would like to be featured here, let me know. I'm Dana Lewis, thanks for listening to backstory . And I'll talk to you against

Speaker 4:

[inaudible] .

EDWARD LUCAS/CENTRE EUROPEAN POLICY ANALYSIS
ANDREI SANNIKOV/FMR. DEPUTY FOR. MINISTER BELARUS