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Change in o. lukashenko’s Rhetoric Regarding the War in Ukraine

Change in o. lukashenko’s Rhetoric Regarding the War in Ukraine

Changing narratives in the rhetoric of self-proclaimed Belarusian President O. Lukashenko regarding russia’s war in Ukraine.

Until 2022, O. Lukashenko denied the conflict between the countries:

“If we come to you from the north, we will come on combine harvesters, tractors, trolleybuses and buses: we will never come to you on tanks. russians will never come to Ukraine from the territory of Belarus! Especially with weapons”

January 2022: a narrative appeared that Ukraine threatens the security of Belarus and russia:

“Near the borders of Belarus, the military contingent of Ukraine is being built up of radical nationalists, who are worse than the NATO military. Belarusians are not aggressors, but we are in alliance with our strategic partner, fraternal russia, and we will support it in every possible way.”

February 2022: the narrative that the West is pushing Ukraine into a hopeless war with russia:

“Ukraine is not independent in making decisions, and the Americans are pushing them to go to war. Against united efforts, Ukraine has no chance, in case of a war, it will last 3-4 days, there is no one to fight against us. Ukrainians will be crazy if they collide with russia…

We will cut off all kinds of supply, not only of fuel and lubricants, but also of electricity.

We will deploy not only nuclear weapons, but also super-nuclear weapons to defend our territory.”

On the day of the invasion, February 24, he denied the involvement of Belarus: “… I read that at 5 in the morning the Ukrainian border was attacked by russian troops supported by Belarus. Scumbags! Our troops do not take any part in this operation. Indeed, two or three rockets were launched from the territory of the Chornobyl districts, approximately where the training of the russian troops took place.”

March 2022: Lukashenko “recanted” from previous statements about the deployment of nuclear weapons and justified Belarusian complicity in the war:

“… and now I will show you where the attack on Belarus was being prepared … Therefore, we did not start this war, our conscience is clear.

I do not plan to place nuclear weapons here, produce and create them and use these nuclear weapons against anyone: this was never in the plans of the Belarusian leadership.”

April 2022: declared efforts to establish a dialogue between Ukraine and the russian federation and the injustice of Western sanctions:

“The main goal of the economic war waged against Belarus is to undermine the well-being of the population. The professional actions of our military and diplomats went unnoticed in the West. Belarus was declared an ally of the aggressor without proof and without grounds.”

May 2022: there are claims of a prolonged “special operation of the russian federation” and admiration for the skill of the Armed Forces: a game aimed at finding ways to retreat in order to avoid responsibility for participating in the war:

“… I feel that this special operation has dragged on.”

“No, we are not going to participate in the special operation of the russian armed forces.”

“The most effective on the part of the Armed Forces were the mobile groups that instantly and unexpectedly approached the enemy, which was significantly superior to them, and delivered striking blows …”

During more than three months of russian aggression in Ukraine, Lukashenko’s rhetoric changed from the position of an ally of russia to attempts to distance himself from the kremlin and offers of peacemaking.

Lukashenko emphasizes that Belarus is not an aggressor, and there is no Belarusian military in Ukraine. Currently, Belarus plans to increase the size of the army to 80,000 and has announced the holding of “mobilization trainings” near the Ukrainian border at the end of June.

The dubious legitimacy of the self-proclaimed president of Belarus and his clear dependence on the kremlin are obvious not only to Western leaders, but also to his state apparatus.

Restoring full control over the army is key to Lukashenko’s political survival, as it demonstrates his control over the country and the commitment of the security forces.

The change in rhetoric of the Belarusian dictator, as practice shows, diverges from his actions, given the strong dependence on agreements with putin.

  • 10 June, 2022

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