Meeting with Belarusian high-ranking officials
Belarus President Aleksandr Lukashenko held a meeting with Belarusian high-ranking officials on 16 September.
The event took place at the Palace of Independence. Partaking in it were 300 high-ranking officials, members of the Council of the Republic and the House of Representatives, heads and specialists of state administration bodies and public organizations, representatives of local authorities from every region, workers of the Belarus President Administration, heads of mass media outlets. According to the head of state, he invited them to share the operational and analytical information which will provide answers to the most topical issues on the today’s agenda and give a clear picture of the political situation in and around the country.
“What is going on today is not unexpected; it is not a surprise for us. Older people remember other things in Belarus when thousands of people took part in rallies in the 1990s, when they turned cars upside down and set them on fire, threw petrol bombs and destroyed shop windows and windows of apartment buildings. The allegedly spontaneous organization of the society, the ripening of the so-called revolutionary situation, the ‘illegitimacy of the election’ and so on and so forth are myths. They are busted by the in-depth analysis of events which took place well ahead of the 2020 election campaign,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that a step-by-step analysis of events in the country had unearthed genuine plans and tactics of external aggressors. The head of state stated that for the last ten years they have been scrupulously preparing for this zero hour. “In order to remove all the masks, let’s name these players. At the level of global centers the number includes primarily the United States of America, to be exact, their network of foundations designed to support so-called democracy. American satellites – Poland, Lithuania, Czechia, and unfortunately our Ukraine – worked on the European continent,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
Each country played its own role, he stressed. Czechia has been a resource hub for a long time. Poland initially worked as an incubator of media channels (Belsat, Nexta, and other ones) and then as a platform for a government in exile. “Wounded by the Belarusian nuclear power plant construction project, Lithuania worked as a battering ram of Belarusian-European relations. Despite our unwavering support for the country (for instance, in matters of territorial integrity and other ones), Ukraine became an outpost of political provocations contrary to the spirit of our mutual relations,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added. “Thus, we clearly see subjects of this process, their conductors, and abettors. The organizers built the tactics in accordance with the classic American textbook on color revolutions by the notorious Gene Sharp. Today we can look back and analyze in detail all the stages of the scenario meant to destroy our country, which fortunately we have not allowed to come to fruition and will not allow.”
The first stage. Preparations
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that foiled attempts to stage color revolutions in 2006 and 2010 changed the approach to influencing Belarus. In his words, foreign parties moved from direct-action technologies to methods of soft power and transformation of the government system from within.
“They started using new ways to shake Belarus by targeting the unwavering supporters of the President: residents of the regions, hardworking Belarusians, public sector employees, pensioners. By the way, they tried to use the tactics in Syria and Venezuela. You may recall how methods of so-called social protest were tested in response to Ordinance No.3 [on preventing social dependency]. It was these protests that later on gave rise to dozens of bloggers, who started brainwashing various social groups via YouTube and Telegram channels under the guise of the fight for people’s interests,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
In his words, after attempts to shake the society were suppressed in 2017, the strategists started working to create permanent hotbeds of disaffection in the regions.
The second stage. The parliamentary elections
Half a year before the presidential election the destabilization technologies that had been created were tested in the course of the parliamentary elections, Aleksandr Lukashenko stated. It was then that a network of specialized Telegram channels with clear-cut roles started working at full capacity in order to besmirch the government, undermine the foundation of the state ideology, primarily by resorting to fake news and forgeries, Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out.
New forms of street activities were tested in addition to pumping up the information channels during the period of the parliamentary elections. A “youth bloc” was specifically created ahead of the elections. The youth bloc actively shaped the mood of disaffection in various social groups under the guise of nominating candidates for parliamentary seats. It exploited topics that were seemingly removed from politics: the law on military draft deferment, mandatory jobs for university graduates, legalization of drugs, the matter of Article 328 of the Criminal Code [illegal turnover of narcotic substances], and so on.
The third stage. Preparations for the presidential election
During this stage foreign strategists carefully selected heroes for every social stratum and various target audiences in Belarus. Aleksandr Lukashenko remarked that a certain blogger, who wanted to become a presidential candidate later on and tried to look like a fighter for people’s interests, started travelling all over the country. Major Internet platforms were created and mass media presence was stepped up to highlight a certain banker, thus sending a message to the private sector and “new strata”. Speaking about the nomination of his former aide as a presidential candidate, Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that foreign strategists tried to exploit it by sowing dissent among the government elite and tried to assess their loyalty towards the head of state.
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out: “In this complicated period the government was fully engrossed by the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, which unexpectedly stormed the world. Instead of standing together in this global battle the so-called independent mass media and Telegram channels did everything to complicate the work and destroy people’s trust in the government.”
The fourth stage. The presidential election campaign
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that when the Belarusian society was warmed up by Internet assaults, a barrage of color revolution technologies was launched. They were borrowed from protests in Armenia, Poland, Hong Kong, and other areas.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “By using the tactics of a parade of pickets (do you remember the collection of signatures to nominate presidential candidates?) it allowed several aspirants at once to get voters’ signatures. Trips of candidates to the regions were accompanied by ‘carousel-like’ queues (similarly to those in the Baltic states) and hype from street art – just like it happened in Poland in the past.”
“Various modern political technologies were employed later on in order to convert politics into a show. A show designed for the mass audience,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated. For instance, the joint staff of the opposition’s presidential candidates built its tactics by exploiting the image of the woman, which is traditionally revered by Belarusians, but this time new buffoonery forms were added to it.
Simultaneously fake news was released about millions stored in Aleksandr Lukashenko’s foreign accounts. Various memes were made. In his words, the war of sociologies is an interesting example. “All the resources were employed to win the virtual majority by means of fake news in mass media and by creating confidence that results of the presidential election will be falsified and the current government will lose,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
The fifth stage. An attempt to stage a maidan revolution
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the ballot day was used to try to stage a maidan blitzkrieg. Mistrust in results of the election was stimulated by appeals for voters to cast their votes only on 9 August and for voters to participate in shady initiatives. The joint staff used appeals to voters to create artificial queues and raise tensions at polling stations.
Then the joint staff published preliminary vote count figures, which gave a reason to aggressively defend the “stolen votes”. The previous brainwashing heated up the outrage of the protesters on 9 August, 10 August, and 11 August, Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
In his words, they intended to simultaneously deploy thousands of protesters in streets of Belarusian cities and capture administrative buildings and landmarks. Instructions from foreign coordinators were sent in real time: “Say no negotiations! No negotiations! We have the power! There will be more of us tomorrow! Prepare appeals for the USA, the European Union, Russia, and China to recognize the election as invalid! Demand the second round of the election!”
In order to encourage as many people as possible to respond actively and dispel any doubts about the alleged moral supremacy, a clear image of the enemy was created in the Internet. “Representatives of the government and law enforcement agencies were labeled fascists, usurpers, bandits, and so on. We saw the results. They specifically targeted riot police. Over 25 riot police officers were injured on the first day. Broken arms, broken legs, broken spines of traffic police officers, who are still in hospitals,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
The head of state is convinced that if law enforcement agencies had been passive, further maidan revolution technologies would have been activated. History says that such technologies often result in multiple human casualties and always end in a tragedy for the country.
The sixth stage. Protests after the presidential election
Aleksandr Lukashenko said that actions of law enforcement agencies prevented the protests from escalating. “Then the puppet masters changed the tactics all of a sudden and made protesters look like innocent angels. Flowers, white clothes, so-called carnival rallies on Saturdays and Sundays were used. They also created the image of an allegedly nationwide protest that has no visible leaders and does not depend on their will,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said. They focused on the scale of events, their length, and the broad geography of the actions.
“At the same time – the fact is not always highlighted by mass media – the policy of creating a radical wing of the protesters was adopted. Step-by-step instructions were created for them as well as recommendations on what to wear and what gear to use, ways to counteract law enforcement officers, instructions on making and using Molotov cocktails, fireworks. Basic rules for staying in touch are advertised, including when Internet or mobile service are unavailable. Hong Kong technologies for gathering crowds in predesignated places, for spontaneously changing routes, for protesters to work in sync are being polished,” Aleksandr Lukashenko added.
Massive information impact is reaching new heights. Protests are coordinated in real time 24/7.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also spoke about attempts to get workers at enterprises involved in protests under the guise of strikes and walkouts, attempts to get university students involved in protests. “The opposition’s expectations that the government will fall when it sees the protesters did not come true,” he stressed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko pointed out that attempts are being made to make protests part of the nation’s daily life. “Instructions on creating people’s militia or self-defense groups are being copied. Tactics of backyard protests is implemented by means of setting up mini groups and chats for individual districts, residential complexes, individual backyards. Today the coordinators are trying to organize backyards, tomorrow they will come into your apartments. It is their goal. It won’t work,” he said.
The seventh stage. An attempt to legalize the infrastructure of changes
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the creation of the so-called Coordination Council did not justify hopes of the protest organizers. After the organizers fled the country, they had to find and promptly advertise new smaller faces, preferably those with a scandalous reputation.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that the war of symbols, the fight for memorable places that every Belarusian reveres is being actively exploited. New mechanisms and schemes of financing are being built. Warsaw-controlled channels are working hard to spread word about the so-called Plan B, which provides for setting up parallel (allegedly people’s) ministries, for sabotaging the economy and the social sphere. “They suggest absurd things. As they try to stage a lengthy political and economic crisis in the country, coordinators of the protests give out instructions on economic resistance, as they call it – instructions on how not to pay taxes or utility bills, how to quit trade unions and so on. The particularly naive Belarusians are promised that their losses will be compensated for by foundations, which have been established to help ‘victims of the regime’. The experience of communication with Ukrainian maidan revolutionaries indicates that nobody will get anything,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
He stated that the Coordination Council is hell bent on trying to undermine the unity of the power vertical, the law enforcement and security agencies, the system of state mass media.
“Thus, the Belarusian scenario for the year 2020 is a mixture of the most effective color revolution technologies of destabilization, which have been tested in various countries. It is obvious that they are focused on the scale and length of the protests, the exhaustion of strength and the depletion of resources. We know who the masterminds are, who wants something in Belarus, and therefore we don’t relax and are ready to respond to any challenge,” Aleksandr Lukashenko summed up.
Conclusions and instructions
“Today we are coming out of the difficult period we had for the past two months. We are not even talking about the country, but only about Minsk and two or three other cities, where groups of eternally dissatisfied people tried to blow up the political situation and destroy our social stability, the main brand of our country. Our stability was the target,” the head of state said.
In his words, all this time the rest of the country has lived its usual life: people were growing and harvesting a rich crop, modernizing enterprises in larger volumes than last year, building houses, schools and hospitals, and getting ready to launch the nuclear power plant. “We are not standing still. We are constantly on the move. The country is developing, the welfare of people is gradually improving. I do not understand what other changes are needed. We just need to accelerate,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
The head of state believes it is very important that in such a difficult situation no one in the management, in the power block, patriotic associations and parties backed down. “I saw people in action and understood that I am surrounded by stable and loyal people to our Motherland. Thank all those who showed decency and reliability,” the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted that, as he said in his Address, measures would soon be taken to strengthen the status of the civil servant.
“We have learned the main lessons. We know where and with whom we failed. We will soon eliminate the shortcomings (we have already started to do it). Please join in. We will deal with the problems on the domestic political front. This year Belarus should and will return to stability which we have always had in Minsk. The time of barricades and rallies is over. Now it is our time to continue development, movement forward with the help of reasonable changes and reforms,” the Belarusian leader stressed.
Aleksandr Lukashenko added that it is not only Belarus which is “shaking” today. More than 40 countries have been covered by mass protests and revolutions in recent years. He gave concrete examples of continuous unrest in the United States, France, Germany, Bulgaria, persistent turbulence in Montenegro, Hong Kong and Russia. “The world will certainly not be the same anymore. Nothing new, I told you about it. The pandemic will be over, and where will we be? The world will not be what it was before the pandemic. Belarus, however, should and will return to normal life, including in the heroic city of Minsk,” the President added.
“We will continue moving forward. A new five-year period is ahead, and it should be a breakthrough for Belarus. In the coming years, the country should enter the sixth technological mode, which means further economic development of the state, including its own energy, environmentally friendly and competitive production, high-quality products meeting the level of world standards,” the President said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that the All-Belarus People's Congress is scheduled for December or January. “It is a very important body, a special form of power in the country, which back then, in the mid-1990s, saved the country,” he said.
The President emphasized that he gathered the first such event, the people's forum, to rely on people, to appeal to them to help save the country. “Support me, and I will do everything to save the country. I have fulfilled that promise. It was a great meeting,” the head of state said.
Speaking about the forthcoming All-Belarus People's Congress, Aleksandr Lukashenko said that the meeting would be held to discuss social, political and economic issues, plans and the main stages of development of Belarus for the next five years. “There we will need to draw a plan, including constitutional changes. Before that we should decide on the parties and other issues. Therefore, the preparations for the All-Belarus People’s Congress is the most important political task for now,” the President said.
He instructed the heads of the Belarus President Administration and the government, heads of the oblast executive committees and the Minsk City Hall to take a careful look into the matter of electing delegates.
“It will be a nationwide dialogue. Therefore representatives of all layers of society, all social and professional groups, patriotic associations and parties, deputies of all levels should take part in the forum. Delegates should represent every large industrial enterprise,” the President said.
“We need to work with the society more effectively and move to a new level of interaction. Perhaps, we could set up local platforms for dialogue within organizations with a constructive attitude. Yes, we should do this,” the head of state said.
It is important to engage governors, the government, and high-ranking officials up to the president in this dialogue, Aleksandr Lukashenko believes. “I am absolutely sure in this and ready to launch this work. From below,” the President noted.
He added that such activities should involve politicians, including deputies. “You should be the main driving force in this dialogue,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
Aleksandr Lukashenko said: “It is time to give a new impulse to the social and political life. It is important to work out a common vision of what our country and its state system should look like in the future. I am talking about the Constitution. We’ve held the election. We’ve received the result. That’s all there is to it. Maybe we should stop exciting the society. The next presidential election will be in line with the Constitution. It will happen the way we decide.”
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, the new Constitution will have to specify a system of checks and balances. All the relevant innovations will have to be discussed during the next Belarusian People’s Congress. “It will be the third Constitution draft. Work on it is already in progress. Don’t think it is that simple. The initial draft will be submitted for discussion in all branches of power,” he noted.
Once the discussion is over, the final version of the new Constitution will be put to a referendum.
According to Aleksandr Lukashenko, it is necessary to revise the law on political parties and take another look at the party system before the new Constitution is adopted. “Let’s calmly work on it. A great deed cannot be accomplished in a rush. It needs to mature,” he said. “We didn’t put serious efforts into party construction in the past. There was no demand for political parties.”
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that the modern society is being structured and needs its own political organizations, including political parties.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stated that 15 political parties are registered with the Justice Ministry at present. “But we understand that those are not political parties. When ten of them deviate from their charters and goals and demand a new presidential election. I would like the justice minister to take a close look at all the parties to find out whether they meet legal requirements concerning their size, structure, and compliance with their charter. It is necessary to arrange their reregistration.”
“Work on the new bill [on political parties] has been going on for quite a while but we need results,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed.
“I would like the Presidential Administration to prepare proposals for improving the effectiveness of the system of ideological work,” the head of state stressed.
According to him, the Education Ministry should also draw certain conclusions. “Please, work out proposals to organize ideological work at all types of educational institutions,” Aleksandr Lukashenko instructed. “If needed, consider the idea of university self-governance, but within reason,” he added.
The President pointed out that mass media outlets should be agents of the state ideology and journalists should be the most ardent supporters of the authorities.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs needs to respond adequately to habitual sanctions and new challenges, the President is convinced. Aleksandr Lukashenko believes: “In recent years we have forgotten what is the unfriendly policy of our neighbors like. Their anti-Belarusian essence did not go anywhere however and has become apparent to the full extent. Moreover, we have seen an attempt on our sovereignty and even territorial integrity.”
The President expressed hope that Europe would stay prudent enough to curb its excessively active parts.
We need to step up work in those regions of the planet where we are welcome and understood, the President believes. “They can offer a solution to the pandemic crisis. These regions include members of the UN Security Council – Russia, China, the CIS member states, and rapidly developing countries of Central Asia,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
According to the head of state, Belarus needs to take effort to explain to international organizations, primarily the UN, the actual state of affairs in the country and the role of hegemons in the failed attempt to stage a color revolution in Belarus.
Aleksandr Lukashenko stressed that Belarus needs to inform its allies and other countries about the new methods of a color revolution.
According to the President, it is important to remain friends with the brotherly Ukrainian nation in the face of reckless politics and corrupt rhetoric of constantly changing elites. “Everything can be fixed, including economy, trade, and diplomatic relations. However, the spiritual bonds between our people should not split,” the head of state said.
At the meeting the head of state expressed confidence that together we will restore Belarus to the normal rhythm of life. “There is a lot of work ahead of us. I have already said that the system relies on people who are loyal to our country. The recent months have shown that they are the majority,” the head of state believes.
“Not only the President, but the country and the people can lean on them in this difficult time,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted.
“Together we will restore normal life in Belarus and will continue building our independent future,” he stressed.
Details of negotiations of Aleksandr Lukashenko and President of Russia Vladimir Putin in Sochi on 14 September were also revealed by the Belarusian head of state as he met with the country’s political core.
Aleksandr Lukashenko noted: “We’ve discussed the entire complex of matters. Nearly five hours. By the way, Putin and I worked out a plan of negotiations. The ministries of foreign affairs, the governments, the presidents – this formula was worked out before the election.”
In his words, Aleksandr Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin primarily discussed matters concerning energy industry. “We didn’t go too deep into specific figures and what not. But as [Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Belarus to Russia, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of cooperation with Russia Vladimir] Semashko told me, he is in negotiations with energy industry officials in Russia. He says they are totally different people and can talk about prices and so on and so forth,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Access to markets was another thing raised during the meeting with Vladimir Putin. “Putin suggested activating our holding companies, large industrial enterprises. May their heads and ministers meet. It is necessary for them to hold meetings and trade with each other. I say okay, it suits me.” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.
Aleksandr Lukashenko also mentioned the $1.5 billion loan that Russia will give to Belarus. “I should say I insisted on it. The prime minister and the finance minister suggested to me that this loan will be paid. This year we are supposed to repay one billion to them [the Russian side] as part of an old debt of ours. We are ready to repay this billion despite all the complications. It is not a new loan. It was my request to the Russian leadership: we don’t have to pay this billion to you this year, we will keep it and it will roll over to the next year. The interest rate on it is acceptable. So it is a matter of refinancing,” the Belarusian leader said.
Apart from that, in addition to contacts between heads of enterprises and large holding companies Vladimir Putin suggested stepping up regional cooperation. “I told him very good, a Forum of Regions of Belarus and Russia will take place in late September, we will start intensifying communications between oblast governors. It is a great thing. They will accomplish a lot,” Aleksandr Lukashenko noted. “So, on the way home from Sochi at night Semashko told me that he and the industry minister had travelled to Russia and had brought contracts worth $290 million – BelAZ, MAZ vehicles and the rest. Contracts had been signed. One third of a billion. It is a lot of money. So, we should put some back into it.”
“We also very seriously talked about rerouting freight traffic from the Baltic states to St Petersburg. I told him plainly: if you offer us the terms we have in the Baltic states, we will do it, it’s all the same to us. He knew I hadn’t left Sochi yet, he gave instructions to calculate everything and hold the relevant negotiations,” Aleksandr Lukashenko stated.
Aleksandr Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin paid close attention to cooperation in the sphere of military industry and defense. “It was my suggestion and we should arrange army exercises. We don’t have to care what someone says about us. An army that doesn’t wage wars is no army. At least we should arrange army exercises,” Aleksandr Lukashenko said.