“We summed up and approved the results of the joint work of our defense ministries in 2019-2021 and mapped out measures for military security provision through 2024 and endorsed the corresponding plan,” Sergey Shoigu noted
As Viktor Khrenin pointed out, “in these conditions, the international security and arms control system is being dismantled, which raises the level of distrust and whips up tension in the region”
According to the Russian defense minister, “the results of today’s meeting once again confirmed the unanimity of approaches of Russian and Belarusian defense ministries to cooperation in the defense sphere”
Sergey Shoigu noted that defense ministries of both countries moved over to planning bilateral military cooperation based on a five-year strategic partnership program
Writing about the Belarusian opposition (BO) can be risky because any expressed negativity toward the opposition leaders is perceived in some quarters as tantamount to supporting dictatorship. Certainly, a healthy opposition is a valuable societal outlet for expressing legitimate disagreement with the authorities. And this is especially true in Belarus, where the electoral outcome officially made public on August 9, 2020, remains in doubt and the post-election protest rallies were notoriously crushed by the government. As of October 2021, there are 812 detainees labeled political prisoners by human rights groups (Spring96.org, October 17). And the Belarusian government has issued a series of draconian laws that open citizens up to charges of “terrorism” simply for subscribing to certain Telegram channels (Naviny, October 14). The absence of any officially tolerated conduits for voicing disagreement with such policies, thus, arguably qualifies the political regime of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka as “dictatorial.”
The government of Belarusian strongman Alyaksandr Lukashenka has shut down independent media, blocked websites, and jailed and tortured journalists in an attempt to stamp out domestic criticism of his often-brutal rule.
Now it may be turning its sights toward readers of the last vestiges of independent media inside the country.
On October 7, the European Parliament (EP) passed a resolution demanding that the European Union (EU) impose the fifth package of economic sanctions on Belarus, including additional sectors, such as metallurgy, woodworking, and chemical. According to the EP, the sanctions should affect “all remaining uncovered state banks and key companies such as Belaruskali [Potassium Company] and Beltelecom [Telecommunications Company]” (Zerkalo, October 7).
The European Parliament’s resolution that condemns Russian-Belarusian integration is an unprecedented example of interference into affairs of sovereign countries, State Secretary of the Union State of Russia and Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev has told TASS.
On September 30, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka gave an hour-and-seven-minutes-long interview to CNN (President.gov.by, September 30). He agreed to speak under the condition that the cable news channel publish a full recording of the interview, which it did. It is difficult to judge how those viewers not deeply immersed in issues related to Belarus perceived the interview; but it seems that Matthew Chance, CNN’s senior international correspondent based in Moscow, fell into the all-too-familiar trap of underrating Lukashenka. This impression does not pass any moral judgment on Lukashenka himself; rather, it reflects the Belarusian leader’s mental agility and communication skills. At the same time, on online social networks, opposition-minded Belarusians set off an avalanche of harsh criticism of Chance, caused by the mere fact that he referred to Lukashenka as “president” (Svaboda.org, October 1).