Sanctioning Progress: The Economic War on Belarus

While the latest reports from Greece indicate that the country’s supermarket shelves could soon be out of food stocks and humanitarian war rhetoric bellows across the Eastern Mediterranean towards the terror-stricken Levant, Europe’s degenerate oligarchs are silently waging another war against a sovereign European state: the Republic of Belarus.

The European Union imposed sanctions on the Republic of Belarus in January of last year and further sanctions this year, due to the failed attempt by the West to install a mob of putschists in power after the re-election of Alexander Lukashenko as president in December 2010.

The sanctions are, of course, punishment for the Belarusian government’s arrest of hundreds of rioters after they attacked the Belarusian parliament buildings with iron bars, bottles, screw drivers and other weapons.

Arresting criminals attempting to install a Western puppet regime constitutes an unpardonable violation of “human rights” according to the insane kleptocrats in Brussels and Washington. Like all criminal gangs, the Western-backed putschists began to fight among themselves even before the attempted seizure of parliament! The same in-fighting and criminality has characterized the NATO hordes that took over Libya last year and the current terrorists attempting to seize power in Damascus.

It was the second time since 2006 that a Western-backed “colour revolution” failed to take effect in the Republic of Belarus. The dismal failure of NATO-fomented regime change in Minsk has driven Europe’s delusional oligarchs to despair.

Sanctions and threats are all that remain of NATO’s indefatigable desire to extend its power to the Russian border.  In spite of the fact that the EU sanctions are illegal according to international law, the restrictions they impose on Western European companies eager to trade with a robust and stable Eastern European economy are a cogent example of the madness that currently reigns among Europe’s ruling elite.

As European economies tether on the edge of collapse, sabotage, as well as economic and media warfare, is waged on the only government in Europe that is still providing full employment for its citizens through a strong industrial production base, while increasing its exports and ensuring a standard of living for the worker that has continued to rise since Alexander Lukashenko promised to rid the post-Soviet republic of corruption, oligarchs and predatory capitalism in 1994.

Belarus is probably the only country in Europe that still invests more of its GDP in the education, health care and housing of its people than it does in zombie banks, rogue financial institutions and foreign wars of conquest. The story of Belarus and its survival in the chaos of the post-Soviet space is one every trade unionist should learn. It is the story of a people who said no to unregulated privatization, no to an economy based solely on greed and inequality, yes to education, yes to health care and yes to a future of full employment for its people.

That is why the only news about Belarus the trans-Atlantic elite want you to hear is bad news; news about “human rights” activists paid by America’s National Endowment for Democracy( a front organization for the CIA) and arrested by the “regime”; people like Alias Bialiatsky of the “human rights” centre Viasna, a member of the Féderation International de Droits de l’Homme( FIDH),of which Bialiatsky is the vice-president.

The FIDH supplied false information to the Human Rights Council of the United Nations in 2011, leading to the bombing and destruction of the Libyan Arab Jamahirya, Africa’s richest state, and the lynching and assassination of its revolutionary leader Muammar Gaddafi; acts of fascism which President Lukashenko rightfully compared to the brutality of Nazi Germany.

The North Atlantic Terrorist Organisation (NATO) will not be able to treat the people of Belarus to the version of “humanitarian” bombing it unleashed on Libya, but the possibility of using the “Salvadorian option” of  death squads and armed gangs, which has been pursued in Syria since March 17th 2011, was openly admitted to the London Times by the US ambassador Micheal Kozak to Belarus in 2000 where he said that in Belarus the American “objective and to some degree methodology are the same” as in Nicaragua.

Reagan’s covert 1980s Contra-war against the Sandinista government of Nicaragua resulted in the deaths of thirty thousand people.

The failure of copious fake NED-funded “opposition” media outlets, phony demonstrations and attempted coups could yet prompt Washington and Brussels to opt for destabilization through the funding and training of terrorist gangs as in Syria. But this is unlikely to come in the following months as NATO undertakes its attempted conquest of Syria.

Leaving the Oligarchs Behind

Meanwhile, Belarus continues to conduct peaceful relations with all its neighbours, signing extensive bilateral agreements with emerging economies such as China, Bangladesh and Vietnam, and expanding its export market in Latin America where it has agreed to supply Cuba with new buses and technical and medical supplies, Venezuela with agricultural and medical equipment together with the construction of thousands of new social housing units.

Virtually unknown in Western Europe, Alexander Lukashenko enjoys considerable prestige in left-wing Latin American countries. He received the Order of José Marti from Fidel Castro in 2000 for his achievement in preserving what was best of the USSR, and President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela has described Belarus as a “model state”.

The inauguration of the Eurasian Union in 2012 has hammered another nail in the coffin of the moribund EU, as the geopolitical chessboard moves to Central and Eastern Asia. In a multi-polar world with its centre in Eurasia, there will be no place for trans-Atlantic plutocrats.

The integration of Belarus, Russia and Kazakstan, together with the strengthening of ties with China through the Shanghai Co-operation Organisation, poses a serious threat to NATO’s plans for global domination.

Belarus is perfectly positioned to play a leading role in this integration as the portal to Eurasia.  Although significant privatization has taken place in Belarus since the dissolution of the USSR, the vast majority of enterprises remain in public control. This is in contrast to Russia where predatory oligarchs have reduced millions to dire poverty.

President Vladimir Putin made his first foreign visit to Belarus on 31st of May where he made the following joint statement with the President Alexander Lukashenko:

In accordance with the purposes and principles of the UN Charter and based on the value of diversity of ways of progressive development, as well as recognizing the right of peoples to determine their own path of social and economic development, Belarus and Russia will coordinate efforts to counter attempts to interfere in the internal affairs of the Union State and the Common Economic Space member- states, putting pressure on them by the introduction of restrictive measures and sanctions.

The defense of the UN Charter sent a clear message to the war-mongers, law-breakers of the NATO states that the Eurasian Union would assume its responsibilities in restoring international law, peace and diplomacy.

Relations between Russia and Belarus have improved considerably since the re-election of Vladimir Putin. If Russia is to survive it inevitable confrontation with the West, it will have to follow the economic model of Belarus, as a nation run by oligarchs and private interests will never have the power and unity to defeat NATO. Russians should know this from their own history, for as David Stahl amply proves in his book ‘Operation Barbarossa and Germany’s defeat in the East’, it was the productive and organizational superiority of the socialist economic system which enabled the Soviet Union to defeat Nazi Germany single-handedly during the Second World War, a fact right-wing Cold war historians have repeatedly distorted.

Lithuania and Latvia to Follow Belarus?

Other European neighbours have also expressed admiration for Belarus’s socially-oriented economy.

Latvia’s former Minister for Economics Ingrida Latimir Udra told the Pro100 TV channel on May 23rd:

In 2004 there was no alternative to the EU. However, if politicians had started thinking about it in 1991 when we separated from the USSR and when the USSR collapsed, we would have had alternatives. We would have been developing like Belarus.

Belarusians are developing their industry. They produce tractors, machines, TV sets. And they trade. They receive foreign investments despite any political disagreements. Even Americans invest there. They are building up their national capital and it is not bad.

That a former minister of an EU state should make such an astonishing admission shows that sanctions and aggression against the Republic of Belarus are destined to fail in the long term. Many business people in Latvia are unhappy with the EU’s decision to continue with sanctions against Belarus and some have called for 1 billion Euro from Brussels to compensate for the exorbitant rise in freight and cargo costs caused by the sanctions.

The presidents of Lithuania and Latvia, Dalia Gribauskaite and Andris Berzins, made a joint declaration in Vilnius on 22 March stating that the sanctions against Belarus would adversely affect business on both sides of the border.  The Latvia and Lithuanian economies have been reduced to abject debt slavery to the EU and the IMF. These economies will die a slow death or else gravitate towards a Belarusian-lead Eurasian Union.


The obsessive media campaign against the Republic of Belarus regularly resorts to the most absurd conspiracy theories to create the image of a dark, totalitarian dictator “oppressing his own people”.  After the terrorist attacks in Minsk on April 11th,  2011, paranoid conspiracy theories abounded in the Western press suggesting that the bombs could be the result of an elaborate government plot, a pretext to “clamp down on opposition”.

As in the terrorist blasts that have recently rocked Syria, there is little, if any, sympathy shown by the corporate press for the innocent victims. The two men convicted for the Minsk Metro were proven guilty in a court of law, through video footage, confessions and witnesses. There was no evidence of torture, ill treatment or fraud.

Yet one mendacious propagandist in the Irish Times claimed that President Lukashenko, “approved the execution of two young men who were convicted of planting a deadly bomb in the Minsk metro, despite a paucity of evidence and suggestions the blast was used as a pretext to clamp down on growing anti-Lukashenko dissent.”

How ironic that “suggestions” and conspiracy theories regarding terrorist attacks in countries resisting Western hegemony are perfectly normal and routine in the mainstream press, in spite of the absence of evidence, while no interrogation, speculation or investigation is ever tolerated by the same press agencies when terrorism strikes Western states.

The fact of the matter is that real opposition politicians and media play an active role in Belarusian society. The Belarusian government has no need to clamp down on dissent, as ‘dissidents’ in Belarus constitute no more of a threat to the government than Trotskyist or anarchist groups threaten the governments of the EU. In fact, the ridiculousness of the Western-funded opposition in Belarus has only served to strengthen support for Lukashenko.

The problem for the Western leaders is that they could never hope to enjoy the confidence and support Lukashenko has in Belarus.

The reason working men and women in Western Europe never hear about the achievements of the socially-oriented industrial economy of Belarus is because the editors of the Western newspapers and TV channels are far too busy attending secret meetings with the captains of finance and other class-peers, in order to co-ordinate their next collective assault on the rights of working people all over the world through austerity, war and a vast quotidian tapestry of hypocrisy, deceit and lies.

Gearóid Ó Colmáin is a journalist and political analyst based in Paris. His work focuses on globalization, geopolitics and class struggle. He is a regular contributor to Dissident Voice, Global Research, Russia Today International, Press TV, Sputnik Radio France, Sputnik English, Al Etijah TV, Sahar TV, and has also appeared on Al Jazeera and Al Mayadeen. He writes in English, Gaelic, and French. Read other articles by Gearóid, or visit Gearóid's website.