Tag Archives: Belarus

Did the Kremlin launch an invasion to guarantee Putin’s succession?

Independent Russia has yet to come up with a way of transferring power other than war

By Dmytro Babachanakh  Published 5-4-2022 by openDemocracy

Russian President Vladimir Putin has been in power since 2000 | Image: Kremlin.ru

Much has been written about Russia’s war against Ukraine and yet for many, one fundamental question remains unanswered: why did Vladimir Putin decide to launch a full-scale invasion in the first place?

When the Kremlin annexed Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula and occupied the Ukrainian Donbas region in 2014, the explanation for its actions seemed straightforward. In response to Ukraine’s revolution that removed a pro-Russian president, Russia had sought to gain complete control of Crimea and turn it into a military base, weakening Ukraine and stalling the country’s integration with NATO and the EU. Continue reading

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A wave of grassroots humanitarianism is supporting millions of Ukrainian refugees

Women offering Ukrainian refugees a place to stay in Berlin on Mar. 4, 2022.
Fabian Sommer/picture alliance via Getty Images

Elizabeth Cullen Dunn, Indiana University

Along the Poland-Ukraine border, Polish volunteers have been driving Ukrainian refugees to local train stations, or directly to cities like Warsaw.

Other Poles are doing their volunteer work online or at train stations and airports, matching Ukrainian refugees with perhaps the most generous volunteers of all: those who are hosting some of the more than 2 million Ukrainians had fled their beseiged country, in their own homes.

The largest refugee flow in Europe since the Yugoslav wars of the 1990s – has elicited an enormous volunteer humanitarian effort in Europe, particularly in Poland, as well as in Germany, Moldova and Romania. Continue reading

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Putin’s attack on Ukraine isn’t going as planned. What will happen next?

With an unexpectedly strong Ukrainian resistance, harsh global sanctions and low morale among Russian troops, we face an unpredictable few months

By Paul Rogers.  Published 3-4-2022 by openDemocracy

Photo: The Resistor Sister/Twitter

Nine days into Russia’s assault on Ukraine and it is clear the Kremlin’s original plan has been derailed. The aim was to move rapidly on the capital, Kyiv, seizing the international airport to airlift troops in, then link with ground forces moving in from Belarus, occupy the city and take down the government in, at most, 72 hours.

From the start, Russia would make a concerted effort to take control of the Ukrainian air space, mainly with missile attacks on air bases, air defences and logistics support. This, combined with troops spread across the whole country, would induce a fear factor to help cower the people of Ukraine into submission, rather like the ‘shock and awe’ approach used by the US at the start of the Iraq War. Continue reading

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Putin is about to start the most senseless war in history

A view from Russia: no sanctions will stop Moscow, and its actions will drive more countries into NATO’s arms

By Greg Yudin  Puvlished 2-22-2022 by openDemocracy

Vladimir_Putin. Photo: Kremlin/CC

In the near future, a big war will begin – a war that we have not seen in the lifetime of my generation, and perhaps the previous generation too.

The Russian president, Vladimir Putin, last night formally recognised the separatist ‘People’s Republics’ in Donetsk and Luhansk in eastern Ukraine as independent territories. Now, he has ordered so-called ‘peacekeeping forces’ into the Donbas region.

Meanwhile, on the borders of Ukraine, Russia has gathered an army of 75% of all available forces. Belarus has officially confirmed that, following extensive exercises, Russian troops are not leaving Belarus. A few kilometres from Ukraine, tanks sit in Russian forests and fields – as can be seen in videos filmed in Russia’s Belgorod, Kursk and Bryansk regions, as well as in Belarus’ Homyel region. This military force is fully prepared for a large-scale operation – and is already in position to attack. Continue reading

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The Cold War, modern Ukraine and the spread of democracy in the former Soviet bloc countries

Russian President Vladimir Putin attends the opening ceremony of the 2022 Winter Olympics in Beijing.
Alexei Druzhinin / Sputnik/AFP via Getty Images

Michael De Groot, Indiana University

As Russia masses forces and equipment on Ukraine’s border, international tensions over a possible invasion intensify almost daily. Ukraine has emerged as ground zero of what some pundits have dubbed a new Cold War between Russia and the West.

In my view as a Cold War historian, this comparison distorts the Cold War and misrepresents the stakes of the current crisis.

Yet reviewing the Cold War is important because its legacy shapes Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policy toward Ukraine. Continue reading

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2021 Saw Record ‘Surge’ of 488 Journalists Detained Worldwide, Report Reveals

“The extremely high number of journalists in arbitrary detention is the work of three dictatorial regimes.”

By Jessica Corbett.  Published 12-16-2021 by Common Dreams

The president of IJAVN Pham Chi Dung (right), its vice president Nguyen Tuong Thuy (left), and its editor Le Huu Minh Tuan (center, back) are seen during their trial in Ho Chi Minh City’s people’s court in Vietnam. (Photo: Luat Khoa/RSF)

Reporters Without Borders announced Thursday that this year has featured a 20% surge in the number of journalists arbitrarily detained worldwide, documenting at least 488 cases, the highest figure since the global press freedom group began its annual roundup in 1995.

There are also at least 65 journalists being held hostage around the world, according to the group, also known by its French name, Reporters Sans Frontières (RSF). Continue reading

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Incarceration of Journalists Hits All-Time High Amid ‘Growing Intolerance of Independent Reporting’

“This is the sixth year in a row that CPJ has documented record numbers of journalists imprisoned around the world.”

By Kenny Stancil.  Published 12-9-2021 by Common Dreams

Mumia Abu-Jamal is an imprisoned journalist, a native of Philadelphia, and author of ten books penned in prison. He’s been in prison for 39 years. Photo: Joe Piette/flickr/CC

Nearly 300 journalists are currently languishing behind bars around the globe—an all-time high in recorded history—according to a new report published Thursday by the Committee to Protect Journalists, which described 2021 as “an especially bleak year for defenders of press freedom.”

The U.S.-based nonprofit’s annual prison census found that 293 reporters were incarcerated worldwide as of December 1, up from the previous record-high of 280 last year. Continue reading

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Trouble on the Belarus-Poland border: What you need to know about the migrant crisis manufactured by Belarus’ leader

Hopes for a better future?
Maxim Guchek/BELTA/AFP via Getty Images

Tatsiana Kulakevich, University of South Florida

Using migrants as pawns is perhaps nothing new. But rarely do you have a situation in which one country encourages a migrant crisis on its own border for nakedly geopolitical reasons.

That is what appears to be happening at the Poland-Belarus border, where violence has broken out between Polish border guards and Middle Eastern migrants who traveled there via Belarus, and who are set on reaching the European Union. Meanwhile, there is growing concern over those camped out in freezing conditions. Continue reading

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Nobel Peace Prize for journalists serves as reminder that freedom of the press is under threat from strongmen and social media

When the reporter becomes the story.
AP Photo/Bullit Marquez

 

Kathy Kiely, University of Missouri-Columbia

Thirty-two years ago next month, I was in Germany reporting on the fall of the Berlin Wall, an event then heralded as a triumph of Western democratic liberalism and even “the end of history.”

But democracy isn’t doing so well across the globe now. Nothing underscores how far we have come from that moment of irrational exuberance than the powerful warning the Nobel Prize Committee felt compelled to issue on Oct. 8, 2021 in awarding its coveted Peace Prize to two reporters. Continue reading

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A feminist blueprint for saving democracy in the US – and beyond

If Trump refuses to step down after the election, we’ll need to unite, mobilise and resist. Feminists from Belarus to Sudan can show us how.

By Yifat Susskind  Published 10-29-2020 by openDemocracy

A group of women link arms, shielding protestors from armed security forces who stand ready to detain them. Thousands of women, many dressed head to toe in white and holding flowers, line the streets in “chains of solidarity”.

These are the “Women in White”, who have mobilised in unprecedented numbers in Belarus, calling for the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko after his disputed re-election this August. Continue reading

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