Tuesday, 28 March 2017

No Turning Back: Belorussian Security Forces Arrest Maidan Provocateurs

In our recent publications on Belorussia, we've discussed the protest actions known as the “Sponger Marches.” Tomorrow, March 25th, pro-Western forces will hold a “Day of Will” or “Freedom Day” which previous marches have served as a kind of rehearsal for. But events in recent days have made not so much civil protest actions as shows of force more relevant.

According to reports from Belorussia, around 200 participants and organizers of the “Sponger Marches” have been arrested, plus 26 leaders and activists from Dmitry Dashkevich’s Young Front and the latter’s armed wing, the White Legion organization led by Miroslav Lozovsky.

White Legion has seized a significant number of firearms and bladed weapons, and also wields manuals on fighting in urban environments. Although White Legion has officially long since ceased to exist, it still holds training exercises. The famous Vayar paramilitary organization, which is close to Ukrainian neo-Nazis, also trains with weapons, and many of whose members have been through fighting in Donbass on the side of Ukrainian Nazi battalions, has been subjected to repression.

The Belorussian KGB stated today that those arrested were preparing armed provocations for Freedom Day. On Belorussian TV, intelligence officers remarked that we are dealing with “followers of the Ukrainian National Assembly-Ukrainian Self-Defense organization with whom White Legion has closely cooperated since the ’90’s, as well as participants in military operations in Eastern Ukraine as part of nationalist groups.”

More juicy details are gradually being revealed. Among those arrested are several employees of Belorussia’s own security agencies, including a retired special forces officer and deputy officer of the department for ideology, police, etc. The arrested have explained their possession of weapons as due to expectation that activists marching on Freedom Day would be attacked by pro-Russian activists. As our friends in Belorussia have relayed, in informal talks the opposition is saying that all the arrests of nationalists are the handiwork of Moscow, and that supposedly all the arrested nationalists are law-abiding citizens whose arms were either legally registered as collectibles or were planted.

Another high profile arrest was that of the leader of the Patriot youth military-sports club, Nikolay Mikhalkov, who has been named as a former special forces officer. Mikhalkov can be seen on a photo flaunting a peaked cap with a badge of the Belorussian collaborationists during the Great Patriotic War

[Posted at the SpookyWeather blog, March 28th, 2017.]

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