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Why Was Putin So Emphatic about the Plot To Overthrow and Assassinate Belarus President Lukashenko?

April 25 , 2021 (EIRNS)—Russian President Vladimir Putin reserved what were perhaps the sharpest words of his April 21 speech to the Federal Assembly, for the matter of the foiled assassination and coup attempt against Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. Putin began by making the speech’s only direct allusion to the financial declaration of war against Russia issued by President Biden on April 15:

“Everyone in the world seems to be used to the practice of politically motivated, illegal economic sanctions and to certain actors’ brutal attempt to impose their will on others by force. But today, this practice is degenerating into something even more dangerous—I am referring to the recently exposed direct interference in Belarus in an attempt to orchestrate a coup d’état and assassinate the President of that country.”

Putin continued:

“Nobody seems to notice. Everyone pretends nothing is happening.... But the practice of staging coups d’état and planning political assassination, including those of high-ranking officials—well, this goes too far. This is beyond any limits.” Putin then warned that those who stage such provocations “must know that Russia’s response will be asymmetrical, swift and tough. Those behind provocations that threaten the core interests of our security will regret what they have done in a way they have not regretted anything for a long time.”

For anyone wondering about the vehemence of Putin’s response to the Belarus developments, a brief glance at a map is useful. The country bordering western Russia on the south is Georgia: there was a failed coup d’état there by pro-NATO forces in 2008. The country bordering Russia on the west is Ukraine: A successful pro-Nazi coup by NATO and the U.S. was carried out there in 2014. The country bordering Russia on the west, just slightly farther north, is Belarus: a failed coup by pro-NATO forces was just stymied there in 2021.

Belarus President Lukashenko told the official BelTA news agency this weekend, according to a report in TASS, that $10 million had been allocated for his assassination. “In Lukashenko’s words, the conspirators had drawn up a few scenarios. First, they plotted to assassinate the President at the May 9 parade. Next, they considered an attack on the presidential motorcade, so they even bought grenade launchers and brought them to Belarus. Lukashenko continued that under the third scenario, armed people were tasked to attack the presidential residence in the countryside.” Lukashenko went on that the conspirators planned to black out Minsk, call for a military uprising, and launch a civil war. He emphasized that such a cyberattack could be carried out “only at the state level,” since a handful of hackers would not be able to do the job.

Lukashenko explained that foreign-backed opposition forces

“were supposed to allegedly come to power here for 24 hours and declare that we are in power. What for? To ask NATO to send troops into Belarus and to deploy them on the eastern border near Smolensk. It was a springboard—I have always told you—to attack Russia. It was the first step. Even though they would deny it, today we see that it is true,”

said Lukashenko.

Asked about rumors that he had discussed with Putin the establishment of Russian military bases in Georgia, Lukashenko replied:

“We talked no bases. Why should Belarus set up a base?... Our area of responsibility—of the Belarusian army—is the west. If there is an act of aggression against us, we have enough forces to contain it at first while Russia is rolling out in the rear. They have two or three armies there to back up the Belarusian army in that direction. That is our strategy. What do these bases have to do with that?”

‘The Spirit of the Elbe’

As the world faces such grave dangers of renewed warfare, both military and economic, the Schiller Institute NYC Chorus performed a magnificent concert on Sunday, April 25, the 76th anniversary of the “Spirit of the Elbe,” the day that American and Soviet troops met at the Elbe River at Torgau, Germany and joined to put a rapid end to World War II. The concert, “Beethoven’s Credo: Believe in the Future, a World Without War,” was dedicated to renewing that “Spirit of the Elbe,” which is much needed today.  In that spirit, we urge you to register for the Schiller Institute’s May 8 online conference “The Moral Collapse of the Trans-Atlantic World Cries Out for a New Paradigm.”

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