Why someone is trying to drag Ukraine into the Belarusian presidential campaign battles.
The other day, a famous Belarusian restaurateur Vadim Prokopyev, a vocal critic of incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, uploaded a video where he said that he was in Kyiv, inviting any opponents to this "platform" for further debate.
The address of the renegade restaurateur, proposing that Kyiv be used as an "assembly point for Belarusian protests," was published by a Prague-based Current Time TV channel.
Actually, it would have been possible not to focus special attention on this appeal, which, it would seem, does not create some kind of insane excitement in the information space, if not for one “BUT”. This treatment is like a camouflage trap, a time bomb that has already been launched.
I won't beat around the bush for too long so I'll just note that the relations between Ukraine and Belarus, despite a wide range of all kinds of Russian hybrid insinuations observed over the past six years, remain at a fairly high, trusting level. And this, I must say, depresses the hell out of our hybrid antagonists.
So, the opposition figure from the Belarusian arena surfaces in the capital of Ukraine, at a time when statements keep flowing from Minsk about the attempt of encroachment on the country's sovereignty by Russian intelligence services, foiled by Belarus security agencies. Moreover, it is noted that Russians try to meddle in Belarus elections from openly pro-Russian positions, as well as from camouflaged, allegedly pro-Western platforms. And now, this restaurateur guy comes to Kyiv and suggests making the city a platform for Belarusian protests? We're seeing a kind of a sketch in line with the classical Russian narrative of "Western intervention in Belarus protests in a bid to topple Lukashenko by the Ukrainian scenario."
Of course, such a trick will not add confidence in bilateral relations even at the current stage, and it is possible that Kyiv was in fact chosen as a "platform" precisely for the said purposes. What makes the opinion even more convincing is that it was Current Time that became the main outlet spinning Prokopyev's appeals.
It's the same Current Time where an "independent journalist" (read "media space infiltrator" Katerina Sergatskova earlier published her opuses about the attempt on the life of Adam Osmayev and Amina Okueva.
It's Current Time that published a video of key MH17 downing figure Vladimir Tsemakh's controversial interview, which, as it turned out, had been hanging unnoticed for all these years on the website of Dmitry Rogozin's Rodina party after been taken in 2015 by journalists affiliated with occupation authorities. The interview was doctored in a peculiar way, with interruptions violating its original integrity, with the piece's author, Iryna Romaliyskaya, commenting on what Tsemakh said. In particular, she finishes for Tsemakh the line of his alleged thoughts in parts of the interview that have been bleeped out, presenting this to viewers as a legit version of events.
How about that, Bellingcat and InformNapalm? Although, Irynaa is actually a pretty lucky journalist… it was she who was lucky enough to take an interview with Yuri Matsarsky, who returned to Ukraine from Moscow in 2014 and babbled about the United States having created ISIS and how for this terrorist organization allegedly recruits militants in Ukraine. These boogeyman stories he was channeling including through Katerina Sergatskova, mentioned above.
By the way, a word on Matsarsky ... After all, this is the guy who was allowed to interview the father of Putin's aide Vladislav Surkov back in 2013. That is, do you realize this highest level of access and, most importantly, exclusivity of Current Time reports?
Thus, we can see how through a fugitive restaurateur, a project is being implemented to sow splits in Ukraine-Belarus ties, compromise them and bring in mistrust. Information support to this project is provided by Current Time, a platform funded by American taxpayers, although discredited through the degree of penetration and Russian government-driven bias, which is seen both in reports they publish and people employed there.
But the most dangerous thing in this game is that, if the Russian hybrid scenario toward the removal of Alexander Lukashenko sees success in Belarus, a dozen of media outlets and pseudo-experts will immediately point to the "outpost of the West for the Lukashenko's toppling" in Kyiv.
I should recommend though that these fugitive figures better set up a strong post directly in Moscow, rather than in Kyiv, to be closer to their employer's office on Khoroshevskoe Highway (GRU HQ that is) given that their game is so obvious.
P.S. It took the West more than six years to realize that Russia is a threat to the entire civilized world. But now the West still needs to understand, while its intelligence and security agencies must finally figure out that many of the projects aimed to promote democratic values and fight corruption, funded by U.S. and European taxpayers, are deeply infiltrated by Russian agents. Their anti-Putin rhetoric and the alleged persecution in Russia shouldn't be misleading. In such situations, the Kremlin will always be able to point fingers to the West and say: "We have nothing to do with this. It's you who finance these organizations and these people."