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Vitaly Portnikov: How Many Days Will Lukashenka Last?

Vitaly Portnikov: How Many Days Will Lukashenka Last?
VITALY PORTNIKOV

Without Putin, his own cronies will strangle him with a silk cord.

Events in the post-Soviet space are now reminiscent of the "Arab Spring" - this was the analogy made by journalist and TV presenter Vitaly Portnikov.

According to him, Russia is now "Egypt" and Vladimir Putin is Mubarak.

"I'm sure Russia is next, but I don't know when. And I don't know how it will end. It is quite possible that the regime will hold out. But the point is that this regime is just as ineffective, because it is built on the same model. Plutocracy, comprador bourgeoisie, theft, no social lifts, no prospects, social problems, aggressiveness", he said in an interview with ukrlife.tv.

In Portnikov's opinion, Russia will have no one to help it in the way it itself supported Aliaksandr Lukashenka's regime in protest-ridden Belarus.

"Lukashenka has held out because there is Russia. And now take Russia out of the game and say: here's no Russia, or Putin said "oh, I'm not interested in this Lukashenka". How many days will Lukashenka last? His own cronies will strangle him with a silk cord during the next meeting. He will disappear if Russia is not there. The question arises: who will help Russia itself? Which CSTO troops? Maybe Belarusian, Vitsebsk paratroopers will rescue Putin from the people's anger?" he said.

The journalist believes that Russia on its own is unlikely to retain the current regime in the event of a popular uprising.

"We have become convinced in Kazakhstan that the gulf between the power structures and the people is not as big as in Belarus. We do not know in Russia what the abyss is in different regions of the country. In some regions it can be immense and law enforcers can act as praetorians. And in other places it can be insignificant, and in that case law enforcers can side with the rebellious people. And then it may not be just a power struggle any more but splitting of the country. We do not know what scale this crisis can reach. But it must be seen that this creeping Arab spring will reach Russia," he said.

Portnikov stressed that the point is not whether the regime in Russia will hold out, but rather that Putin, when he goes to war with the protesting Russians, will obviously have no time for the Ukrainians, the Belarusians and the Kazakhs.