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Belarus. Not for political discussion please


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An interesting development in Belarus that may have ramifications for the conflict in Ukraine. Depending on what Moscow makes of this a neighbouring country could become embroiled. BF might well want to consider looking at the Belorussian army as a possible belligerant in 2017....

 

http://www.ibtimes.com/scared-ukraine-war-belarus-strongman-lukashenko-mulls-ditching-russia-1801070

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He is playing both sides, trying to sell his support for the highest prise. Realistically he can't really ditch Russia, as without Russian support he won't stay in power (his youngest son, who he wishes to inherit his position certainly won't), due to the externally sponsored opposition (which has been cracked down recently, much to the European displeasure).

 

That considered I would assume that he would stay neutral in any active Russian engagement in Ukraine, maybe allowing some logistics to go through Belorussian lands. If Belorussia does engage in some sort of conflict in Ukraine - it would be somewhat better than the Ukrainian forces in my opinion (as I seriously doupt large scale modernisation/reform in the current and likely future environment), but not by a large margin. This margin would mainly come from good training, good standards of maintenance and what not.

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Just recently I read reports that police in Belarus had detected evidence of infiltration of Kremlin-instigated faux 'separatist' Russian nationalists into their eastern borderlands. Could eventually be a replay of Georgia and Ukraine all over again. What happens in Belarus has little to do with Lukashenko's position because Lukashenko isn't the one steering events on the border.

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Unless there is a "Belarussian spring" I dont see much changing. It's been four years since I visited. Minsk is like a mini Moscow. A lot of the streets are Russian named streets. Frunzesky(sic?) subway stop named after a famous Russian general. There is a Red Square. There is even a Gorky Park. Busts of Lenin are everywhere. They share a lot. And there is still a high security state. You cannot move to Minsk unless you have permission. The U.S. Embassy is only allowed a skeleton staff.

Russian cheap gas subsidies, among other things, help keep Lukachenko in power. Uprisings have occurred but were brutally beat down. Last Dictatorhip is right.

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LUCASWILLEN05,

 

I seriously doubt Putin would let such a thing pass. He's got troops there already, is building an airbase, and Belarus makes a terrific springboard for attacking Ukraine, as seen here. I got excited when I saw this listed on YT (with a normal looking keyframe), but if this is the state of Putin's tech, even Belarus is likely safe.

 

 

ikalugin,

 

This video of a July 3, 2014 Independence Day Parademilitary in Belarus indicates you are, if what we're seeing is representative, off by decades. Definitely not ancient stuff mass fielded in the1980s! Tor M, Iskander, Msta-S, late model T-72 tanks w/ERA not only in the usual places but atop the turret roof, the SAMs/ATBMs ASCC designated SA-10, SA-11, SA-12.

 

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

Edited by John Kettler
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Here's what's happened in the past:

Lukashenko has delicately balanced a very close relationship with Russia in a way that doesn't overtly tick off his Western neighbors. Russian leadership has understood that this is out of necessity and, so long as Belarus was a loyal ally and too strong to control (Lukashenko is solidly in control of Belarus), basically not tried to interfere.

Here's what's happening now:

Lukashenko is not at all pleased with what's going on in Ukraine. There's a significant portion of Belarus which Russia (or groups within) could try and claim as it's own, as is happening in Ukraine and the Baltics. Lukashenko does NOT want Green Men any more than Ukraine wanted them.

The Belarus economy is overly dependent upon the Russian economy and currency. Both have taken a deep dive and therefore Belarus has also suffered. Russia has also used the barely started Customs Union to put unilateral penalties on some Belarusian trade into Russia, claiming the goods are simply repackaged Western goods that Russia has banned (probably true to some extent). This has caused Lukashenko to take certain actions which are, as far as I can tell, unprecedented in post Soviet relations. One such action is to conduct large amounts of trade with Ukraine in Ukrainian Hryvnia instead of Rubles.

http://www.interfax.com/newsinf.asp?pg=2&id=563937

Short of it is relations between Russia and Belarus are going in a very different direction than they have in the past, but Belarus still needs Russia and will always need Russia unless Lukashenko is ready to give up being an autocrat. Experts think that is unlikely.

Here's what is possible in the future:

Even if relations with Russia get to the breaking point, I doubt there would be any conflict in Belarus that would be directly tied to CMBS in any meaningful way. Worst case is that Russia pushes through northern Belarus to get a land corridor to Kaliningrad. You wouldn't see Belarusian forces fighting in Ukraine.

Therefore, what is happening with Belarus these days is very interesting, but not relevant to CMBS in a way significant to the gameplay.

As for Belarus' military, Lukashenko has spent very little on it over the years. He has no fear of NATO attacking and until now hasn't had any concerns about Russia invading. Militaries aren't a good investment if you don't think they're ever going to be used. Which is why Belarus' military spending for 2015 was increased for the first time in a very long time (I don't have the numbers).

Steve

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Unless there is a "Belarussian spring" I dont see much changing. It's been four years since I visited. Minsk is like a mini Moscow. A lot of the streets are Russian named streets. Frunzesky(sic?) subway stop named after a famous Russian general. There is a Red Square. There is even a Gorky Park. Busts of Lenin are everywhere. They share a lot. And there is still a high security state. You cannot move to Minsk unless you have permission. The U.S. Embassy is only allowed a skeleton staff.

Russian cheap gas subsidies, among other things, help keep Lukachenko in power. Uprisings have occurred but were brutally beat down. Last Dictatorhip is right.

Minsk is nothing like Moscow. I'm not understanding the Frunze non-connection. He wasn't just a "Russian General" he was leader of the Minsk people's militia and the first elected leader of Beylorussian Soviet. Having the unfortunate experience of spending a lot of time in both cities I can assure you that Minsk is in no way a mini Moscow. I'm not sure of a red square in Minsk, I know there is a Victory Square, but the main square of ancient Rus cities was often "red square" at the time the word meant beautiful not red.

Pskov is one of the many Russian cities with a Kremlin and there are statues of Lenin everywhere, this does not make Pskov a mini Moscow.

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Scope for an interesting "Second Front" to the war in Ukraine hereSometime in mid to late June 2017there is a coup attempt/revolution in Minsk resulting in civil war. .Putin orders Russian forces  to intervene. Fearing an atempt to turn the flank of theiir position in Ukraine NATO forces are sent into Bellorussia. This force might well contain strong European elements such as Polsh and German.. 

 

Putin escalates further by invading the Baltic States i early July to "assist" the Russian minorities there (in reality of course he is looking to occupy some NATO territory to use as negotiating chips) More European NATO forces with some US units are deployed to defend the Baltic States.

 

In the south, if Russian forces get so far, there might be an invasion of Moldova or even Romania, again as a wayfor Moscow to pile on the political and military pressure (this variant s very much part of the Russian Win branch)

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ikalugin,

 

I think some definition of terms is in order here. Per the Tor Wiki, it was "accepted into service" on March 19, 1986. Does that mean it had passed its state tests and was declared good to go--as in production could commence? Does it mean it attained IOC (small quantities in the field)? The real question is when it was first available in real quantity in the front line forces--replaced the Romb/SA-8? That's what really interests me. I can tell you for a fact that as of late June of 1989, the system now know to be Tor consisted of a paragraph and maybe a very blurry pic as the SA-X-15 in my SECRET (with add-ons) threat pubs. I think, therefore, you're being rather dismissive in terms of the age of the systems being shown in Belarus.

 

Simllarly, Msta-S "entered service" in 1989. yet even with all the money pumped into force modernization, the transition from the 2S1 and 2S3 still isn't complete and FAS doesn't know when it will be, so how should we score your dismissive remark which includes Msta-S? 

 

It doesn't help that Russian OPSEC has no consistency. The Kremlin parades the first pre-production weapons one time, years before the production versions hit the field, let alone in quantity. Other times, a system goes into service and isn't paraded for years after it's operational and has been for a long time. And there are also weapons never paraded, such as range of antisensor and hard kill laser weapons, yet the Russians, as I've shown, deployed a full blown HEL into the combat zone in Afghanistan. I got a back channel report on it to the effect it was simply phenomenal when it came to clearing a field of fire! 

 

I think a more rational approach to looking at the "goodness," if you will, of deployed weaponry comes down, info transparency permitting, to who has what and how much relative to own force in terms of Category rating. I maintain Tor/SA-15 is a weapon of Cat A units, with Cat B having Romb/SA-8 (Belarus paraded SA-8b in one of the vids) and Cat C Kub/SA-6. The same can be done with SPA and A. Obviously, Msta-S (and likely towed version) is Cat A, the 2S1 and 2S3 are Cat B, and the D-30 and D-20 are Cat C. Someone else is going to have to speak to those tanks, but if the Russian Army is still operating lots of T-72s, and it is, then those Belarus T-72B(suffix)s look Cat A to me. In some ways, ERA coverage, they're better protected than the late model Russia only ones seen in Ukraine. Cat B for Belarus is the T-62, and Cat C is the T-55. Both of the latter tanks are in storage. 

 

You may wish to rethink your argument. 

 

Regards,

 

John Kettler

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