14 Million Euro for a Coup

BERLIN/MINSK/MOSKAU |

BERLIN/MINSK/MOSKAU (Own report) - Minsk and Moscow are warning other countries against obvious plans for staging a coup in Belarus. In an unusual announcement both countries strongly criticized ,,the reinforcement of a campaign directed against Belarus by major western states''. The warning is aimed at the German and US-American authorship of detailed plans of diversion, openly violating international law. The encirclement of Belarus by the media, through numerous foreign stations, aimed at destabilizing the country, is an element in the preparations for a coup. Berlin is supporting the establishment of an ,,exile-university''for the Belarussian opposition, due to open soon. Even the costs for the coup program have already been calculated. Hans-Georg Wieck, former chief of the German foreign intelligence service and CSCE ambassador to Belarus, makes an estimate of ,,approx. 14,2 million Euros annually''for the coup sponsored from abroad (the ,,program for the promotion of a political alternative in Belarus''). As a high-ranking German diplomat predicts, Minsk will fall to the West ,,in five years, at the latest''.

Berlin, Brussels and Washington significantly re-enforced their pressure for a coup in recent weeks. On April 16, the EU-Foreign ministers accused the Belarussian government of becoming a dictatorial regime. Following her meeting with the Belarussian opposition in Vilnius on April 21, US Secretary of State, Rice stated that in next year's presidential elections, a transition of power must take place. Already on March 18, the Lithuanian government had organized an ,,international workshop'', at which ,,130 representatives''of the EU, of EU-member states, of ,,NGO's''and of the Belarussian opposition discussed the organization and financing of concrete interference projects. 1)The ,,workshop''was subsequent to a meeting in Vilnius, at which the German Bertelsmann Foundation ,,in cooperation with the foreign ministry of Lithuania''elaborated a strategy paper for the overthrow of the government in Minsk.

,,Free Belarus''

The establishment of an ,,exile-university''for the young western-oriented elite of Belarus is one element of the measures being promoted by the Bertelsmann-Foundation. Last year the Minsk government had shut down a private institute ( ,,European Humanities University''/EHU), accusing it of working in the service of western interventionist interests. Anatoli Michailow, former EHU Rector and laureate of a high German state award, had conferred with the Lithuanian Prime Minister, Brazauskas on April 6, concerning the establishment of an ,,exile EHU''in Vilnius to be inaugurated July 9. EU financial support is expected. Already in July 2004, the German SPD politician, Gesine Schwan, and the diplomat Hans-Georg Wieck had proclaimed, that the goal should be the resuscitation (of the EHU) in a ,,free Belarus''.

,,Back to Europe''

The mounting threats of a coup are applying increased pressure on the Belarussian administration. Last week the nation's Supreme Court shut down a so-called independent public opinion research institute, whose director, Oleg Manaev, had recently declared that ,,orange perspectives''à la Kiev are ,,realistic''for Belarus. Manaev, whose study, ,,For the Development of Democracy in Belarus''was highly praised by the EU representative in Minsk, in late 2004 2), caters preferably to western media with his analyses. Two years ago, this scientist, held a professorship at the Institute of Journalism in Dortmund (Germany), financed by the Erich-Brost-Foundation. The Foundation, named after the founder of the German journal, ,,Westdeutsche Allgemeine Zeitung''(WAZ), Erich Brost, is a department of the Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation, which is close to the ruling SPD. The Friedrich-Ebert-Foundation has been intensively engaged in Belarus for quite a some time. Manaev led a ,,workshop'', in February 2003, in which numerous ,,scientists, strategists, diplomats and journalists''discussed ,,how foreign media, through their reporting on Belarus, could contribute to influencing European policy-makers (...) to bring Belarus back into Europe.'' 3)

Working structures

Alongside Manaev, Hans-Georg Wieck also participated in the ,,workshop''. Wieck had been the director of the German foreign intelligence service (BND) from 1985 to 1990. He subsequently was appointed to Georgia, where he served as ,,counselor''to the former prime minister, Shevardnaze. Between 1997 and 2001, he placed his professional experience at the disposal of the CSCE, leading the CSCE-observation group in Minsk. He looked after the bitterly divided opposition to the Belarussian prime minister, Aleksander Lukashenko. Wieck is since a member of the advisory council of the German-Belarussian Society, which claims to serve the ,,promotion of a better understanding between Germany and Belarus''. The former director of foreign intelligence recently produced a program aimed at ,,establishing capable alternative political working structures''to have on hand for the right moment in Belarus. 4)

A Broad Coalition

As Wieck wrote, the ,,radio programs in foreign countries (...) 'Racija' (Poland) and 'Baltic Waves' (Lithuania) (...) have to be extended to serve as free Belarus stations abroad with nationwide reception''. Simultaneously, Russian TV stations should ,,be paid''to broadcast ,,programs of the Belarussian political and social opposition'', ,,produced outside of Belarus (Poland, Lithuania, Germany).''Furthermore the EU should organize ,,conferences and seminaries outside Belarus, with the participation of the Belarussians (political and social opposition)'', in order to initiate ,,the establishment of a broad coalition of political parties''. These measures could serve the ,,organizational preparation of the election campaign,''writes Wieck. The former intelligence chief also stipulates: ,,the secretariat of this body could be established in Brussels, Berlin, Warsaw or Vilnius''and should always also bring in ,,Belarussian representatives, at a rhythm of app. 6 months duration''.

Flexible

To finance the program for the coup, Wieck is demanding the establishment of a ,,democracy fund for Belarus''. He estimates ,,the overall costs of (...) the proposed measures at 14,2 Million Euros annually''. The rules of distributing the funds should ,,be handled in a more flexible manner than is habitual in the EU'', obviously meaning diversion funds being used to destabilize Belarus. As one participant at the meetings of German ambassadors told German-Foreign-Policy.de, a high-ranking Berlin diplomat was heard to say that one can rightfully assume, that ,,Belarus will fall in five years, at the latest''.

1) Internationaler Workshop zur Koordinierung der Hilfe für die Demokratisierung und die Zivilgesellschaft in Belarus; Pressemitteilung der Europäischen Kommission 17.03.2005. Statement by Commissioner Benita Ferrero-Waldner; Vilnius, Lithuania, 18 March 2005
2) Visite des Chefs des missions diplomatiques de l'Union européenne et des Etats-Unis a l'Institut indépendant de recherches socio-économiques et politiques de Minsk; www.ambafrance-by.org/article.php3?id_article=328
3) Weißrussland: ein Risiko der EU-Osterweiterung?; idw 06.02.2003
4) Hans-Georg Wieck: Programm zur Förderung der politischen Alternative in Belarus; www.hans-georg-wieck.com/alternativebelarus.htm

see also ,,Ganging up on Moscow''

Sources:
As EU Laments Belarus's ,,Slide into Dictatorship''; RFE/RL Newsline 18.04.2005
Totalitarismus oder politische Wende - Wohin treibt Belarus?; www.europa-digital.de/laender/blr/nat_pol/wohin.shtml
EHU zieht nach Vilnius um; www.belarusnews.de/politik1004-1.html
Parlament der Union Weißrusslands und Russlands verurteilte die Kampagne gegen Weißrussland im Westen; RIA Nowosti 21.04.2005