I will admit, at first, I thought that Lithuania’s decision to expel two Russian diplomats in solidarity with the Czech Republic was hasty, without waiting for Sunday‘s televised public statement of Czech President M. Zeman. Still, after the Russian Embassy in Minsk insulting Minister G.Landsbergis, I changed my mind, and I would even advise demanding a public apology from Moscow, Mečys Laurinkus wrote in lrytas.lt.
However, something is wrong in the republic. On Sunday, Mr. Zeman said: “I note that the Security Service report notes, and I emphasise, that there is no evidence and witness testimony that the two agents (from Russia) where there. When the premises were searched in another warehouse, no explosive device was found there.” The politician clarified that there are two versions of the explosion – one of negligent behaviour, and one with the involvement of another party.
Mr. Zeman ensured that if the involvement of the Russian security services became clear, it would be seen as an act of terrorism with all the political consequences. So far, the president has offered not to rush, and to wait for the investigation to end.
At the time, it was stated at the level of the Czech government that a drastic decision on Russian diplomats had been taken on the basis of a report from the Security Service.
After hearing the Czech decision, I immediately asked myself: are not all 18 Russian diplomats declared undesirable are GRU agents, and if so, how they are all still working at the embassy after the explosion, and why there was no hint of them being investigated for seven years?
Such praise is a significant stain on NATO member counter-intelligence.
The explosions also attracted the interest of the Western media: who owned those warehouses (it turns out to be a private owner in Bulgaria), what type of weapons were kept there, and to whom were they sold?
What does Mr. Zeman seek with such a controversial statement? An open secret is the pro-Russian position of the Czech president.
Either indisputable evidence needs to be provided, or history will have to be classified in the genre of information wars. And there is no need for evidence there. All you have to do is announce the accusation, get an answer, shoot the “facts”, cut off the diplomats, and calm down for several months again.
I feel that this story will end banally – it is no longer possible to pull out solid evidence in seven years without specific allegations, so it will gradually sink into the mists of assumptions until it finally fades away forever. Sputnik V Czech will probably no longer buy it, although Zeman reiterated his preference for the vaccine. Russia will also not be completely excluded from the tender for constructing an additional NPP unit in the Czech Republic, as its bid is the cheapest.
The number of countries supporting the non- grata programme may increase – the Germans are in no hurry – but I do not see a big wave of expulsions yet. The surge in Russian-Western relations will calm down somewhat, but it will certainly not subside. The nearest wave is due to A. Navalny. I will not repeat my more- than-sceptical views of him, but his state of health will have political consequences. G. Landsbergis, who has actively criticised Russia, has also received public ridicule from the Russian embassy. It is not difficult to imagine what would happen if Navalny were to die.
It would not happen in Russia because Navalny is not like Stepan Razin or Grisha Otrepyev, but the sanctions cartel for Moscow would rise so high that it would neither jump, nor circumvent, and anyone who takes a closer look at Russian life will quickly see that the Kremlin is preparing intensively for such a scenario.
The next wave is the planned Russian and Belarusian military training “Zapad-21”. As Russia now refers to the former area, the Kaliningrad Special District will also be actively involved, ringing alarm bells in Poland. Not because of a possible World War III, but because of “human error,” And so Ukraine and its allies will be worried again.
Another wave is the Russian election to the Duma: in the West, it is believed that Russian dissatisfaction with the current situation will strengthen opposition forces, and perhaps it will even be able to form a faction. It seems to me it will be different: in Russia, the nationalist political wing is growing stronger, which is increasingly criticising a “United Russia” and, at the same time, although not openly, Putin himself.
Navalny recently supported this criticism from the point of view of nationalism, and Putin and Lukashenko said they were happy to meet in Moscow.
I am surprised that almost no attention is paid to the strengthening of Russian nationalism in both the West and Lithuania, but the focus is on Putin. Because it may get worse when he leaves. I believe Putin is a centrist at the moment, balancing the far left and the right.
Finally, the fourth wave of this year is the beginning of Lukashenko’s political funeral. We do not know, and probably will never know, what Putin and Lukashenko discussed on April 22. From what Lukashenko is currently telling the world (preparing for a military coup, dealing with the dictator and his family), it is possible to predict that he is most afraid of the fate of Caesusescu.
Putin probably promised to allow him to leave safely. But the fundamental problem remains: who will replace him?
As usual, Lithuania will not only monitor these waves, but will also actively participate through political statements and decisions. However, before doing anything, it is worth paying more attention to both the context of relations between states, and the internal political situation of the countries involved.