They say - broke through the bottom. On May 23, a civilian plane of the Irish airline was deceived and forcibly landed in Minsk, accompanied by a Belarusian Air Force fighter. The passengers were checked, and Roman Protasevich, the former editor-in-chief of the telegram channel Nexta, who was recognized as extremist in Belarus, was dragged out of the passenger compartment. The plane continued its flight five hours later, without two passengers. Protasevich may be sentenced by a Belarusian court for mass protests in autumn, and under other Articles of the country's Criminal Code to 15 years in prison.

The Russian media, which is read in Azerbaijan, discusses the legality of violence against a passenger plane and a Belarusian emigrant. In Azerbaijan, the authorities do not intend to quarrel with Lukashenko over Protasevich and the plane. In Ukraine, they reacted harshly at the state level. In the democratic countries of Europe, they either are sluggishly discussing the possibility of sanctions, against the people of Belarus, or targeted against Lukashenko. Several airlines fly around the airspace of the Republic of Belarus.

A Swedish writer, radio producer, columnist for the culture department of the Expresssen newspaper Dmitry Plaks was born and raised in Belarus. He asked me to call his Motherland "Belarus’ and not “Belorussia” as they write in Russia, since the second name disappeared along with the collapse of the USSR. Since then, the country has been called the "Republic of Belarus"

He answered the questions from Turan agency.

- We are closely watching the events in Belarus. We also followed with interest the protests in the fall of 2020, led by the belarusian website Nexta. When the events calmed down, they began to say that the revolution was "blown away". Does it mean that the people of the country as a whole supported President Lukashenko? Were the revolutionaries mistaking in their plans and calculations?

Дмитрий Плакс - No, it does not, and the protest, in general, was not blown away, it just took on different forms. There were no revolutionaries since the protest was spontaneous; no one planned it. Therefore, there were no calculations.

- Do you think Europe is to blame for Lukashenko's crackdown on the opposition movement? Is Europe guilty for not showing firmness in supporting the Nexta Movement?

- Europe is disunited; there was no united political front. The protest, including the autumn mass demonstrations, is spontaneous, so it seems wrong to wait for some kind of coordinated European reaction to unexpected events. Of course, the slowness and indecision of European structures played into the hands of the regime.

- What do the population, both rural and urban, want? Is it true what was said on RosTV about the mass support of Lukashenko by the population? Is there a cardinal difference, mentally and nationally, between Ukrainians and Belarusians? After all, Moscow propaganda is pushing just this, saying that the Belarusians are mostly pro-Russian partisans, and the Ukrainians have always been Bandera and what else can we expect from them?

How did it happen that, having big political democratic parties in Belarus, boys from Poland headed the protest movement in the fall? Does this indicate the weakness of the parties, the lack of experience in the struggle, or is the people again "to blame"?

- It seems to me that the Belarus people want freedom; the people are tired of the suffocating, repressive "stability". There is little point in commenting on the passages of Russian propaganda. Belarusians, of course, differ from other peoples in the same way that peoples generally differ from each other - in culture. As for the difference in the protest movement, the Belarusian protest is purely peaceful. The authorities are consistently trying to provoke the protesters to violence. So far, to no avail.

The protest was spontaneous, and no one led it. The role of telegram channels is reduced to informing about what is happening; otherwise, it is the self-organization of the protesters. There are no parties influencing anything in Belarus for a long time, Mr. Lukashenka has taken care of this.

- Do you notice changes after the incident with the plane, the consolidation of the anti-Lukashenko movement in the West, among democratic countries? Since the last unprecedented incident with the plane, states have shown their readiness for new and effective actions, at least for the release of the arrested Protasevich. There are reasons to expect consolidated and, most importantly, effective sanctions from the West again. Will the Lukashenko-Putin pair be released "on the brakes"? How in the democratic camp of the Belarusian society, is there a shock, a shake-up from what happened, are negotiations on joint actions against the regime going on?

- There is no anti-Lukashenko movement in the West. Belarus does not occupy the minds of European politicians. Of course, when it comes to the safety of citizens of EU countries, the situation is changing. Especially when it comes to actions that are very similar to an act of state international terrorism in Europe. The first reactions are quite clear, I do not know what will happen next, but the hijacking of the plane demonstrated that the situation in Belarus goes beyond the framework of an internal political conflict.

It is hard to surprise the Belarusians, I do not think they are shocked, but rather just sigh - another bottom has been broken. Society is quite consolidated, and democratic forces, in general, do not conflict with each other either. There is an understanding that the regime has crossed the border and the very survival of civil society, and the country as a whole is at stake, Dmitry Plaks concluded the answers.

On May 24, 2021, by the personal order of Lukashenko, a foreign plane with passengers flying over Belarus landed at the Minsk-2 airport. It was accompanied by a specially alerted MiG-29 military fighter with full ammunition. The official reason for the forced landing is the announcement of a mine on board. The “Pool of the First” Telegram channel, which is close to the presidential press service, boastfully said: "Belarus has defended Europe." It turned out that the bomb report was false. The Investigative Committee opened a criminal case on this fact. The end of the high-profile action of the Belarusian special services was the arrest of journalist Roman Protasevich, one of the leaders of mass protests against Lukashenko's government, on board a foreign plane, in the fall of 2020. –0—

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