The Ukrainian publishing house Folio has publisheda book by Belsat journalists Ihar Ilyash and Katysaryna Andreyeva called “Belarusian Donbas”.
The book is a journalistic investigation Belarusians at war, the role of special services and personally Alyaksandr Lukashenka, as well as how this conflict affected Belarus.
“We have tried to cover all the points of intersection of this conflict and Belarus: from the participation of Belarusian citizens in the hostilities to the role of special services in this process, from illegal trade with DNR and LNR to the work of volunteers, from the political situation to the information strategy of the authorities,” says Katsyaryna Andreyeva.
The book also uses interviews and investigations previously published by Katsyaryna Andreyeva and Ihar Ilyash on belsat.eu.
Ihar Ilyash believes that there are many myths surrounding the war in Donbas in Belarus, which the book is to debunk.
“For example, many are still convinced that the special services of Belarus allegedly treated the volunteers fighting on the side of Ukraine and the LDNR equally. But in reality, this is not true. We know many examples when the KGB and Interior Ministry allowed the militants to freely return to Belarus, rest, change their documents and go back to fight against Ukraine. It’s a criminal acquiescence, if not worse, on the part of the Belarusian special services. We tell about it in our book,” he says.
The authors are trying to answer the question, what made Belarusians go to Donbas and why they eventually became the third largest national group among the conflict participants (after the Russians and Ukrainians). Separately, Ihar Ilyash and Katsyaryna Andreyeva analyze Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s policy in the Russian-Ukrainian war and how it has transformed over time.
“Very often the position of official Minsk in this conflict is perceived as a policy of equidistant, “sterile” neutrality. But in reality, this neutrality was absolutely pro-Russian. Some statements of Lukashenka in the first months of the conflict suggest that he allowed Belarus to participate in this war,” says Ihar Ilyash.
The book is already available in electronic format on the website of the publishing house. Soon “Belarusian Donbas” should also bcome out in the printed version.