By Amaechi Idumuebor (AGENDAWATCHDOG) – Russia’s intelligence chief on Wednesday accused the United States of fomenting massive demonstrations against Belarus’ authoritarian president that have entered their sixth week. Protesters in Belarus are seeking the resignation of Alexander Lukashenko, denouncing his landslide re-election in the Aug. 9 vote as rigged and demanding an end to his 26-year rule.
The U.S. and the European Union have criticized the election as neither free nor fair, and urged Lukashenko to start talks with the opposition — a call he has rejected. Sergei Naryshkin, director of Russia’s Foreign Intelligence Service, claimed in a statement carried by Russian news agencies Wednesday that the U.S. has funded the Belarusian opposition and encouraged the protests.
“It effectively amounts to a thinly-veiled attempt to stage another ‘color revolution’ and an anti-constitutional coup, the objectives and tasks of which have nothing in common with interests of citizens of Belarus,” Naryshkin said in a reference to the color-coded uprisings that swept out unpopular leaders in Ukraine and other ex-Soviet nations.
Naryshkin added that his agency has information that “the U.S. is playing a key role in the current developments in Belarus.” He alleged that the U.S. has earmarked tens of millions of dollars to finance Belarus’ opposition groups.
The U.S. Embassy in Minsk had no immediate comment. In a long speech to top Belarus officials Wednesday, Lukashenko accused the U.S. and its allies of spearheading the push to unseat him through carefully prepared protests. He charged that the Czech Republic, Poland, Lithuania and Ukraine all played a major role. All those countries have denied similar claims by Lukashenko in the past.