Moon of Alabama Brecht quote
June 04, 2021

Roman Protasevich, Casualty Of The Ryanair Incident In Belarus, Is Spilling The Beans

A TV documentary of the bomb threat against a Ryanair plan (vid) has confirmed our analysis of a false narrative which had been constructed by Belorussian regime change activists.

They had alleged that on May 23 a Ryanair plane had been forced by the Belorussian government to land in Minsk after which one activist on board, Roman Protasevich, had been arrested. But in reality a real bomb threat, delivered by email, had been received at Minsk airport as well as by Lithuanian air authorities. The plane was made aware of the threat by the Belorussian air traffic control and the pilot, after communicating with Ryanair management, had decided to land in Minsk.

Belarus handled the case by the book and the plane was released after it had been unsuccessfully searched for the alleged bomb. There were outstanding arrest warrants against two passengers on board, Roman Protasevich and his Russian girl friend Sofia Sapega. Both were detained after passing through the custom and passport controls.

Roman Protasevich had been betrayed. Other regime change activists, with whom he had disagreed, had sent the bomb threat email to get him trapped.

This is evident from his testimony in the later part of the TV documentary linked above, where he appears as a lively and engaged chain smoker.

A second Belorussian TV piece (vid), with a ninety minutes excerpt from a four hour long interview of Protasevich, was broadcast yesterday:

Former editor-in-chief of NEXTA Roman Protasevich interviewed the Belarusian state channel ONT. In it, he pleaded guilty in a criminal case to organizing and preparing actions that violate public order, and also criticized the Belarusian opposition and said he respected Alexander Lukashenko.

In the interview Protasevich is spilling the beans about the whole foreign financed opposition organization which was behind the 2020 color revolution attempt in Belarus.


'Western' media, as well as other regime change activist claim that Protasevich must have been tortured to say what he says. However, aside from light handcuff marks at his wrists there is no evidence of that. Protasevich had previously been wounded when he fought in the fascist Ukrainian Azov battalion against the Donbas secessionists. He is a tough guy who will not be impressed by handcuffs which, by the way, police everywhere use for good reasons.

During the Korea war U.S. pilots, captured by China, admitted to dropping biological weapons on China. The U.S. long denied the use of biological weapons and claimed that the pilots had been tortured and made false confessions. Decades later secret files were released which proved that the claims the pilots had made had been correct.

At the beginning of the interview with Marat Markov, the head of the Belorussian state TV channel ONT, Protasevich is still somewhat tense. But after 3 or 4 minutes the talk develops into a lively exchange during which Protasevich at times interrupts and corrects the journalist. Protasevich's voice sounds rough and at times pressed. He is a chain smoker and claims to have a cold. Towards the end, when they talk about the personal damage the color revolution attempt has caused to many, both get somewhat emotional but in no way hostile to each other.

Protasevich's demeanor, engagement, body language and general attitude throughout the interview has me convinced that he doing it voluntarily and that he is telling the truth. He is not reading off a script someone else has written. He is doing a tell all about the foreign financed regime change effort he had been part of. And why not? He has been betrayed by his former comrades. He is now expecting up to fifteen years of jail. Telling it all might well help him to lessen the sentence for his crimes.

There are yet no English subtitles on the interview and there is no English language transcript of the interview. The following are excerpts from an eight part summary published in Russian language on Office Life. The text is machine translated:

Roman Protasevich on the air of the ONT TV channel on the program “Markov. Nothing personal”, said that he agreed to be interviewed completely voluntarily. But he noted that he had a little cold.

He added that it is difficult to predict how the opposition will react to the interview, and he would not be surprised to be called a traitor.

Protasevich stressed that he absolutely does not care what they say. He, according to him, just wants to do everything to correct his mistakes.
Roman Protasevich on the air of ONT suggested that information about his flight over Belarus could have been given by Daniil Bogdanovich, who was the project director.

Protasevich stressed that for the first time in a long time, he reported data on his movements to someone. He wrote about the flight from Athens in a chat, which includes Frank Viacorka and Daniil Bogdanovich. With the latter, Protasevich had a conflict. Roman claims that, in fact, behind his back on an online "phone call" it was said that he could be fired. He himself did not participate in the "call" due to poor communication at the hotel. His colleagues told him about the content.

Protasevich believes that it was Bogdanovich who could have initiated the possible dismissal.

During the interview, Roman also stressed that he had nothing to do with the Black Book of Belarus channel. He only held one workshop on how to make headlines, etc. Roman thinks that a lot of personal data was transferred to the channel by ex-security officials. Protasevich stressed that he had nothing to do with the publication of personal data.

The 'black book' is a Telegram channel used by the opposition to publish addresses and personal information about Belorussian policeman and their families.

Protasevich then gives some details ofn persons involved in the opposition operation and of their corruption. I will skip this here as most are unknown to me and of minor interest. These though are people we have heard of:

The interviewee also walked around Olga Karach. He said that she got her possession of a house with an area of ​​600 square meters. m in the elite area of ​​Vilnius. Karach is trying to fight Tikhanovskaya for the money of the diaspora.

Protasevich added that Tikhanovskaya partly lives at the expense of the Lithuanian state, partly at the expense of some entrepreneurs. She is guarded by the Lithuanian special service.

Andrey Strizhak (BySol Foundation), according to Protasevich, is also not perfect. There were complaints against Strizhak, and they, according to Protasevich, “were clearly not unfounded”. That was when, according to Roman, there was money in the fund, and then it was gone.

In addition, Protasevich said that ByPol, in his opinion, is financed by Poland. Also, according to him, the Polish side gave 50 million zlotys to the Belarusian House in Warsaw.

Then follow details about the NEXTA Telegram channel which was used to direct last summer's demonstrations and riots in Minsk. According to Protasevich that channel has a following in Belarus of 500,000 people "at most".

Protasevich is trying to lower the potential sentence against him:

Roman Protasevich said on the air of ONT that he respects Alexander Lukashenko. At the same time, he believes that some of the decisions of this politician were erroneous.

Protasevich admitted that he “criticized Lukashenka a lot”.

He claims that he realized that many of the things for which the head of state was criticized were an element of pressure. According to Protasevich, Lukashenka acted like a man with eggs of steel.

The financing of the NEXTA channel (translated as 'Nektha') with its extensive staff is discussed next:

On the air of ONT, Roman Protasevich said that initially the Nekhta project (recognized as extremist in Belarus) lived on advertising. The posts cost "good money": for example, $20 thousand. Protasevich's salary could be $1.5 thousand. In August 2020, 5 thousand euros came out.

At some point, according to Protasevich, there was Russian funding: 3-5 thousand euros per week. The money came from a certain company from Russia, which, judging by the name, is associated with the Urals and mining.

Its owner is a well-known Russian oligarch, and he is a direct competitor of Mikhail Gutseriev. Protasevich did not give his last name, but perhaps he means a native of Minsk, Dmitry Mazepin, who actually now controls Uralkali.

Protasevich also said that it was allegedly planned to transfer one of the Nekhta channels to Russian hands.

Roman Protasevich also said that the split in the Nekhta team was due to the figure of the Belarusian political emigration Ales Zarembyuk, who, according to the journalist, used Putilo and the entire project as a “cash cow”.

Now, according to Protasevich, advertising does not appear on "Nekhta", although there are more staff in the editorial office. This, in his opinion, means that someone is supporting the project.

The socialist Belarus has extensive potash resources. That a fertilizer oligarch in neo-liberal Russia is trying to get his hands on it via regime change and privatization is not astonishing.

The next part is about the military coup attempt against Lukashenko which unraveled two months ago:

Roman Protasevich said on the air of ONT that he allegedly almost became a liaison "between the conspirators and the headquarters of Tikhanovskaya." That is, his role was to bring the headquarters together with the defendants in the case of the conspiracy against Lukashenka.

Protasevich claims that he had constant contacts with Dmitry Shchigelsky, who now lives in the United States and they allegedly have a lot in common. Unlike Alexander Feduta and Grigory Kostusev, Shchigelsky was not detained by the Belarusian special services.

Roman also assures that there are “sleeping cells” in Belarus of those who advocate a forceful scenario of overthrowing the current government.

Protasevich also claims that Frank Viacorka was not included in the project for the violent overthrow. Roman believes that he has "too long a tongue."

According to Protasevich, the conspirators talked about some 20 military families who had to be evacuated from Belarus, and they wanted to get large sums from the BySol fund for them, but this did not work out. Protasevich believes that in reality these military men and their families are fiction.

Protasevich then talks about his time with Azov:


At the same time, Protasevich says that he was not officially on the staff of "Azov", and not in business "he was mainly engaged in photography." But he was indeed given a light machine gun. However, with him, according to Protasevich, he did not participate in any hostilities, and almost all the time "was at the base." Roman also admits that he violated journalistic ethics.

In addition, Protasevich admitted that he is afraid of some kind of extradition (to which country, it is not clear) and hopes that Alyaksandr Lukashenka will have enough political will not to agree to extradition.

Roman claims that allegedly not so long ago he was on the verge of returning to Belarus himself. He stated that he was cooperating with the investigation and rethought a lot in life. At the end of the interview, Protasevich actually burst into tears. After that, they showed the already separately recorded commentary of the presenter, where he explained that in fact the interview lasted about four hours and not everything was aired on the air.

Previous Moon of Alabama post on the Ryanair incident in Belarus:

Posted by b on June 4, 2021 at 11:20 UTC | Permalink

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Posted by: Petri Krohn | Jun 5 2021 0:53 utc | 88

You're argument is self-defeating. NO, the BBC wouldn't do an interview with Assange, UNLESS Assange agreed to "confess" he was sponsored by the Russians.

That's exactly what Minsk did. Would Minsk TV have done this interview if Protasevich claimed it was a Minsk op?

Too many amateurs on this blog.

Posted by: I2 | Jun 5 2021 11:32 utc | 101

Freedom of the press, uTube protects feeble minds asking for ID or credit card in order to see Roma's performance, since I already saw it I know for sure there is no porn or blood in it, so long live democracy, freedom of the press and human rights.

As Dubbya would say, this sucker is going down... and I mean empire, Roma landed already.

Posted by: Paco | Jun 5 2021 11:41 utc | 102

How strange: a bunch of posters who have never posted here before, all with names in a specific format (U2, I2, etc.) suddenly appear to spew MSM talking points...

Posted by: Donbass Lives Matter | Jun 5 2021 11:41 utc | 103

How strange: a bunch of posters who have never posted here before, all with names in a specific format (U2, I2, etc.) suddenly appear to spew MSM talking points...

Posted by: Donbass Lives Matter | Jun 5 2021 11:41 utc | 103

b really scores ones by confronting the source of the emails ProtonMail for the first email in Twitter.

Posted by: Lucci | Jun 5 2021 11:54 utc | 104

Screen-image of first email with bombthreat is visible in this article by Christelle Néant from Donbass Insider.It's in french:

Posted by: willie | Jun 5 2021 11:57 utc | 105

-// How strange: a bunch of posters who have never posted here before, all with names in a specific format (U2, I2, etc.) suddenly appear to spew MSM talking points... //-

Strange indeed. Inexplicable.

Two people get arrested in Belarus. A fatal auto crash happens in New Hampshire.

The dogs bark. The caravan moves on...

Posted by: blues | Jun 5 2021 11:58 utc | 106


Is it conceivable that the boy and his photographer girlfriend [what happens to her?] voluntarily took part in a defection, either out of their own will or out of information about what awaited them “in the Wild West”?
After all, the proton mail account was created on May 14, just in time for the end of the Delphi conference, [and at a time when Hamas, Israel and ceasefire made sense] but Roman seems to have delayed his departure by a few days.

Four o'clock and nothing's moving
Six o'clock and the daylight's stirring
Morning comes, must be moving on
All night long my mind's been burning
Makes me feel such a long, long way from home, home

Now ain't it strange that I feel like Philby
There's a stranger in my soul

* I remember Sommer [of Love & Rock] 1977, Karlsruhe, Rory playing mandolin.;art6066,2204781

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 5 2021 12:07 utc | 107

I2 wrote
NO, the BBC wouldn't do an interview with Assange, UNLESS Assange agreed to "confess" he was sponsored by the Russians.
That's exactly what Minsk did. Would Minsk TV have done this interview if Protasevich claimed it was a Minsk op?

That might well be true but by your logic we can infer from that this was not a Minsk op.

What seems indisputable is that the pilot and airline chose to land the plane in Minsk. Somebody tricked the pilot and airline to divert the flight. Who was behind this con is not clear. At least I have seen no evidence that makes it clear.

Posted by: jinn | Jun 5 2021 12:29 utc | 108

willie | Jun 5 2021 11:57 utc | 105

From Christelle Nèant, Post/link.

À 14 h 48, Svetlana Tikhanovskaïa publie un post sur sa chaîne Telegram sur l’arrestation de Protassevitch. Or à cet instant précis, Protassevitch est encore dans la file d’attente et personne dans l’aéroport de Minsk ne sait qu’il est là !

À 14 h 53, Roman Protassevitch passe calmement ses bagages aux rayons X. Mais en 18 minutes, les employés de la direction biélorusse de la lutte contre le crime organisé ont eu le temps de lire les messages des chaînes Telegram de l’opposition annonçant que Protassevitch a été arrêté à l’aéroport de Minsk, et décident de vérifier l’information.

I hadn't realised that Svetlana was part of the group that wanted Protasevitch used as "bait". Suggests that in Roman's version that accuses Bogdanovich of being the originator, he is NOT the culprit, but it is much more a higher level or external operation. If there is one channel that the Belarusian Anti-crime employees would be looking at full-time it is that of Svetlena. Deliberate publicity to use her!!

She was posting before he was apprehended., Which seems to show that the order for the deliberate publication came from Poland, not from someone who Ramon had left behind in Athens.

Posted by: Stonebird | Jun 5 2021 12:45 utc | 109

@ Willie
Thanks for link. Christelle post in really good summarized (and time lined) for french readers. As my french son said "rien ne transpire dans la presse française" (nothing in french MSM), about Russia, Syria, Belarus, Fauci....

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 5 2021 12:58 utc | 110

Just An Hypothesis.....


Is it conceivable that the boy and his photographer girlfriend [what happens to her?] voluntarily took part in a defection, either out of their own will or out of information about what awaited them “in the Wild West”?
After all, the proton mail account was created on May 14, just in time for the end of the Delphi conference, [and at a time when Hamas, Israel and ceasefire made sense] but Roman seems to have delayed his departure by a few days.

Four o'clock and nothing's moving
Six o'clock and the daylight's stirring
Morning comes, must be moving on
All night long my mind's been burning
Makes me feel such a long, long way from home, home

Now ain't it strange that I feel like Philby
There's a stranger in my soul

* I remember Sommer [of Love & Rock] 1977, Karlsruhe, Rory playing mandolin.;art6066,2204781

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 5 2021 12:59 utc | 111

Posted by: Rêver | Jun 5 2021 12:59 utc | 110

There's testimony by Ryan air passengers seeing Protasevich panicked and trying to hide his personal laptops.

Whatever the case be it Belarus op or FF sacrificing both of them the veracity of the information he disclosed would either confirm or deny which sides is telling the truth.

Posted by: Lucci | Jun 5 2021 13:29 utc | 112

Proyect never disappoints. He's the poster child for 'smug dipshit'. Those who recognize Proyect's rote dumbfuckery see his comments as clownish - a source of great hilarity.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 5 2021 14:34 utc | 113

@S Thanks for the summary @Jun4 17:01 #34 and translation @Jun4 23:03 #81


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 5 2021 14:39 utc | 114

Who caused the flight to be diverted is still uncertain to me.

It's clear that Roman was the target though.

And that relations between the West and Russia are suffering.

With that said, I think it's worthwhile to note that this new low in relations is something that is not in Russia's interest as NordStream2 is still under attack.

Some say that Nordstream 2 is unstoppable. Well, the completion of the pipeline is near but whether Germany buys gas from Russia and/or how much gas is still a question. The Empire opposition to NS2 has been relentless but they may accept a pipeline that guarantees German energy security yet demand that it restrict purchases of Russian gas to only what is absolutely necessary.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 5 2021 14:56 utc | 115

Big props to S@81 for translating the first 18 minutes of the interview. I tried my hand at continuing where you left off, but it goes so deep into Belarussian opp-dynamics that it becomes meaningless without context, and not much better with context. So, here's 4 more minutes, stopping at 22.

Roman Protasevich: Ян Авсеюшкин was also in Hata, that is, a well-known, in principle, Belarusian freelance journalist.

Marat Markov: But, despite the fact that you are here, in fact, this chat still exists, as I understand it…

P: (over) Yes, yes.

M: …it’s just named differently now.

P: Well, for sure now it’s just… it was re-created. … Almost certainly there is still the word “hata” in it.

M: Well, I heard it is Safe Hata.

P: Well, that was the last name.

M: The last name.

P:It turned out to be not very safe.

M: Yes, they say, but there is nothing safe, unfortunately, in this age of technology.
Alright, so. While you're here, in this sort of informational vacuum, there's talk that the staffs of the “incredibles” (Ed: presumably, regime-change groups) have united, joined forces. Do you, personally, believe that Putila won't betray Vechorko, at some point? That Latushka and Tikhanovskaya can get along? Or that Strizhak wouldn't sell them all out, if he thought he could profit from it? Are you confident in this sort of alliance?

P: (over) Let me just step in here and take the question one step further. In reality, and I expect everyone understands this already – there were always major friction between different working groups and projects. One simple example would be Latushka, and his NAU initiative.
This might surprise you, but NAU was meant to be Tikhanovskaya's project, and it was supposed to be, fundamentally, her cabinet of ministers. But days before the project dropped as intended, Latushka somehow got access to the site and all the information, and he announced NAU as his own personal initiative. Despite the fact that, earlier to this, he was bartering for the position of Prime Minister from Tikhanovskaya, and so on. He essentially just stole the project for himself days before launch.
This is the clearest example I can think of, to demonstrate how much internal friction there is within the organization. (Ed: to put it mildly. “Gnawing” like a rabid animal was the literal expression used.)

M: (over) That's unthinkable/scandalous.

P: Vechorko almost beat up Erohovets (Ed: Алексей Ероховец), and he's supposed to be a representative of Страна Для Жизни. (Ed: Translation along the lines of 'Country you can live in' – I'm too far removed to explain what it is. Looks like a cross-platform movement that, perhaps, grew out of Sergei Tikhanovskiy's Youtube channel?) And so on. There are constant internal conflicts, and that's what the staff fear the most – that these internal conflicts, of which there are enormous amounts, become known to the public.
And from all this, it becomes very clear, that everyone is in it for their own personal interests.

M: Which are? What are they fighting for?

P: Let me give another simple example, concerning the highly public Olga Karach. In every public appearance, she tries very hard to out-shout the rest of the opposition, building herself up as a central figure. Every week there's a new attempt to pull the mantle off of Tikhanovskaya, for head of the opposition – that's all her work amounts to. To get financial access to the Belarusian diaspora, primarily, since she isn't really interested in wielding executive power. She's only interested in money.
Having lived in Lithuania for 10 years, she lives in a house that's 600 square meters, in an elite quarter of Vilnius.

M: (over) Wonderful woman.

P: You tell me, where that money comes from. In the same way, everyone else is competing to get a piece of that pie. For that same reason, you get tons of internal strife. There are even frictions with BYSOL, even though I'm personally well acquainted/on good terms with Andrej Strizhak I perfectly understand that there's something amiss: one moment there's money, and then suddenly they run out. We've obviously had this discussion, internally of course, away from the public.

M: Did you voice these concerns to him directly?

P: This was only discussed internally. One of the key things, well... Like in the example with Latushka – he never openly went against Tikhanovskaya, but he did steal her project from right under her nose, to accomplish his own goals.

M: She just accepted this?

P: The key take-away is this: that the organizations keep all internal conflicts under wraps, and try to the very end – even at times when I considered silence on the issue harmful – they try their hardest to keep things quiet and 'keep it in-house' (Ed: Russian proverb) so as not to disillusion their supporters among the public. In terms of finances, in terms of political ambitions, in terms of zones of influence – there are tons of examples. Everything is fought over.

My key take-away is that this interview is full of redundancies and needs creative editing for those outside of the Belarus-regime-change-keyboard-warrior demographic.

The impression I get of Roman in the select clips I've seen of the interview (I haven't seen it in its entirety) isn't one of remorse or fear, but relief. With security guarantees for cooperation, he's more than happy to throw everyone he was in contact with under the bus, and the picture is pretty much of a criminal organization with tons of money on the line, which should be a terrifying prospect for any front-line peon involved. Jail-time with a commuted sentence may not be a bad way to get yourself out, considering the alternatives.

On the other hand, his mannerisms remind me a bit of Lukashenko. Can we be sure this isn't the dictator himself with advanced Belorussian deep-fake technology, coached on hip internet lingo by the KGB, giving the interview? ;)

Posted by: Skiffer | Jun 5 2021 15:17 utc | 116

Barring a mistranslation, Putin said that continued gas transit through Ukraine depends on Ukraine's behaviour. Based on a quick impression, that contracts pretty much every previous Russian / Gazprom statement that Garprom intends to retain same flows through Ukraine. No one expects Russia to keep flows in the event of hostilities, but to give opponents of the pipeline a soundbyte to say "see, we told you they would do that" is a shocking blunder.

Posted by: schmoe | Jun 5 2021 15:36 utc | 117

WaPo "journalism" -- State Dept provided -- nails it..../s
Detained Belarus dissident breaks down in state TV interview, renewing fears of coercion and torture

Belarusian journalist Roman Protasevich, detained last month after his flight was forced to land in Minsk, Belarus, sobs during an interview with Belarusian state television. Footage of detained journalist Roman Protasevich that aired on Belarusian state television Thursday has raised renewed concerns that he is being coerced to take part in political propaganda under duress.
...Protasevich’s father, Dzmitry, told the AFP that the interview was painful to watch because his son was clearly repeating statements that he does not believe. “They broke him and forced him to say what was needed,” Dzmitry Protasevich said. [with all those details??]
Exiled opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya told reporters Friday that such videos are routinely filmed after torture and should not be believed. “The task of political prisoners is to survive,” she said, according to the AFP.
Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth Roth tweeted that the video “should be Exhibit A in a prosecution for torture and ill treatment under President Lukashenko.” . .Jun 4, 2021 here

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 5 2021 15:45 utc | 118

Posted by: Don Bacon | Jun 5 2021 15:45 utc | 117

If we compared the footage with what Julian Assange looks like in his phony trial it is more apparent which one tortured and which one that decided to sing.

Posted by: Lucci | Jun 5 2021 15:53 utc | 119

Roman's story: a little too convenient?

  • Roman says he was about to be ousted from the anti-Belarus organization that he was associated with over some "petty deadline".

    Is this believable? Can this be verified? If they were going to oust him, it seems it would have been over something more serious than a "petty deadline".

    If truthful, we could ask if Roman was identified as a suspiciously unenthusiastic participant by the Belarus opposition (a double-agent?). If not truthful, then it may be part of a cover story for Minsk's diversion of the Ryanair flight.

  • Roman says that he himself was the source of info about his travel to Vilinus.

    This hints at how Minsk knew of his presence on the Ryanair flight (i.e. not via Protonmail email).

  • The 'blackbook' that identifies State security personnel seems to be a real source of irritation to Lukashenko/Belarus. Is such identification a standard aspect of 'color revolution'? Was there a similar effort to identify Ukrainian security personnel in the lead-up to Ukraine's Maidan?

    The loyalty of security services is requisite for a 'strongman' like Lukashenko.

  • <> <> <> <> <>

    Roman says that he didn't really help with the 'black book' and wasn't really part of 'Asov' in Ukraine. His quick conversion indicates that this may be true. This 'leader of the rebellion' doesn't appear to have a strong pro-Western affiliation (compare to Assange! who risked and lost everything for his principles).

    Others at moa have noted Roman's weak allegiance.

    AFAICT Sofia is not ratting out her colleagues like Roman. She and her family are saying it was all a set-up.

    Was Roman a double-agent? Was Sofia (leader of the 'blackbook' project) and discrediting the opposition (as petty and mercenary) the real target?


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 5 2021 16:00 utc | 120

@ willie | Jun 5 2021 11:57 utc | 105.. thanks.. Mao Cheng Ji shared many of those pics, including the 1225pm ( local time) e mail - a few days ago...

@ 98 robin... so what do you think is more important? narrative control, or facts on the ground?? one is playing with people's minds, and the other is what is.. one could say the propaganda war is being won by those who want to control the narrative, but if we step outside the world of propaganda for a moment, who is actually winning? maybe the concept of 'winning' is really not the best concept to work with here... as i see it the people who are willing to accept at face value what they are given are on the losing end all the time... one needs to confirm what one is given, or there really is nothing all that relevant that you've been given and nothing of substance to go on..

Posted by: james | Jun 5 2021 16:08 utc | 121

@Jackrabbit | Jun 5 2021 16:00 utc | 119

Interesting change of perspective! Good thinking, wether factually true or not.

Posted by: Lurk | Jun 5 2021 16:11 utc | 122

@ 119 jackrabbit... just for fun here... how do you think the usa gov't would react to a list given out of the police personal info who oversaw occupy wall st protests?? do you think the people who gave out the list would be charged with terrorism or some such law in the usa??

regarding your comment about romans story being a little too convenient.. lets look at the facts as they stand on the ground.. has belarus benefited from this, or has the west?? some would argue belarus-russia has benefited because a hole was been blown in the regime change operation... others would say the west has won because the narrative to isolate belarus and russia has been successful... so, i am not so sure about his story being too convenient... in fact, i can see it as a possibility a plan was in place to do exactly this with the bomb threat being phoned in from the west.. however, my gut tells me it is russia that instigated the e mail, not the west .. hard to know either way, but using protonmail it suggests the west is behind it... i think protonmail would be a lot more forthright if russia was behind it... so my gut is wrong or not very accurate!

Posted by: james | Jun 5 2021 16:17 utc | 123

In response to schmoe@116,

Actually, he kept repeating that the current transit contract will be maintained, but that if Ukraine wants to increase the volume of gas that goes through their territory, and subsequently earn more money from transit contracts, they have to make that option more lucrative for customers and suppliers. Primarily, by breaking up the gas monopoly on that territory -- harking back to the consortium suggestion by Shroeder in 2008-2009(?). That said, he was fairly blunt about the advantages of supplying gas directly to Germany and the lack of any strictly economical reason to use Ukrainian gas transit, and that's a fairly obvious aspect of this entire project -- provided that the capacity of these auxiliary pipelines isn't exceeded, there's no good economic reason to use the Ukrainian infrastructure.

When asked about Ukrainian financial woes, in the comical context of Zelensky complaining that the gas transit income is essential for financing the Ukrainian army, he replied sardonically that it's not the responsibility of the Russian state to keep the Ukrainian state fed. There's a sort of Russian gag, where a guy asks his neighbor for something to eat, so that he has the strength to take a dump on his doorstep, which neatly fits the situation.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jun 5 2021 16:22 utc | 124

Skiffer @123

Instead of "[b]arring a mistranslation. . .", I should have said "[b]arring Reuters misrepresenting what Putin said. . . ." Assuming your comments are accurate, this is a replay of Obama's "You didn't build that" contrived controversy.

Posted by: schmoe | Jun 5 2021 16:34 utc | 125

Well, once the current contract is up, which is some 3 years from now, there's no reason to assume that Gazprom has to renew it, especially on Ukraine's terms. And the current transit deal was made with the understanding that NS2 and Turkstream would replace the need for it even before it ran out, so it's both a bit late and a bit early to start complaining. This transitional period, during which Russia is laying pipe, Ukraine is meant to find viable alternatives to relying on transit fees to prop up the economy. Understandably, we're seeing the Ukrainian government and its advocates abroad, go through the Kübler-Ross 5 stages of grief.

Posted by: Skiffer | Jun 5 2021 16:51 utc | 126

I'll join the big thank you to everyone who in many different threads translate from several other languages to English so that more can read and also more less easily attained points of view encountered.

- - - -

To his credit; to be betrayed by a ship of 'industrious fools' is a good thing. It does not negate past sins but it is still true.

- - - -

Jackrabbit: for sure one should not implicitly trust anything he says and in addition considering how good "the west" is at causing themselves harm it is easy to start suspecting they were given some form of help like double-agents and so on. It would be strange if there weren't plenty of infiltrators however I do believe they, their leadership, and backers actually are crap enough to be able to make such a mess as this all on their own.

As for double-agents would the organizations have any chance at surviving conducting an internal search for them? By the sound of it no, so they lose either way to their own vices. The double-agents need motivation for them to come into existence and the prime motivation for this kind of thing is always ample disgust at "themselves".

OT trolls, "trolls", and others: it is annoying but I would/should be more worried if all the trolls (and/or neophytes not yet weened away from most of the torrents of lies) simply disappeared because it could imply that someone with brains had appeared among the enemies or worse that MoA didn't attract new readers.

OT Schmoe: from my perspective Putin is simply stating the obvious fact that is always true anywhere (Ukrainian use of Ukrainian pipelines depends on Ukrainian actions), it does not negate the Russian and other commercial interests saying they will use it if able to and that they are not planning any major changes except normal negotiation to continue use after the current contract expires. If no agreement can be found then of course it stops, and if no pipeline use is possible then also of course it stops.

Posted by: Sunny Runny Burger | Jun 5 2021 16:59 utc | 127

Roman says he was about to be ousted from the anti-Belarus organization that he was associated with over some "petty deadline".

Is this believable? Can this be verified? If they were going to oust him, it seems it would have been over something more serious than a "petty deadline".

It sure is believable. It doesn't need verification or clarification.
In a professional setting (among Saints or Sinners) there's no such thing as a petty deadline among the people who agreed to it. If you're on a deadline and you find you can't meet your end of the deal, you MUST warn the other parties to the agreement the instant the glitch arises.
His attitude to deadlines leads me to believe that Protasevich is a stupid, immature, self-obsessed threat to himself and anyone who works with him. It's virtually QED Proof that his org wanted him out.
He shot himself in the foot with his 'petty deadline' gaff.
And that's not trivial either...

Posted by: Hoarsewhisperer | Jun 5 2021 17:24 utc | 128

james @Jun5 16:17 #122

how do you think the usa gov't would react to a list given out of the police personal info

Yeah, they wouldn't like it either. But I think strongmen like Yukashenko are particularly vulnerable to loss of confidence among the security services. I'm under no illusions about the Empire but the illusion of democracy creates some resilience that an outright strongman doesn't have.

i am not so sure about his story being too convenient...

It's convenient that his story exonerates Belarus by providing the backstory of a personal conflict that led to the plane being diverted to Minsk.

It's convenient that he is a 'leader' without principal or ideological fortitude.

And it's convenient that it wasn't just him that was captured but Sofia also. She seems to be much more committed to the anti-Yukashenko cause.


Posted by: Jackrabbit | Jun 5 2021 17:27 utc | 129

Western press continues to describe the incident as a "hijacking". Ukraine releases statement by Rada:

"By committing this compulsory act of landing a passenger plane, the Belarusian authorities endangered the safety of passengers and crew. These actions are a violation of international civil aviation rules and pose a threat to international security, including the safety of air transport"

NATO CEO predictably refers to a "state hijacking" which must produce "consequences" for Belarus and also Russia.

“Russia has not condemned it,” Stoltenberg said during a Brookings Institution event. “Russia has actually tried to do the opposite to excuse and explain that outrageous action.”

The international incident has raised the stakes for an upcoming summit between President Biden and Putin, with the two leaders to meet on June 16 in Switzerland."

That's the narrative and they are going to stick with it.

Posted by: jayc | Jun 5 2021 17:41 utc | 130

Finally, a full transcript of the interview by the channel that broadcasted the interview:

Transcript in Russian by

There is so much material that there is no way the western MSM is going to get away with the typical excuses, no lawyer, torture, etc. To start with there is the Dud interview in which a couple of young fellows with huge egos, especially the front man Putilo, reveal in retrospect much more than what they would like to, then there is the first news investigation item by , with airport cameras, pilot and control tower communications, in that first program about the incident quite a few fakes are discredited, like Roman being detained right by the airplane when the cameras show that he takes a long walk from the airplane to the bus by himself, then we have the interview with Markov and then not to be forgotten, the interview is one hour an a half but four and a half hours were taped, so probably somebody is waiting for more denials and fakes to be published and then confront them with recorded facts.

It is so obvious that the MSM and whoever is behind are masters of denial and manipulation but this saga is far from over. After watching all the material available if someone insists that Roman was tortured then the Belarusian KGB operatives are truly masters of their trade and should be hired by the CIA to show them that water boarding, sleep deprivation, electroshock and all the tricks employed so far by the agency are primitive and ineffective.

Posted by: Paco | Jun 5 2021 17:54 utc | 131

@ 129 jackrabbit.. thanks... i agree with you then! lots of open ended questions here...

@ 130 jayc... thanks... as is to be expected... more narrative control working 24/7..

@ 131 paco... thanks paco for all you share here at moa..

Posted by: james | Jun 5 2021 20:22 utc | 132

Posted by: james | Jun 5 2021 16:08 utc | 121

@ 98 robin... so what do you think is more important? narrative control, or facts on the ground?? one is playing with people's minds, and the other is what is.. one could say the propaganda war is being won by those who want to control the narrative, but if we step outside the world of propaganda for a moment, who is actually winning?

Are you asking what is my personal stand on the matter or what I believe is more important to the belligerents? I'll assume it's the latter and answer that, to the main aggressor, controlling the narrative for its domestic audience is absolutely crucial.

As the perpetrator of wars of choice, the empire cannot afford to have its citizenry see its foreign policy for what it is. It cannot come out and say : "So, look, we're going to squeeze these different places until there's nothing left. You see, our models tell us that down the road, that Eastern block is going to significantly cut into our bottom line. That's why we need to crush them all while we're still ahead."

As I said earlier, most folks are not very curious about geopolitics. However, they would certainly resent being told they are on Team Asshole. They would seek to distance themselves from those politics and this would ultimately impede the Empire in its adventurism.

This is where the narrative management comes in. Thanks to the incessant artillery barrage, unsolicited membership to Team Asshole is duly hidden from sight. Better yet, we get to be partners in making this world a better, freedomer place for all and make a stand against tyranny and terror.

Posted by: robin | Jun 5 2021 20:38 utc | 133

robin @133, absolutely correct, however there is also the aspect of providing cover for, and rational for other actors to carry out parts of the policy, e.g. the Baltic states, such as goading the EU to ramp up sanctions.

From the transcription by S on previous page it would seem that the girlfriend is in rather deep sh*t now.

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 5 2021 20:52 utc | 134

@ 133 robin.. thanks... i don't disagree with anything you've said, but upon some reflection - i never thought about it when i asked, it might have been more of what you personally think.. yes, the belligerents will see this as a win, but these manufactured wins are not really wins as i see it.. they are in a superficial way, but not in a wider context.. i guess that was my position i was trying to articulate - maybe not very successfully, i might add! propaganda is important, but it is not of the most supreme importance.. the truth is - however it gets buried, obfuscated and twisted.. i know to a person who accepts the stories the western msm spins out at face value might see it differently, especially if they are under the spell of the propaganda - not an unusual occurrence - but from my own point of view, ultimately these manufactured narratives don't hold under the light of closer examination.. we can thank b for shining a light on this and to the many fine posters here who do the same.. thanks for your comments!

Posted by: james | Jun 5 2021 23:00 utc | 135

It is perfectly believable that Protasevich was sold out by someone on Tikhanovskaya's team, likely with her knowledge; she would need to act quickly to capitalize on it with calls for European sanctions against Belarus. Her opposition movement is floundering and moribund, and she desperately needs relevance and attention.

Posted by: Mark | Jun 6 2021 0:52 utc | 136

@Paco #131

There are a few inaccuracies and omissions in the official transcript of the interview.

Example 1: “dick pic”, not “photos of members”

The official transcript (emphasis added):

П: Как бы там ни было, я никогда не переходил на прямые оскорбления представителей власти, не пытался, как некоторые чуть ли не присылать фотографии членов прокуратуры, и так далее.

P: Be that as it may, I never engaged in direct insults of the authorities, I did not try, like some people, to almost send photos of members of the prosecutor’s office, and so on.

The actual transcript (emphasis added):

П: Чем я это могу подтвердить… тем, что, как бы там ни было, я никогда не переходил на прямые оскорбления представителей власти, там, не пытался, там, как некоторые, там, чуть ли не присылать фотографию члена в прокуратуру, и так далее.

P: The way I can confirm this… is by the fact that, be that as it may, I never engaged in direct insults of the authorities, you know, I did not try, you know, like some people, you know, to almost send a dick pic to the prosecutor’s office, and so on.

Example 2: simplification resulting in misattribution

The official transcript:

П: «В воздухе переобулся» – наиболее точная характеристика.

P: “Changed shoes in the air” is the most accurate characterization.

The actual transcript:

М: Как мы называли это, «в воздухе переобулся».

П: Да, да.

М: (одновременно) В прыжке.

П: Это вот, мне кажется, наиболее точная характеристика.

M: As we called it, “changed shoes in the air”.

P: Yes, yes.

M: (over) In the middle of a jump.

P: This is, it seems to me, the most accurate characterization.

Example 3: “Love Hata”, not “Live Hata”

The official transcript:

М: Я слышал термин «Live хата».

M: I’ve heard the term Live Hata.

The actual transcript:

М: Вот я слышал термин «Love Hata».

M: I’ve heard the term Love Hata.

Example 4: omitted mention of Yan Avseyushkin

The official transcript:

П: Сейчас даже не могу вспомнить какие, потому что он их там менял буквально каждую неделю.

P: I can’t even remember which ones now, because he was changing them there literally every week.

The actual transcript:

П: Я, вот, сейчас даже, если честно, не могу вспомнить, какие именно, потому что он, там, их менял буквально, вот, каждую неделю. Тот же Ян Авсеюшкин в «Хате» был, то есть, известный, в принципе, белорусский журналист-фрилансер.

P: To be honest, I, well, can’t even remember which ones now, because he, you know, was changing them literally, you know, every week. Yan Avseyushkin was also in Hata, that is, a well-known, in principle, Belarusian freelance journalist.

Save for a few inaccuracies, omissions and simplifications, the official transcript is fine. Just wanted to point out that it’s not a 100% accurate, verbatim transcript.

Posted by: S | Jun 6 2021 4:59 utc | 137

To clarify my comment about the official transcript: it’s probably 98% verbatim, save for the filler words, which were completely removed. So the official transcript is fine, it is, in fact, very close to a 100% exact transcript. Just a few mistakes here and there.

Posted by: S | Jun 6 2021 5:43 utc | 138

Posted by: S | Jun 6 2021 5:43 utc | 138

Excellent, seems like you are a teacher. Then again you know very well that member in Russian -by the way in Spanish too- refers to the sexual member or dick as you accurately translate it. The main thing is the core content that save for a few details could be obtained even with a machine translation, we are not talking literature here, but your remarks are very professional and appreciated.

The main thing for me is the sequence of materials starting with the Dud interview when both youngsters were at the peak of their powers and exuded confidence, to be followed by the airport records and finished by the Markov interview. The misery of a bought and paid for opposition is clear, in case of victory they would have destroyed another country just like Ukraine was destroyed by the cookie Maidan, money was the driver as can be seen by the quick melt down of Protasevich and his image of a freedom fighter, lost in seconds when his personal well being is on the line.

Posted by: Paco | Jun 6 2021 7:01 utc | 139

I only noticed this later but in the ONT documentary about the bomb threat//Protasevich arrest they actually thank Viačorka for notifying them about the presence of Protasevich on the plane. They actually say that is how they found out. That is possible. It could also have happened on reboarding. In any case their documentary shows they didn't arrest him in the first hour after landing and we can't know for certain if they would have arrested him without the tweet of Viačorka spreading over Telegram.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 6 2021 8:08 utc | 140


…we can't know for certain if they would have arrested him without the tweet of Viačorka spreading over Telegram.

I think what they mean to say is that that is how they found out before the passport control would. It is hard to believe the passport control wouldn’t stop Protasevich, given that he was on KGB’s terrorist list. Of course, if they are telling the truth, that begs the question: who made the photo of Protasevich? I think it could be a random person supporting the Belarus opposition (as most Lithuanians do) overhearing Protasevich pleading with the crew not to land in Minsk and deciding to snap a photo of him to alert the opposition, sending it to one of the main Twitter accounts of the opposition, that is, to Franak Vechyorko.

Posted by: S | Jun 6 2021 9:04 utc | 141

S | Jun 6 2021 9:04 utc | 141

If what you write about Protasevich pleading with the crew to not land in Minsk is true and taking into account the amount of time the Ryanair crew spent talking to their headquarters before landing in Minsk suggests to me that this is indeed a coordinated play against Belarus.

that the narrative was already in play...even before he was arrested is another indication.

walking like a duck, quacking like a duck, it probably is a duck

Posted by: dan of steele | Jun 6 2021 9:57 utc | 142

@S, 141, I can agree with that. It is unlikely Protasevich would have passed unnoticed.
But posting the news on Twitter though was highly inappropriate. You want to buy your own people at least as much time as possible, even it is for deleting compromising data from your computer/smartphone. Also I have heard stories about people who should have been arrested in the airport and somehow passing unnoticed. I don't know what the procedures are with a landing like that. People from the plane aren't entering or leaving the country.

Posted by: Tuyzentfloot | Jun 6 2021 12:54 utc | 143

Tuyzenfloot @143--

When boarding an international flight, you must present both your boarding pass and passport for scanning. If it doesn't go green twice, then you don't get to board, and are pulled out of line to discover why. So, your ID is checked at security gate, then again prior to boarding international flights. That doesn't happen on domestic flights as passports aren't required.

Posted by: karlof1 | Jun 6 2021 17:47 utc | 144

"Regardless of whether Protashevich was telling the truth, and what his motives may have been,
this interview should not have been broadcast.Chilling!"

Indeed it is much better to keep him in a secret place, to hand him over in a foreign secret prison, to torture him there and finally to bring him to Guantanamo and to keep him there for years unde white torture.

Don't you think?

Posted by: Johann | Jun 6 2021 19:39 utc | 145

"and Protonmail denied it went to Minsk."

Protonmail is a cia asset.

Posted by: Johann | Jun 6 2021 19:41 utc | 146

Any more news on the girlfriend? As a Russian citizen there was some initial talk about a consular visit, but I don't recall seeing anything since.

Posted by: the pessimist | Jun 6 2021 22:11 utc | 147

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