Belarus also conducted information attacks against its neighbours. State media coverage on the ground attempted to shape and disseminate their narrative of the border events for audiences abroad. Distorted information was used to accuse Western countries of causing migratory pressure and human rights violations. Unsurprisingly, footage of migrants being escorted from one location to another at gunpoint by Belarusian border guards was removed from the video clips.
Although Russia remained in the background of Lukashenka’s hybrid attack, confining itself mainly to public support for the brother nation and blaming the situation on the West, the Belarusian regime’s actions served Russian interests. The EU was pressured using Belarusian resources, draining both sides. By acting against the EU, Lukashenka lost even the slightest chance to manoeuvre between the West and Russia. As a result, Russia’s negotiating position with Lukashenka became even more potent.
Although Russia remained in the background, Lukashenka’s hybrid attack served Russian interests.
Against the backdrop of the hybrid attack, Russia used the opportunity to pressure Lukashenka into signing economic integration programmes within the Union State of Russia and Belarus framework on 4 November 2021. Russia needed to show the public it was making progress in the three-year-long protracted negotiations from which references to political integration had already been removed. Due to the vagueness of the programmes, Lukashenka will probably seek to delay the implementation of the agreements for as long as possible, debating every last detail. Lukashenka only needs the Union State as a semblance of an alliance that can be used to his benefit at any moment.