• In connection with the war, last year's migration crisis provoked by Lukashenko looks like a "special operation" carried out by him and Putin, as preparation for this year's war.

  • Moscow's targets in last year's migration crisis were a split in the European Union and an escalation of anti-immigrant sentiment there ahead of an alleged wave of refugees from the war in Ukraine.

The EU split has not been achieved

The European Union has treated Ukrainian refugees from the war differently than refugees from Asia, who fled to Europe via Belarus last year.

One reason is the nature of the crisis, last year it was clearly artificial.

The second is the cultural proximity of Ukrainians to Europe and the considerable cultural distance between it and refugees from Asia.

Today the accommodation point of migrants in "Bruzgi" stopped working.

Foreigners who lived there were temporarily resettled in hotels and resorts to wait for export flights.

However, probably not all: a record number of migrants tried to enter Poland illegally from Belarus yesterday - 134 people.

However, this is unlikely to be the beginning of a new wave of migration "offensive" of Lukashenko on Europe, rather - an indicator of the end of this "attack".

Both the intensity of the flow of migrants and its size are disproportionate to what happened last year.

Now last year's migrant crisis is perceived as an event of antiquity - so much has changed in the world war between Russia and Ukraine.

But in connection with the current war and the crisis looks in a completely different light.

And then there were opinions that Lukashenko's migration "attack" on Europe was a "special operation" not only and not so much him as the Kremlin.

Migration "special operation" in Belarus in preparation for war

Now, in the light of the war, this explanation seems more reasonable.

First, because the permission given by Lukashenko this year to deploy Russian troops in Belarus and to strike at Ukraine, shows the degree of his independence.

Now the Russians from Belarus are doing what they want, sending their soldiers and missiles to Ukraine.

It seems plausible that last year Moscow did what it wanted from the territory of Belarus, sending a migratory flow to the west.

And secondly, now, in retrospect, Moscow's goals in the migration "special operation" from the territory of Belarus are becoming clearer.

One goal was obvious even then - to split the European Union, to confront the tolerant Western Europe and the much less tolerant Eastern Europe.

The second goal was to aggravate anti-immigrant sentiment in Europe.

But then this goal seemed out of focus, abstract, just another means of raising public tensions in Europe.

Now this second goal of last year's migration "special operation" looks much more practical - as part of preparations for this year's "special operation", for this year's war.

If Moscow planned an attack on Ukraine last year or even earlier, the flow of migrants from Ukraine to the West could have been predicted.

And there, the Kremlin strategists thought, they are waiting for the hatred of migrants, formed during last year's migration "special operation", waiting for the border at the castle - the same thing that awaited last year's migrants through Belarus from Asia.

If this calculation came true, if Europe did not allow Ukrainian refugees from the war, it would create an additional humanitarian crisis in Western Ukraine, which would settle migrants who would not be allowed into the EU.

It would also cause great resentment among Ukrainians for Europe - we were abandoned, we are strangers to Europe.

As the Kremlin's plans did not come true

However, neither the first nor the second goal was achieved.

The actions of Lithuania and Poland towards migrants from Asia, however, caused some dissatisfaction in Western Europe.

But European solidarity has proved stronger, with last year's migrant attack not splitting the EU.

Even more convincing was the failure of the second goal.

According to the most generous estimates, tens of thousands of migrants from Asia tried to get to Europe through Belarus last year.

This year more than three million (!) Ukrainian refugees have left for Europe in less than a month.

Also for comparison: during the migration crisis of 2015-2016, about one and a half million refugees from Asia came to Europe.

Europe has behaved differently than last year's artificial, man-made migration crisis, which was a hundred times smaller than this year.

Probably, the nature of the crisis is one of the reasons why the reaction was different.

Last year, Lukashenko (and Putin, who was behind him) organized, provoked a migration "attack", took advantage of the intentions of refugees for their political purposes.

The artificiality of that crisis was one of the reasons for the then harsh reaction of Europe and, first of all, Belarus' neighbors.

The current migration crisis is natural, it is a natural reaction of Ukrainian society to today's war.

Ukrainian authorities do not urge them to flee, do not encourage them to do so.

However, an equally important aspect is, to put it mildly, a bit politically incorrect, but the cultural distance between Europeans and migrants from Asia - and from Ukraine.

Own and others

Objectively speaking, the suffering of a Syrian or a Syrian fleeing a civil war is no less than the suffering of a Ukrainian fleeing a foreign invasion.

But the second is for Europe, and the first is not.

In a sense, to some extent, understandable, but in a sense and degree absolutely obvious when compared.

The war in Ukraine is a war on the porch of the European Union, it is a war in Europe.

And in a sense, the gates of Europe, open to Ukrainian refugees, are a kind of apology from Europe for not being able to do more for Ukraine, for political reasons not being able to help it by force not to provoke a nuclear war.

Europe is not ready to fight for Ukraine, but at least it will accept its refugees, accept its own, accept Europeans.

And if so, if the goals of the migration "special operation" could not be achieved, then it was curtailed even symbolically, closing the location of migrants in the "Bruzgi".

Opinions expressed in blogs convey the views of the authors themselves and do not necessarily reflect the position of the editors.