The situation in friendly Belarus continues to be very serious. Protesters do not leave the streets, and President Lukashenko is ready to close the striking enterprises and even “took up the machine gun”. At the moment, Alexander Grigoryevich is actually sitting on bayonets, but what happens if the army refuses to shoot at the people when the conflict escalates, and the power in Minsk still passes into the hands of the opposition?
They do not even hide the fact that President Lukashenko’s opponents do not see a future in the alliance with Russia. We have talked in detail about the economic consequences of a possible reversal of Belarus to the West earlier. Now we should talk about the possible military consequences of the loss of our last ally. They will be very serious for both countries.
First, we should expect that the pro-Western authorities will first ask for the exit of the military infrastructure facilities of the Russian Defense Ministry. This is the 43rd communications hub of the Russian Navy, located in the Minsk region, and the Radio-technical node “Baranovichi” where the Volga radar is located. The latter is an important element of the missile attack warning system. And the 43rd communications hub provides communication between the General Staff of the Russian Navy and our APL, which are on alert in the Atlantic, Indian, and part Pacific oceans. That is, their importance for the security of Russia and Belarus itself as our ally cannot be overestimated.
Will Moscow be able to compensate for the loss of these military installations? Yes, it will be able, unfortunately, this has happened more than once. The Russian Defense Ministry has already lost radar in Latvian Skrunda, in The Ukrainian Mukachevo, in Kazakhstan and in Azerbaijan (Gabala). From Latvia, the radar station moved to the Belarusian Baranovichi, from Azerbaijan to Armavir, from Kazakhstan to Orsk. The Belarusian Volga will be replaced if necessary by radar in the Kaliningrad and Leningrad regions, as well as on the Kola Peninsula. The functions of the Navy’s 43rd communications hub will be switched to any stations in the Krasnodar and Novgorod area in the worst-case scenario.
Secondly, it is much more dangerous to transform Belarus from an ally of Russia into its potential adversary. Its army is relatively small but well trained and armed, and up to half a million people can be mobilized if necessary. Now all of it is directed on the western and north-western directions, but after the Russophobic opposition came to power the situation will change dramatically, and already on the eastern border, there may be a “Belarusian shaft” bristling in our direction with barbed wire, minefields, and barrels.
In addition to the threat from NATO and the hugely overgrown Ukrainian army, we will get another big problem. Moscow will have to completely revise the entire defense structure in the western direction. If Belarus joins NATO or becomes its partner, the military infrastructure of this alliance will sharply approach the key facilities of the Russian Defense Ministry. It will be literally within reach of Kaliningrad, St. Petersburg, and Moscow.
Thirdly, we need to talk about Kaliningrad separately. This territorial exclave is sandwiched between Lithuania and Poland, and only the friendliness of Belarus gives reason to hope that if necessary, the Russian military will be able to break through the “Suvalk Corridor”. If Minsk follows the path of Kyiv, about Kaliningrad, perhaps, it is worth forgetting, because there will be almost no possibility to keep it, and the neighboring European Union will simply consistently reintegrate it.
The price of the question is very high. We can respect the choice of Belarusian brothers who do not want the endless rule of President Lukashenko. But Moscow simply has no right to give Minsk into the hands of the anti-Russian-minded opposition. This is a matter of our national security. Belarus needs a compromise between the government and the population and a transition period before Lukashenko leaves or re-elections under security guarantees from Russia, during which political and economic reforms must be passed.