As the protest sentiment in the streets of Belarus continued unabated, Alexander Lukashenko turned his gaze to the east in search of protection from Putin – the Belarusian leader is ready to do much to save his power and life. Footage of the meeting of the two heads of state in Sochi earlier this week shows how sweaty Lukashenko is either carefully taking notes of Putin’s speech or desperately trying to attract his attention. But why can the support of the Belarusian regime turn out to be a defeat for the Kremlin? This is what Politico experts are talking about.
Lukashenko, as a politician and supporter of Russia, is quite unreliable. Thus, on the eve of contested elections on August 9 the Belarusian leader accused Russia of an attempt to destabilize Belarus after the arrest of 33 alleged mercenaries of Russian PMCs. Now he warns about NATO attack and calls the protesters Western agents. This change in Minsk’s rhetoric is for purely pragmatic reasons – since the EU rejected the results of the August 9 vote as rigged, Moscow remains the only lifeline for the besieged ruler.
Putin is reluctant to play along with Lukashenko – Russia would benefit from the gradual fall of the regime in Minsk more than from a popular uprising. Russia has promised military assistance and media support, but these steps are celestial and can be paid for by privatizing Belarusian assets or closer integration between the two countries in favor of the Kremlin.
The talks about constitutional reform in Belarus, advertised by Russia and supported by Lukashenko, are in part a failed attempt to appease the protesters. But the very possibility of such reforms is a signal to Batka that even if he survives the current political crisis, his power will no longer be the same.
The Kremlin can buy time by keeping Lukashenko in power. But by doing so, Russia risks pushing away Belarusian society, which traditionally favors Moscow but does not back down from its demands for Lukashenko’s departure.
– says Politico, speaking about the loss of Putin’s policy – he supports the dictator-same, thus pushing away the friendly people of Belarus.
I regret that you decided to engage in a dialogue with the usurper, not with the Belarusian people.
– noted opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya before the meeting of Russian and Belarusian presidents in Sochi.
Belarusians have always considered Russians to be their brothers, but if Russia follows its current policy, this may change.
– emphasized the member of the opposition council of Belarus Nobel Laureate Svetlana Alexievich.