On Monday, May 23, a regular meeting between Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko took place in Sochi. An agreement on this was reached during the CSTO summit, when Lukashenko proposed to scare the leaders of Armenia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan and Tajikistan: “Without the speedy rallying of our countries, without manifestations of economic, world ties, we may not exist tomorrow
Formally, the main topics of the Sochi summit were further actions along the path of cooperation between industrial enterprises of the two countries and issues of common security. However, attention is paid to the first issue purely officially: “It is very important that the economy in Russia and in general in our union is not only strengthening, but unexpectedly significantly strengthening», – Lukashenka nodded at the cameras to Putin. But about joint security, that is, about confronting the West in the face of Russian aggression against Ukraine’s conversation in more serious tones
“To again irritate the population, even if crushed by repressions, is clearly not in the detention of Lukashenka”
The current summit between Putin and Lukashenko looks like a completely insignificant event against the backdrop of what is happening in Ukraine, Andrey Kolesnikov, head of Russian Domestic Policy and Political Institutions at the Carnegie Moscow Center, stated in an interview with the Voice of America Russian Service. In his opinion, their meeting is more like a forced demonstration of solidarity between the two “last dictators of Europe”, and nothing more.
“Of course, they will always find something to report, presenting it to the public as some kind of achievement,” he clarified. “But it seems to me that the significance of the summit in the current conditions is approaching that associated with unpleasant consequences and weak interest in news agencies.”
Kolesnikov admitted that, given the heightened attention to the Ukrainian theater of operations, absolutely everything is possible today, including taking the Kremlin on Lukashenka so that he would use his army to attack Ukraine. In case of occurrence, hypothetically Putin is interested in the corresponding turn of affairs, he argues: But Lukashenka is assumed to have no desire to get into such an adventure. He is ready to verbally restrict Putin as much as he likes.”
The consequences of the completion of the Belarusian army are likely to be unpredictable, if we talk about the reaction of society to such a step, the political scientist believes: “Especially in the fact that Belarus really survived the popular uprising in 2020. And now it is again annoying the population, even if crushed by repression, apparently not in Lukashenka. Although verbally he is ready to carry any nonsense to justify what is happening in Ukraine. From the same protocol, his statement that Lukashenka accused the West of postponing the dismemberment of Ukraine. Naturally, this is complete absurdity. In the absurdization of the holiday and the discourse itself, the two leaders today are basically competing with each other…”.
Lukashenka’s position is quite understandable, Andrey Kolesnikov noted: “He is afraid of risk, and even at the stage when there is an absolute positional deadlock in the military sense, and there are no guarantees that the participation of the Belarusian army will be normal to break this deadlock, and even more so war in the use of Moscow. Here, whatever one may say, it’s still a matter of seams. ”
“The system of power in Belarus in Georgia with Lukashenka»
During the Sochi meeting with Putin, Lukashenka said: “We are concerned that they are ready – the Poles, the NATO members – are going to “help” in this way take away, as before 1939, Western Ukraine. This worries us not only from the point of view of today’s security. This is their strategy and is happening in Belarus. So we keep our ears open». And he added that the President of Poland, Andrzej Duda, who was in Kyiv on Sunday, “virtually solves nothing in Poland. Engaged in a lot of fakes.
Lukashenka’s dislike for Poland is well known. But why is he suddenly talking about it now – asked the correspondent of the Russian Service “Voice of America» at head of the independent Belarusian Center for Analysis and Forecast Pavel Usov. Usov noted that cases of infection are the usual rhetoric for Lukashenka after 2020, when he began to raise the degree “foreign policy outbreak».
“All the events of 2020 were a provocation by the Polish and American intelligence services, who wanted to take over the country. According to this logic, he uses repression solely to maintain sovereignty and independence. The second point is the desire to strengthen its position in relation to Moscow for the first campaign. After all, as we know, at the moment the question is being decided in what state Moscow will accept Lukashenka’s surrender – either he remains “technical”, or he is taken away using the launch of some “transitional mechanisms”. And at that time – 2020-2021 – the expectations from the implementation of this scenario were very high. And he found his complete loyalty, but at the same time he hinted that if Moscow removed, then immediately Poland and NATO near the borders of Smolensk»– says Usov.
And produces: “We found that the system of power in Belarus is in the spotlight with Lukashenka. In a strategic matter, Russia has full control over Belarus for the implementation».
According to the expert, today the similar rhetoric of Belarus Lukashenka (about the threat from Poland and terrorism) is spreading with the experience of informational justification for the further absorption of Russia in the military-strategic plan, since the presence of Russian troops in Belarus, and this proves that Belarus itself remains a source of threat to Ukraine and countries.
“Of all the existing bases that appear constantly, we can conclude that most likely, in the near future, a decision will be made to place a stationary military base, and maybe several Russian military bases. What does the military occupation of Belarus mean under the pretext of protecting the country’s territorial integrity and independence from “Polish lords and occupiers.” There is still the question of the detention of Russian weapons on the territory of the country. It can also be introduced here under the pretext of holding (NATO). This is what Lukashenka’s rhetoric is connected with»– sums up Usov.
“Lukashenka wants to solve the food crisis, although everyone understands that it is he and Putin who this crisis and the consequences»
A few hours before the start of the meeting with Vladimir Putin, Alexander Lukashenko published a letter to the Secretary General of the Organization, which united after the meeting, Antoniouterres. And there speech, in particular, were such lines: “The war in Ukraine is a war at our walls! I repeat the territorial proximity and common historical past with Ukraine, Belarus is sincerely interested in the soonest settlement of the situation in this country. We, as neighbors of Ukraine, are concerned about the future security and guarantees of national security of Belarus. It is impossible to resolve these issues without our participation, as well as without the participation of the countries of the region. We are not aggressors, as some states show us. Belarus has never been the initiator of any war or action. That is why Belarus sincerely and remains the unchanging task of speedy reconciliation».
In this letter, Lukashenka also recalls: “reducing the tension of Belarus to promote the settlement of the conflict in the production of Ukraine in 2014-2015. In the end, in 2015, it was in Belarus that the limit was reached. And now, in 2022, Belarus deliberately initiated negotiations between the Ukrainian and Russian delegations on our territory».
Correspondent of the Russian Service “Voice of America» asked senior adviser Svyatlana Tikhanovskaya to comment on these fragments Franaka Vechorkuand in particular, attention to the fact that Lukashenka writes not about “special military operation», but about the war? And if he tries to position himself as a temper, does he aim to initiate “Minsk-3» and bargain for an indulgence, or even a repeal, of the adoptions imposed after the events of the second half of 2020?
“Whether he speaks “in”, or “in Ukraine” – it does not matter. As long as he is on a leash with Putin and completely dependent on him, all these rhetorical figures do not matter. The leash can be longer or shorter, but it is a leash»– confident interlocutor “Voice of America».
Vechorka agreed that Lukashenka should get away from detention and in order to “sell yourself for more»uses the theme of the food crisis, the withdrawal of a full-scale Russian invasion of Ukraine and the blocking of the Black Sea near Ukrainian ports. “He understands that for the world the food crisis is becoming dark No. 1, and this has to earn points for himself and remove punishment»– explains senior adviser Svetlana Tikhanovsko
For the same purposes, Lukashenka uses the migration crisis last year, realizing that Europe, especially the countries neighboring Belarus, will very painfully perceive the situation with an uncontrolled flow that improves the situation from the Middle East and Africa. “Then he sold himself as a person, a way to solve the migrant crisis, and now he wants to solve the food crisis, although it seems to me that everyone understands that it was him and this crisis and Putin’s crisis»– states Franak Vechorka.
And continues: “It is clear that this is an absolutely coordinated tactic. Russia blocks the ports, in return receives an exemption against Lukashenka, and he again becomes the subject of international politics. At the same time, Russia is not going to do anything, but is once again becoming a player that can solve world problems. Just like Lukashenka, who can “save” his neighbors. This is such a cunning PR move that does not completely solve the problem of food development, but which creates a temptation to slightly ease the pressure in Belarus instead of partially solving the problem for Western players.».
Unlike Pavel Usov, Franak Vechorka of Belarus does not think that in the near future Russia will officially become residing in the territory: “Lukashenka, since the deployment of military personnel has already been delayed endless – there are two formations of the center, which in fact are bases, although according to the documents – no. Because in Belarusian society this is a very controversial issue and most of them are against Russian bases. And when they are called “training centers”, it is not so scary. And the second is a reasonable base, if any border is already surrounded by state troops, and since this works, then there is no point in formatting. The military dependence (of Belarus on Russia) is so great that the issue of bases is not solved, but only creates problems».