Between Russia and the West: whether to keep Belarus’s sovereignty? as evidenced by the fact that Belarus, on the one hand, cancels visas for citizens of 80 countries, including Poland, signed treaties on military cooperation with the Americans, and at the same time conflicts over oil and gas with the Kremlin?


Zdzislaw Julian Vinnitsa (Zdzisław Julian Winnicki): This is a normal strategy, which in Belarus is called “multivector policy”, and which is reflected in the strategy of foreign policy of Minsk. Alexander Lukashenko has traditionally adhered to this method, maneuvering between the East and the West. Belarusian President refuses to close contacts with Russia, on the contrary, constantly stressed the existence of such links, but at the same time trying as best as possible to ensure strategic and economic interests of their country.


– What is the purpose of the Kremlin in the exercises “West-2017”, which will be held in Belarus? It is known that on the territory of Belarus appears a record number of Russian military…

Is a regular exercises, which the Russians carried out every year in the first place on the territory of the Grodno region, i.e. in the region where the Polish minority. In addition, this area is the so-called Suwalki isthmus, which allows you to block Lithuania and to create a corridor to Kaliningrad region. On the one hand, these maneuvers take place every year, on the other, the number of troops, which is planned to attract this year, was a surprise. It is difficult to say what is sought by the Russians, however, can be expected to maneuver like: “you gave us the “Eastern wall”, and we will show you our Western.” As far as we know according to official statements, Belarus myself surprised at how many Russian troops will participate in the exercise.

– What, in your opinion, trying to get Lukashenko is playing on two fronts?


In political strategy, Lukashenko is nothing new. Acting formally in the framework of the Union state of Russia and Belarus, he tries to use his flanking position at the junction with the EU to get from Russia everything in terms of strategic and industrial raw materials. At the same time he makes gestures in the direction of the “Western world” — the EU and occasionally the USA. He does this, first, to expand trade contacts, and secondly to protect themselves from the prospect of sanctions.


– Do you think he fears that Russia will decide to do with Belarus the same thing with Ukraine?


— I think such intentions Moscow has not. But Lukashenka certainly takes into account all scenarios, including Ukrainian, which he tries to avoid. At the same time in the last 15 years, despite close economic and military contacts with Russia, he tries to strengthen the Belarusian statehood.


For him the most important?


— The preservation of power, and at the same time consolidating sovereignty of the Belarusian state. This indicates that it allows the Belarusian language appeared in the public space and he’s trying to speak it. Lukashenko formulates public ideology, which called Belarusian political doctrine, and now — “the national ideology of the Republic of Belarus”.


– Thank you for the interview.