Last week the center of attention once again proved to be the relations of the two Latvia’s neighbouring countries Russia and Belarus, namely: the press conference of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, which lasted more than seven hours during which he did not stint on the criticism addressed to Russia.
The list of accusations Moscow was long and broad: ranging from incorrect energy prices and ending claims that the Kremlin is almost punish Belarus for fear that the latter can “go to Europe”. Belarusian officials headed by the President the day before had taken a number of demarches, in particular, Lukashenko, referring to the formal reasons, arrived in Russia on signing of the agreement on Customs area of the Eurasian economic Union, and at the moment, relations between the two countries sank to a low point over the last decade.
The Belarusian leader has repeatedly used the same tactic when on the eve of important meetings (Lukashenka’s visit to Russia is expected February 9) aggravated important for Minsk questions. So far, this strategy has justified itself, because the Kremlin for the sake of peace and tranquility, as well as political support has traditionally agreed to give one of his closest allies new bonuses and credits.
It is clear that this time Lukashenko hopes for the same. Just desired it is, of course, but at least partially, Moscow will concede.
For Russia, the status of Belarus as an ally is important both for historical and geopolitical reasons, and the rejection of closer ties with Belarus will become even more severe blow to Moscow’s prestige, than the loss of Ukraine.
At the same time, the current demarche Lukashenko in relations with Russia may be the last, because the statements of officials of Moscow, publications in the press and a number of other signs indicate that the Kremlin overestimated the policy, in which energy and loans were exchanged for political loyalty of some States, including Belarus. It seems that Moscow has come to the conclusion that verbal, but not practical assurances of friendship (no hurry) is a product which is worth spending cubic meters of gas, barrels of oil and billions of dollars.
Accordingly, customers will gradually be offered more specific choices — or economic preference and unambiguous support of Moscow’s policy, or market prices and terms, for the economy of Belarus taking into account its dependence on Russia would be disastrous and, in all probability, would mean the end to Lukashenka’s regime. It seems easy to guess that will choose the President of Belarus.