Alexander Lukashenko refused to sign a new plan for the use of regional forces of Belarus and Russia. He called for deliveries to Belarus Russian weapons at discount prices. "No documents in due course I will not sign. So pass the defense minister and the president of Russia — quoted Alexander Lukashenko agency BelTA."
Today's guest night of freedom military analyst Alexander Alesina and he's with us on the telephone from Minsk.
Sous: How important regional grouping of the armed forces for Belarus and Russia? Who needs it more?
Alesin: It seems to me that now is the significance of this group is much more than 10 years ago when it first formed. In Russia there are intensive reform of the army, downsizing, and Russia is concentrating his main forces in areas where they see the greatest danger. It is near the border with China, and the Caucasus. Therefore, they are pulling together "blanket" there. And then prykoyvats border with the West — has dropped the Belarusian army. So the smaller the Russian army, the greater the difficulties — the more increases the importance for Russia of the Belarusian army.
Sous: What does the new plan for the use of the regional group? How does it differ from the old?
Alesin: Nothing new here. In 1996 he signed a package of inter-related documents, which included the preservation of strategic interests on the territory of Belarus in exchange for economic benefits. That means keeping these strategic interests of Russia? Maintaining two military bases, admission to the Russian military infrastructure and so on. Instead of Belarus received access to the Russian market, and cheap energy. Since Putin came to power, the transaction was carried out, but then had the idea that by using gas and oil leverage, you can get the same thing from Belarus due to the pressure. And the subsequent actions indicate that Russia would get by force Belarus to carry out duties. But Lukashenko is now demanding payment for execution.
Sous: Who is funding the regional grouping?
Alesin: That part of the group consisting of the Belarusian army, financed from the state budget of Belarus from the state budget. Virtually our entire army is a part of the land group Belarus-Russia.
Sous: What do you think is the sharp deterioration of the Belarusian-Russian relations affect military cooperation?
Alesin: Paradoxically, at the peak of the conflict, the Cabinet has approved and presented to the President an agreement on military-technical cooperation between Belarus and Russia, which lay shifts 10 years. And would lay more if the Russian military began to be protected, that the deterioration of political relations will lead to isolation of Belarus and Russia in the military sphere. That part of the Russian elite, which is responsible for military policy — is trying to keep Belarus in its orbit military interests.
Listen to the conversation in full: