Lukashenko at a dead end

For Belarus today faces the prospect of regime change, initiated by Russia, says Balazs Yarabik, expert Madrid think tank FRIDE in his commentary titled "Belarus: the end of friendship."

"The geopolitical game eccentric Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko came to a standstill. He suspended the dialogue with the EU in the hope that Brussels will take all the charges they preconditions for partnership. At the same time he was to alienate the leaders of Russia. As a result of the presidential elections to be held before February 2011, will be fatal for him. To the European Union raises the prospect of the Russian-initiated regime change in the neighboring country.

Recent gas conflict between countries that officially are building a union state, was apparently provoked by Moscow. The main purpose of it was not that of obtaining payment of a relatively small amount of money for gas, and — set up the Russian social thought against Belarus and Lukashenko deny support to Russian media.

Directed against Lukashenko campaign "Tell the Truth", released in February this year, in fact — a "soft" Russian project. Russian state television NTV shows films about Lukashenko, exposing it as much as in the West — "the last dictator of Europe." The gas conflict has confirmed that the West is indifferent to the future of Lukashenko.

Minsk has not made a single step on the path of political reforms that led to the suspension of dialogue between the EU and Belarus. The Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe adopted a decision to freeze contacts after apparently rigged elections to the local councils. European high-level representatives complain that the Belarusian president does not want to make any political concessions.

Geopolitics, the most important card Lukashenko, turns against him. Belarus lost its main backers in the West, especially Poland, Minsk indignant attitude of the Polish minority.

Moscow paid Belarusian "economic miracle" for ten years, and now she wants to convert this support into political influence. After the Russian subsidies have decreased significantly, Belarus survives on Western loans. But if Russia will finish the new oil terminal near St. Petersburg, in 2013 can be closed "Druzhba" pipeline that runs from Russia to Europe via Belarus.

Closure of the "Druzhba" pipeline will be a mortal blow to the Belarusian economy, because in his way are the two largest and most modern refineries in the former Soviet Union. They provide about a third of the GDP of Belarus. Russia has countered that Lukashenko's ambitions.

Since neither the opposition nor the West is really no how to influence state power in Belarus, the final scene will be played out between Lukashenko and Russian.

Moscow must act without delay. Russia believes that Ukraine has returned to its sphere of influence. Moscow's attempt to take the Georgian president Mikheil Saakashvili in the siege, maintaining contact with the entire opposition, can make the relationship with the Russian central issue for Georgians.

Impressive resemblance to the strategy of the West, when he was in its time also tried to take in the siege of Slobodan Milosevic in Serbia. Now it is time to "restore order" in Belarus, while Russia has the means for this, and the West to boot into a quagmire of its own crisis. A recent reset of relations with the United States and the negotiations between Germany and Russia on a new architecture of European security force Moscow to speed up efforts to reassert its influence in the near abroad.

Lukashenko has created a viable and loyal to his regime. Given the rotation since 2004 from Moscow to the side of the "Belarusian patriotism" when the nation became independent mobilization factor Lukashenko creates a new "probelorusskuyu" elite. However, this new elite can begin to consider Lukashenko as part of the problem — as a leader, unable to resist more severe stress faced by the country. Expand projects nesilavoga exposure is good for showing off, but Moscow needs a new approach to the elite, to ensure a soft transition of power.

The deciding factor will be what will the new elite on the side of Lukashenka to get along with him to resist the pressure of the Russian company. Since neither the opposition nor the West is really no how to influence state power in Belarus, the final scene will be played out between Lukashenko and Russian. "


Russia, election, Lukashenko

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