Sep 12, 2020
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An equation with many unknowns: what Putin and Lukashenko will talk about

The last time real negotiations between the two presidents - Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko - took place last February. The arrival of Alexander Grigorievich to the June Victory Parade, when he flatteringly declared that he had arrived in the "capital of the motherland", does not count. And in winter, they say, a direct question about deeper integration provoked a hysterical reaction from the Belarusian leader with exclamations: “I don't want to be the last president of Belarus”. In addition, he decided to openly and rudely troll his Russian colleague, proposing the following unification scheme: one year Putin is the president, and I am the speaker of parliament, the next the opposite is true.

Lukashenka's "joke" in the Kremlin was assessed strategically. And, according to many informed sources, it was then, literally at the last moment, that the prepared initiative of the deputy-fighter Alexander Karelin to dissolve the State Duma was sent to the archive, and the word about zeroing was given to Valentina Tereshkova. Thus, Russian-Belarusian relations and their level had a direct impact on the internal situation in Russia.

So the future summit of Russia and Belarus looks like an equation with many unknowns. Yes, compared to February, the main lines seem to have changed. Lukashenka’s victory in the presidential election was recognized only by Russia and China from the major world players. But the Chinese comrades, who advised Old Man to deal harshly with the demonstrators, are unlikely to seriously save their autocrat colleague. But, on the other hand, the Westerners do not force the use of ruthless sanctions against Lukashenka for fear of finally pushing him under Russia. Moreover, it is much easier for Moscow to punish Belarus for Belarus, placing on it all the responsibility for what happened.

Alexander LukashenkoAlexander Lukashenko

Meanwhile, Lukashenko is flying to Russia, having already outlined his own program for overcoming the Belarusian crisis, including a constitutional referendum and subsequent presidential elections. In other words, he already imagines himself as a leader in control of the situation and seeing prospects. This is no longer an outcast with a gun and a helmet. And Lukashenka’s phrase that he spent some time in the presidential chair gives hope that he will leave without haste. This forecast is supported by rumors that his son Kolya has already moved from the Minsk lyceum to a privileged school near Moscow.

Naturally, knowing the resourcefulness of the Old Man, all these voiced proposals can simply be mistaken for distractions in the hope of gaining time in order to later abandon all promises. Yes, in fact, the implementation of the proclaimed program does not promise anything definite to Moscow - it remains in the remaining year to force the creation of a pro-Russian party that could fight for a majority in parliament.

It is possible that it is precisely such a restructuring of the strategy that could entail, according to insiders, the return to the Kremlin of the once unsinkable Vladislav Surkov, who, they say, will take upon himself the building of a new policy with Minsk. But if this stuffing is just a form of pressure on Dmitry Kozak, who is now responsible for the Belarusian line in the presidential administration, then Old Man, as he has repeatedly happened, will find how to take advantage of such undercover competition in the Kremlin.

By the way, new approaches to Belarus, a glimpse into the post-Lukashenka era should receive "logistic" support from Lukashenko's apparatus, which, until recently, on the contrary, in every possible way crushed everything more or less pro-Russian. Will Moscow be able to get such guarantees from Batka? This, apparently, will largely comprise the behind-the-scenes part of the negotiations. In any case, the billion in restructured debt must be paid off somehow.

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