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Feb 24, 2021
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Putin bent Father? Or Father Putin?

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (left to right)

Photo: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko (left to right) (Photo: Alexey Druzhinin / TASS)

Almost all roadmaps on various areas of cooperation between Moscow and Minsk are ready for signing. This was stated after a meeting in Sochi with a Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko

“We have already done a lot and governments have been working. In my opinion, we identified 33 directions, remember, these roadmaps that we have worked out. We are now in connection with our agreements in Sochi, when we met for the first time, we agreed that we will modernize them, renew them, our governments will take care of this, and indeed the governments have done a lot. They renewed the format, and today Ambassador Semashko reported to me that out of 33 there may be six or seven roadmaps left, on which our governments are working, and all the rest are, in principle, ready for signing, ”said the Belarusian leader.

No other details of the negotiations are known. But it is worth recalling that Moscow expects a number of fundamental decisions from Lukashenka. First, it is the continuation of the dialogue on the political part of integration within the Union State, including the creation of supranational bodies.

Secondly, it is a constitutional reform, which the Belarusian president promised to carry out in order to reduce the tension in society, which has increased after last year’s elections.

Thirdly, this is the admission of Russian companies to the purchase of Belarusian enterprises. According to the telegram channel “Nezygar”, Severstal is ready to buy BMZ with all its debts, the sale for $ 500 million plus the repayment of all debts and modernization are being discussed. Rostec is interested in MZKT, for which it is ready to pay $ 750 million, Uralchem ​​is ready to give $ 800 million for GrodnoAzot, Rostelmash agrees to buy Gomselmash for $ 150 million and cover all losses (about $ 550 million). Finally, Kamaz can buy MAZ for $ 1 billion, Rosneft – Naftan for more than $ 3 billion,

Let us remind you that all this time Lukashenka resisted this, as well as the creation of supranational bodies. At the same time, we have already written that he is clearly counting on another loan from Russia, despite his own refutation.

As the TV channel Bulba writes, the Russian president did not make a final decision on another loan for Lukashenka. A positive decision will depend on whether Old Man agrees to the conditions set, in particular, from the abolition of the constitutional provision on Belarus’ striving for neutrality.

– We are talking about those “road maps” that the parties developed back in 2019, – explains Belarusian political commentator Kirill Ozimko… – A total of 31 cards, the last of which assumes deeper political integration of countries within the Union State.

Until September 2020, Minsk and Moscow could not agree on positions on how to implement these cards. But in September they resumed negotiations on them, while correcting them for the sake of a compromise. Now, as Lukashenka said, the governments of the countries are working on their implementation.

“SP”: – What exactly is this work?

– The maps should contain plans for all areas of integration – from social and humanitarian to trade, economic and political. What exactly has already been accepted and what has not – is not yet revealed. Moreover, even the content of the roadmaps themselves is not disclosed. Only the content of the notorious 31st card got into the information space.

“SP”: – How about the sale of Belarusian enterprises? Why is Lukashenka so obstinate?

– All Lukashenka’s rhetoric, including during the All-Belarusian Assembly, suggests that the issue of maintaining control over the largest state-owned enterprises is a matter of principle for Minsk. Considering that the Belarusian president is an authoritarian ruler, he strives for complete control over the economic sphere in Belarus, which will become difficult if Russian big capital begins to dominate the country.

There is also a socio-political aspect – the political activity of public sector employees is much easier to control than private sector employees. They are more dependent on the authorities and their decisions. And there are many state employees in the republic just due to the fact that there is an extensive public sector.

“SP”: – Telegram channels write that Putin has set a condition for Lukashenka: the promotion of the abolition of the constitutional provision on the striving of Belarus for neutrality. Will Old Man agree?

– I don’t understand why such serious attention should be paid to some formulations and words in constitutions and other laws, when it was customary in Russia from ancient times that “the word and decision of the tsar-father is higher than what is written in the laws”.

In addition, the wording of “neutrality” did not prevent Belarus from signing an agreement on the Union State and joining the CSTO military bloc. Well, they will cancel the norm, what will change? All the same, the development of integration will depend on what exactly Putin and Lukashenka decide.

“SP”: – Let’s return to the card that caused noise 31: Is Lukashenka already ripe?

– So far Lukashenka clearly shows that he is not ready. During the All-Belarusian Assembly, as in all recent years, he defended his point of view that the creation of supranational bodies in the Union State is not necessary.

– All these are really old roadmaps for deepening bilateral integration, says Associate Professor, Department of Political Science, Financial University under the Government of the Russian Federation Gevorg Mirzayan… – Most of them were agreed upon a long time ago, but some questions remained. Including the 31st. But you need to understand that Lukashenka is not a fruit, but a weather vane. He does not mature – he can only turn in the right direction. It all depends on international winds. Therefore, it will be necessary to speak seriously about the cards only when they are signed.

“SP”: – Lukashenko will receive a loan?

– Theoretically, I should get it, but it cannot be said that Minsk will not survive without a loan. It’s just that somewhere in something you will have to narrow down, and further undermine the social contract between Batka and the population (stability in exchange for consent to an authoritarian regime).

“SP”: – And what about the enterprises that Moscow wants to get?

– Russian companies have long been ready to buy Belarusian ones – but Old Man was against it. And they are against it until today, since it considers these companies as a guarantee of Belarusian independence. If we sell it for sale, it will mean that we have also pushed it for integration. On the other hand, integration is possible without selling.

“SP”: – Is there a feeling that Old Man, having strengthened his position in power and having dealt with the opposition, is ready to continue talking with Moscow, as before. Or will it be a different Old Man?

– Old Man will be Old Man as long as we allow it. It is high time to take a tougher tone in the dialogue – strictly according to the principle of the fitter Mechnikov: “integration in the morning – money in the evening”.

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