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Feb 23, 2021
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Shod in skis in Krasnaya Polyana: Why did Old Man come to Putin again

In the photo: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko and President of Russia Vladimir Putin (left to right) during a meeting

In the photo: President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko and President of Russia Vladimir Putin (left to right) during a meeting (Photo: Press Service of the President of the Russian Federation / TASS)

Meticulous journalists have calculated that from 2000 to 2020 the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko (he has held this post since June 20, 1994) came to Russia 105 times. He had been to Moscow before, but it was after the Millennium that he became frequent and traveled to To Putin, relations with whom were not easy: “sweet and cursed, and put up”, but the matter never came to a “divorce”.

The last time Batka rushed to Sochi was on September 14, 2020, even before the official inauguration for the sixth presidential term, when mass rallies of the opposition took place in Belarus, which considered the August 9 elections to be rigged. And although according to the Kremlin’s official reports, Putin and Lukashenko “discussed trade and economic issues” and “had a constructive conversation on oil and gas issues,” it was clear that Old Man had come for support. And he received it, including the military one – Putin promised that joint Russian-Belarusian military exercises would be held on the territory of Belarus on a monthly basis. Lukashenka agreed with this idea.

Now, when the political situation in Belarus has largely stabilized, Lukashenka has “pinned down the protesting opposition” (opposition leader Tihanovskaya now she said: “It seems we have lost”), Batka again came to Putin. He said in advance that he would not ask for anything. Again, as reported in the Kremlin, it is planned to discuss key issues in the development of Russian-Belarusian relations of strategic partnership. “The presidents will pay special attention to large joint projects in the trade, economic, energy, cultural and humanitarian fields, as well as further advancement of integration processes within the Union State,” the press secretary of the Russian president informed the public Dmitry Peskov… A standard agenda for this level of meetings, as it has been more than once.

The official meeting at the presidential residence Bocharov Ruchei of Putin and Lukashenko will take place today, February 22, while Batka flew out of Minsk in the direction of Sochi on Friday. Knowing his passion for alpine skiing, it can be assumed that the Belarusian president spent the past few days on the slopes of Krasnaya Polyana. He has been here several times and his company was accompanied by President Putin, who is also not indifferent to skiing. By the way, Lukashenko went downhill skiing not only in Russia, but also in Slovenia, Serbia, Switzerland, Austria and Kazakhstan, where the then president rode with him. Nursultan Nazarbaev… It is likely that skiing and mountain air serve as a prelude to the main part of the negotiations, and it can be useful to talk in private, without extra ears.

The agenda of the current talks between Putin and Lukashenka seems to have been voiced, but there are also “dark spots” in it. If Old Man did not come “to ask for something”, then what? Again, according to Peskov, at the end of the day, the leaders do not plan to give a press conference, that is, they will not voice any agreements or agreements, which adds some intrigue, especially with the clarification “it can still take place if it is deemed necessary “. This means that the conversation will be serious and its outcome is not initially predetermined.

Another interesting nuance – not a word about what Lukashenka was doing in Sochi over the past three days. Even about skiing from the mountains in Krasnaya Polyana, not a word, about the hockey battles with the participation of Putin, which in previous visits were widely covered, nothing was reported. On the eve, Lukashenko himself announced his desire to meet with Dmitry Medvedev during this visit. When Medvedev was the president of Russia, they went skiing together, and held negotiations on presidential status. Now Dmitry Anatolyevich occupies a “modest” post of Deputy Security Secretary of the Russian Federation and what reason does Lukashenka have about meeting with him? Or is his extended visit to Russia connected with some other purpose other than skiing and discussing with Putin topics for which telephone conversations are enough? And it is Medvedev who may be the key figure in the confidential meeting. Suppose, as the future head of the Union State, on the creation of which Putin and Lukashenka finally agree. However, this is just guesswork and nothing new and Sochi this time will not happen.

– The conversations between Putin and Lukashenko in Sochi ideally fit into a paraphrased remark by Paramon Ilyich Korzukhin from Bulgakov’s play “Running”: “I assumed that talking about mythical friendship would lead exactly to dollars,” he believes St. Petersburg political scientist, expert on Belarus Alexander Zimovsky

Of course, this is precisely the case when all Russian observers, experts and analysts simply dream of making mistakes in their forecasts. And the conversation will not be reduced to dollars. But for many years in a row, experts have not been able to make a mistake. And it is unlikely that the meeting between Putin and Lukashenko on February 22, 2021 will be anything different from previous similar meetings.

However, I myself am just sure that Belarus deserves immediate financial assistance in the form of another large loan. This confidence is based on the fact that, as I predicted in August last year, the “Belarusian revolution” in the end turned out to be phantom. As the saying goes, Can’t buy me love, but usually it’s only about the price.

Lukashenko stayed in the chair of the head of the republic; the Russian airbag for Belarus worked effectively. With the exception of the sharply jumped “communal apartment”, no visible deterioration in the life of Belarusians has occurred. Belarus, referred to in the West as a “poor autocracy”, thanks exclusively to Russian money and resources, survived a harsh winter without losses. But the rich democratic state of Texas, which, for a second, is swelling with oil and gas, did not survive the winter, as we all already know. It’s just for comparison.

So Belarus remains a solvent debtor to Russia. And Lukashenka remains the person who ensures debt payments.

After all, you and I do not think that the people who tried to shove Lukashenka out will begin to provide payments for the obligations of the Republic of Belarus to the Russian Federation? And they would not have, Madame Tikhanovskaya and her colleagues spoke about this quite unambiguously. Therefore, when Lukashenka asks again, it is worth giving again.

The position “must be given”, in my opinion, extends to Russian-Belarusian military-technical cooperation. The Russian Armed Forces are rapidly modernizing; the Belarusian Armed Forces are still firmly seated on the resources of the former KBVO (Red Banner Belarusian Military District – “SP”). Agree, in the 21st century, it is purely hypothetical to enter Warsaw and Vilna on the ancient T-72s already noncomilfo. The Belarusian fleet of armored vehicles needs serious renovation. Also a topic for conversation. Of course, the Belarusians will roll out a new version of the agreement on Russian military facilities on their territory. In addition, the Belarusian ground forces, like the Armenian just now, are an easy target for any type of UAV. Now Belarus is revising the concept of its field air defense system, therefore, the military topics of the negotiations will expand in this direction as well.

As for the announced meeting of Medvedev and Lukashenko, which supposedly will precede the upcoming negotiations with Putin, then one should not look for a double bottom here either.

Firstly, Dmitry Anatolyevich is an excellent skier, and for him the joint Krasnaya Polyana rides with Lukashenko are just a good reason to stretch his joints. To act, so to speak, in contrast.

Secondly, there is a demonstration that the Deputy Chairman of the Security Council of the Russian Federation Medvedev is in Sochi together with Putin and is involved in the discussion / resolution of issues of a strategic foreign policy level.

Thirdly, Medvedev is able to pry Lukashenka out of himself without much effort. Therefore, their possible joint vacation will allow combining the legendary Russian hospitality with the legendary Russian intelligence in battle.

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