Alexander Lukashenko, The President of Belarus has given a clear indication of where his loyalties lie and where the interests of his country lie. In a word: Russia.
Many tend to exaggerate the materially impactful nature of the occasional disagreements Minsk has with Moscow. The gas disputes of 2004 and 2007, were quickly resolved and relations between the two countries which form a successful Union State, continued along normal lines, thereafter.
Recently, the nature of the Union-States led to a minor disagreement over Russia demarcating the line which constitutes the legally open border between Belarus and Russia. As with the EU’s Schengen Area, there are no physical borders between members of the Union State and each country’s passport is fully valid as a work and residence document in the other country.
The dispute arose over Lukashenko enacting a liberalisation of visas for passport holders of EU states which still require an entry visa, even for tourism in Russia. As a consequence, Russia needed to demonstrate where legal entry into Belarus ends and where illegal entry into Russia could begin.
Today though, Lukashenko issued a statement which clarifies any lingering questions many have voiced over Belarus’ long term relationship with Russia.
“If someone says we took sides with the West or with someone else, ignore it. We understand perfectly well that we are of no use to the West. Moreover, they have never been fond of me to say the least, and that hasn’t changed”.
He reiterated his earlier remarks that there will be ‘no Maidan’ in Belarus, saying,
“If we had a situation similar to that in Ukraine, nothing good would come out of it”.
Many in the west will still attempt to foment regime change in Belarus, but it is unlikely to produce a result.