07/01/2021, 10.01
RUSSIA-BELARUS
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Putin wants rid of Lukashenko

by Vladimir Rozanskij

The Russians are working on the removal of the Belarusian dictator, unable to resolve the political and social crisis in his country. The goal is the incorporation of Belarus into the Russian Federation. Putin would have gotten the green light from the United States and China.

 

Moscow (AsiaNews) - The difficult economic conditions due to Western sanctions and the pandemic have put Belarus in a serious crisis, which is increasingly seeking the support of Russia. Instead, the Kremlin wants to accelerate to build a scenario reclaimed by the "toxic president" Aleksandr Lukashenko. This is what has emerged from recent contacts between Russians and Belarusians, especially from the visit of the secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolaj Patrušev, who went to Minsk on 30 June.

According to the Russian political scientist Arsenij Sivitskij, Patrušev's visit was supposed to "prepare the next meeting between Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin, which will have to resume the contents of the Sochi meeting of September 2020, when the Russian president imposed an acceleration on his Belarusian counterpart on the question of the merger between the two countries." Putin would also have the go-ahead from Washington and the whole West on his side, which would welcome the closure of the Belarus case and leave it in the hands of the Kremlin.

The "Sochi accords" presuppose the liberation of the opposition prisoners of, starting with the more moderate Viktor Babariko and the members of his group. The agreement also provides for the beginning of a more inclusive dialogue between the Belarusian authorities and the opposition, and the organization of new presidential elections by the end of 2021 (without, however, the participation of Lukashenko).

At the same time, the implementation of the constitutional reforms need expediting, mirroring the Russian ones. Belarus should move into a super-presidential form, in which parliament is de facto subject to the president. In exchange, the country would obtain the guarantee of Russia’s personal and political protection, and then reach the "twinning" agreement, which Lukashenko himself has long sought to escape in recent years.

The economic support that Russia had allocated last year to help Belarus has run out; Moscow now intends to dictate the rules ever more stringently, acting in tune with the pressure of increasingly harsh Western sanctions. The end of 2021 therefore appears to be the deadline of Lukashenko's infinite reign, precisely because of new sectoral restrictions by Europe and the United States, which would come into force at the beginning of 2022.

The new meeting between Putin and Lukashenko should take place in the second half of July or early August. It will be the moment of the "verdict" on Belarus: the real result of the Russian-US summit in Geneva, orchestrated by Patrušev, also director of the Sochi agreements.

So far Putin has refused to meet Lukashenko again. The Belarusian leader had proposed the date of 22 June (80 years since the beginning of the Patriotic War) or 29 June, with the opening of the Forum of the Russian-Belarusian regions. Patrušev and other Kremlin officials, such as Deputy Head of the Presidential Administration Dmitry Kozak, are however still working to define the agreement between Moscow and Washington on the Belarusian question.

During his visit on June 30, Patrušev would also have informed Lukashenko of an even broader agreement between Putin, Biden and Xi Jinping on the constitutional transition of Belarus, as the only way out of the crisis. Recent contacts in Minsk with the Chinese partner would have led to the same results. It would seem that Lukashenko is therefore before a real ultimatum.

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