Alexander Lukashenko missed the summits of the CSTO and the Eurasian economic Union in St. Petersburg, thus depriving them of a quorum. But it is an appeal “not to look at each other like a wolf” adopted in Minsk Western emissary. Recently in Minsk have been detained four Pro-Russian activist. Although the “old man” has long been trying to balance between East and West, this time he “crossed the line”, say the scientists.
The presidents of Russia, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan and Armenia gathered on Monday for a summit meeting of the Eurasian economic community (EAEC) in St. Petersburg. They signed the Customs code of the Union, but the document has not yet entered into force. The fact that the summit missed the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko, who is now a contract will be sent for signature. But in Lukashenka’s absence the rest of the leaders of the EurAsEC countries approved the launch of negotiations on a free trade zone from four countries: Iran, Egypt, India and Singapore.
“Moscow has decided to refrain from public reaction, however, these arrests were a serious blow to Russia’s image in the eyes of the Belarusian population”
Then in St. Petersburg was planned the CSTO summit, which was planned to appoint a new Secretary General, however, the issue was postponed – not for the first time. It was originally listed in the agenda of the summit in October in Yerevan. “The issue today was not considered due to the fact that there was a quorum: you know that one of the delegations of the States members of the organization in these workshops was not involved,” said current Secretary General of the organization Nikolay Bordyuzha, adding that the question was postponed to next summit: April – may.
“Don’t look at each other like a wolf”
Press Secretary of the President of Russia Dmitry Peskov on Monday disagreed with the view that Lukashenko “skimp on” to their participation in the summit of the EAEC and the CSTO. “Indeed, our Belarusian colleagues reported that Lukashenko will not be able to participate in today’s summit,” – said Peskov.
Lukashenka’s absence will not affect the signing of the documents, he said. “De facto it does not hurt to discuss substantive issues related to integration. All the documents are signed today, earlier it was fully agreed with our Belarusian partners,” said Peskov, explaining that these documents will then be sent to Minsk to the signature of the President. “Belarus has been and remains our closest ally and partner”, – said Peskov.
While in Petersburg was the seat of the head of the EEU in Moscow at session of the parliamentary Assembly of the Union of Belarus and Russia, Chairman of the lower house Natssobraniya of Belarus Vladimir Andreichenko suddenly subjected to this organization is criticized. “The EEU is not taken important decisions, and the Union itself became a political project”, – said the speaker “news of Belarus”. Moreover, “accepted protectionist decisions that contradict the legal framework of the Union state and the Eurasian economic Union, and this is done almost regularly,” said andriychenko.
We will remind that on Friday in Minsk was visited by the Chairman of the OSCE parliamentary Assembly Kent Harstad discuss with Lukashenka the final OSCE / ODIHR report on the recent parliamentary elections. Lukashenko has urged EU countries “not to look at each other like a wolf”, not to talk, as before, “over the fence”, and to establish full contact.
It is noteworthy that on the eve of the visit of Harstad the foreign Ministry of Belarus called on the carpet to the Minister-Counsellor of the Russian Embassy Vadim Gusev. The occasion was the remark made by the Director of RISS, Leonid Reshetnikov. The foreign Ministry said that the statements Reshetnikova do not correspond to the strategic character of relations between Minsk and Moscow. As added to the portal Afn.by in the message foreign Ministry said, because of public statements protesting. But the day before the edition of “Nasha Niva” published words Reshetnikova that the Belarusian language was established in 1926 by the decree of the Central Committee of the CPSU(b) “On establishment of Belarusian language”. In addition, he called Belarus “a historical part of Russia” and part of the Russian people.
Earlier in the Internet appeared the video, which Reshetnikov said that in Belarus, “everything is moving according to the Ukrainian scenario.” “And this line, how would such a separation of the Belarusians from the Russian to the ideological, historical, and ideological terms, and even to some extent in the spiritual, it is just obvious,” – quoted the Director of “Kommersant”. Note that Reshetnikov has in the past held the post of head of information-analytical management SVR in the rank of Lieutenant-General, but today he has no official status, but simply a scientist. Earlier Minsk has not allowed himself to be called on the carpet Russian diplomats because of the statements unofficial.
State Secretary, Deputy Minister of foreign Affairs of Russia Grigory Karasin told TASS that the words Reshetnikova cause him surprise. Reshetnikov himself later explained that his words were misinterpreted by the press – it was about history, not about the present.
Moved from friendship to the banal bargaining
Senior researcher RISI Oleg Nemensky considers that between Moscow and Minsk have really developed an uneasy relationship. “A clear assessment of the Lukashenka’s absence at the forum in St. Petersburg, I have not yet given, but the mutual tension is really present,” – said the expert newspaper VIEW. In his opinion, the relationship boiled down to the banal bargaining, where the principle of “you scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours”, so there are contradictions.
Nemensky recalled that at the beginning of December in Belarus has been arrested several Pro-Russian journalists. “Moscow has decided to refrain from public reaction, however, these arrests were a serious blow to Russia’s image in the eyes of the Belarusian population and among the elites in the former Soviet Union. Never before Lukashenko himself not allowed to do this. You could say he crossed the line,” – said the expert.
In addition, in relation to the crisis in Ukraine Lukashenko in words remains neutral, but really leaning towards the position of Kiev, Nemensky says. “In Moscow, it could not fail to notice. How could not not notice the evolution of Lukashenko himself. Against this background, the European Union is showing increasing interest in Belarus,” – says Nemensky. The political scientist also recalled the reluctance Lukashenko to host the Russian air base.
As the newspaper VIEW, in early December, in Belarus, was detained three authors of the Russian Internet media for “extremism” made in articles on the resources Regnum, “Tape.ru”, Eurasia Daily – Dmitry Alimkin, Yuri Pavlovets and Shoptenko. Russian Ambassador to Minsk Alexander Surikov called “very good deal” with the case. In this article arrested he praised as “driving a wedge” between Moscow and Minsk.
And in the middle of December in Minsk at the request of Azerbaijan was detained for two months, Alexander Lapshin – blogger, the famous traveler, citizen of three countries – Russia, Ukraine and Israel. Baku accuses him that lapshyn had visited Nagorno-Karabakh and “promoted the separatist regime”. It should be noted that similar accusations of Baku over the past 25 years filed against many Russian politicians and publicists, who also came to the self-proclaimed Republic and has publicly supported its fight against the Azerbaijani government. If Minsk will now be guided by such criteria, as in the case Lapshin, in Belarus now cannot appear, for example, well-known political scientist, the Deputy of the state Duma Konstantin Zatulin, otherwise it risks falling into a sister Republic behind bars – with the prospect of extradition to Azerbaijan.
Lukashenko is afraid of the “Russian world”
Commenting on the arrests of Pro-Russian bloggers, the head of the Belarusian Scientific research Mises center Yaroslav Romanchuk said: anxious to put himself as a defender of national interests, Lukashenko makes it clear that he feared the expansion of the “Russian world” in Belarus. “He is very sharply reacts to accusations of de-Russification, suppression of the Russian language in Belarus, regarding them as a scandalous distortion of the facts. But he is trying to expand its electoral base at the expense of nationally oriented Belarusians,” believes the expert.
The current behavior of Minsk, Romanchuk explains the fact that Lukashenko has decided to take a break and how to think about the course of integration into the EAEC. “The agreement on the integration contained a lot of nuances that Lukashenko hoped to use to your advantage, and that did not happen. It is important for Belarus issues about the supply of Russian oil and gas and other trade with Russia. When Lukashenka has no ready-made solutions, he always takes a pause,” – said the expert newspaper VIEW.
According to Romanchuk, when preparing the Treaty on the EEU, Minsk expert work was very weak. “In essence, then, the economists have not studied it in detail. Now the Belarusian President even appealed to independent experts, that they study all the new agreement on the EEU and the CSTO,” – he explained.
The economist added that Belarus itself is the third year the economy is in recession, exports fell, and growing social tension. “Minsk in this situation is trying to switch people’s attention from internal problems to external, accuses the Kremlin of reneging on the commitments in the framework of the EAEU. You need to expose himself as a defender of the Belarusian people and businesses that all their problems and blame the EEU. When you can not boast of the economic achievements, Lukashenko struggling with “external enemies”, – he said.