Seemingly, there commenced a final round of negotiations, which will further define the destiny of the Belarusian-Russian relations. If one casts away long and boring speeches by our president about the brotherhood of our nations and forgets an all-piercing KGB glance, with which Vladimir Putin looked at his colleague, the only thing left for the two will be giving 100% guarantees to one another. The period of political promises and deceits by Lukashenko was put to a halt by Putin in spring this year when he quoted a famous saying about “flies and chops”. It took our political leadership all of the summer to search for the uneaten chops and now they are taking them to Kremlin.
Russian president can relax and feel at ease now: he doesn’t need anything – he simply ensures his country’s strategic interests, which come down to gas and electricity transit via a shortcut way – through Belarus. The Belarusian president is faced with more difficult a task – to sell, without selling, transit (which means the country, for there’s nothing else left precious in it), convince us of the sovereignty of the Belarusian state and get personal guarantees for himself. He hopes that after all these turbulences he will be given a place in the paper “union” state, which, according to Lukashenko, means big politics. Our president needs our compassion: his game is extremely tough and he had been practicing all the time on Russian investors.
By the time of the current visit, things have calmed down. “Baltika” apparently gets the control stock of the “Krynitsa” brewery. MTS, though put in unequal conditions with another cellular operator, was allowed to integrate into the telecommunications network. “Belneftehim” again started selling itself… Everything is alright now. Kremlin could have silently watched how the private Russian investors were tormenting here. But when they once again delayed the formation of the joint venture on the basis of “Beltransgas”, Moscow refused to wait anymore, for her strategic interests were now at stake and in great danger.
And presently the main issue under consideration is the gas pipe. And no matter what the two leaders say at the press-conference, no matter what their press-releases read about the brotherly friendship and unification – they would only discuss the gas pipe, investment legislation and preferences for the Russian business in all different spheres of the Belarusian economy. And the result is quite predestined: our president will yield to the Russia’s proposals. Otherwise he wouldn’t travel there. They would simply not invite him.
Hard to say what’s going to follow next. Lukashenko has numerously proved the futility of his promises. What will Kremlin believe now? They hardly have time to deal with Belarus: elections in State Duma are round the corner, followed by the presidential ones, which won’t be best time for having Lukashenko around. May be this is the essence of Lukashenko’s political gambling – to win time? That’s a real Belarusian mentality: let’s survive the winter and we’ll see what we do next. All his aspirations pursue one objective – preservation of personal power.
Which means that the soap opera about “flies and chops” will continue. “Flies” are in their heads and there’s no escape from them.