In the Moscow residence “Volynskoye” the president of Belarus will be welcomed by Vladimir Putin. The protocol characteristics of the visit – working – is accurately reflecting its essence. Solving the recently emerged problems in the union relations for our guest is a hard labor and quite unpleasant. In fact, Lukashenko is driven into a corner. His attempt with the West desperately failed. The European leaders made it clear to Alexander Lukashenko that the union of “flies and cutlets”, as Putin once put it, doesn’t inspire them at all. Moreover, Lukashenko was denied a right to travel to the NATO’s summit in Prague, while 14 out of the 15 EU member-states decided to bar his travels to their territory, while the USA aligned itself with this agreement.
Now there’s nothing left for the Belarusian incumbent but to turn his face to Moscow and not without repentance, for he has done many weird things in the past. He called Russia “impoverished”, compared Putin to Lenin and Stalin, provoked gas hysteria, constantly hinted that Minsk will find itself other partners, blackmailed Kremlin with the mythical Belarus’ intentions to join NATO. The real motive for the recent demarche was Russia’s refusal to present to Belarus an additional portion of gas at privileged rates after the planned quota had been exhausted. Having convened the government, Lukashenko declared that the country must be ready to pay for gas at world’s rates. “We will lose from all that only $150-200mln. For a whole country it is nothing!” But Russia must be punished for that. Lukashenko instructed his Cabinet to “return the list of privileges, which Belarus presented to Russia during the construction of the gas pipe Yamal-Western Europe, as well as to require from Moscow a return of $500mln, which the country lost due to the unregulated issue on levying the indirect taxes. Did Lukashenko believe that such a dispute would bear any fruit for him? Of course, not. This became clear when the Belarusian Premier Gennady Novitsky visited Moscow and brought his apologies to the Russian leadership for an overemotional tone of his president. The apologies were accepted. However, Belarus was all the same decisively denied privileged gas sales. It immediately signed a deal with “Itera” company on gas supplies at the real rather than “brotherly” cost - $40 per a thousand cubic meters. Lukashenko’s condition is desperate. Exposed to the isolation from the West he may look for support in Russia alone. If he fails to find it here, it will be all over for him. His regime, not backed by the Belarusian economy and the international community, will simply collapse.