Dangerous games of European officials with Lukashenka may cost our country high price.
The Belarusian "president" tries to gain profit both from Russia and the West at the same time. It's such an attempt to play a child of divorced parents, leader of the Belarusian National Congress Mikalai Statkevich writes on his Facebook account.
Of course, it's normal for a small country to balance between centres of power. For the first time I described the concept of "non-conflict balance" in the mid-90s.
But this strategy requires independence in economy, policy-making and information space. It needs consolidation of the society around the basic idea of independence. And finally, it needs authoritative power responsible to the people, and improved mechanisms for public compromises.
Bounded, unsustainable and geopolitically divided Belarus cannot safely balance between Russia and the West which are in the state of bitter quarrel.
Due to the regime, our economy is the loss-making subsidiary of the Russian one. That's why it may face the severest crisis if the Kremlin wants.
Russia takes the upper hand in the information field of Belarus and molds sentiments of Belarusians.
Illegal and not elected power inevitably incites protests, which are severely suppressed on its own, and makes the establishment of long-term relations with the West impossible.
"President" can't afford himself to make steps towards the strengthening of statehood, which every other ally to the Kremlin can afford. For example, President of Kazakhstan or any other new ruler of Belarus.
Prehistory counts. It's reflected in the anti-national policy the state apparatus including law enforcement and the ideological one is based on.
At least $150 billion have been taken from Russia by the Belarusian autocrat under the guise of the "Union State" over past 20 years. And his independence line will be treated by Moscow as the personal "dirty trick". It cannot be forgiven.
Of course, Belarus is slowly sliding to Russia, and something should be done to it.
But only the diplomatic balance without sustainable economy on the background of split in the society, grievances against the power and increased influence of Russia on state and public sectors will only result in open conflict with the Kremlin and may speed up the incorporation of Belarus.
The West should take advantage of problems of the regime and strictly stipulate the rectification of relations with it by abiding political, civil and economic rights of Belarusians. This demand is of both moral and reasonable nature; only free and sustainable economy can "balance" without any risk to develop further.
All these "balance games" of the increasingly dependent state with massively unpopular government, with severe domestic "suppressed" conflicts and lack of working parliament can only contribute to the collapse of such a state.
Expedience of European officials who play dangerous games with the regime may cost our country high price.