Recently, the head of the Kremlin only spoils the mood of the Belarusian dictator.
Udf.by describes the most recent episodes of Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s and Vladimir Putin’s relationship.
Spoiled mood for the New Year
By the end of last year, it became obvious that a number of problems had accumulated in the relations between Minsk and Moscow, which needed to be resolved. The Belarusian authorities believed that the two presidents would be able to solve them gracefully on the eve of the New Year.
On December 25, Lukashenka arrived in the Kremlin with a delegation and, at a meeting with Putin, spoke frankly about his hope of dealing with all the problems with a swoop: “I wish we could solve these issues, so that not to drag the old problems into the upcoming new year.”
However, after the negotiations behind closed doors, the journalists were told: Lukashenka and Putin agreed to hold another meeting before the New Year to make decisions that do not tolerate delay.
And really: four days later Lukashenka was again with Putin in the Kremlin. Apparently, for Lukashenka, this meeting was a complete disappointment and spoiled his New Year mood. The presidents did not solve the problems, but only managed to agree on the creation of a bilateral group in the governments.
Lukashenka adopted a new hope: “I think that after the Christmas holidays we will be ready to work, the same as the Russians.”
In order to divert attention from the complete failure of the mission of the head of Belarus, the state television channels amused the viewers with shots about the gift to Putin in the form of several sacks of potatoes.
A month later, Lukashenka confessed of something that everyone had suspected before: at the talks with Putin, he raised the issue of compensation in connection with the tax maneuver in the oil sector of Russia.
Four nights in Sochi
In late January, Lukashenka and Putin got in touch with each other, and the press-center of the Belarusian ruler sparkled with optimism: the presidents agreed to hold a meeting soon where the parties would discuss the implementation of the agreements reached at the previous Kremlin talks.
On February 12, Lukashenka’s plane landed in Sochi, and he began his long-term contact with Putin in person. In addition to official events, the presidents had the opportunity to speak frankly without unnecessary outsiders. On February 13 they skied, on the 14th they had a tea-party, on the 15th they played hockey for one team.
On the last day of the voyage, the journalists barely recognized Lukashenka. Judging by his words, in a few days he did not even dare to raise the problem of tax maneuver before Putin:
“The problem really exists. But I’m telling you absolutely sincerely and honestly: I think we have not even spoken a word about it during these three days. ”
Moreover, Lukashenka told about the reached agreement with the Russian president to think about the development of relations within the framework of the “union state”.
Following several days in Sochi, Putin forced Lukashenka to demonstrate his complete powerlessness.
Putin feels guilty
While the bilateral group continued to work almost secretly, a new problem arose in the relations of Minsk and Moscow. In April, “dirty” oil arrived at the Belarusian oil refineries through the pipeline from Russia. This issue also gave Lukashenka a reason to talk with Putin on the margins of the II international cooperation forum “Belt and Path”.
A few weeks later, Lukashenka praised the Russian president:
“We talked in Beijing with Putin about the perpetrators needing to bear responsibility. He was great; he reacted very harshly to this, as harshly as never before. He demanded answers from the government, from the ministers, gave relevant instructions to the law-enforcement agencies, and even engaged the FSB (which rarely happens) into this to figure things out.”
Apparently, Lukashenka was counting on some solid compensation from Moscow, at least on this issue. But once again he was disappointed. In Russia, the losses of the Belarusian side were assessed as significantly lower.
As a result, late in June it became known that the amount of compensation for the losses caused by the poor-quality Russian oil for Belarus can only be determined by the end of 2019 - a joint working group will take on this task.
A beautiful date to restart relations
Lukashenka made another attempt to press Putin in on general global topics late in May in Nur-Sultan. It was reported that Putin and Lukashenka instructed the governments to find contact points on all issues until June 21.
If this had happened, it would have been a beautiful gesture - on this day the II European Games would open in Minsk. However, having arrived to Lukashenka for a meeting, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev washed his hands off all matters: the governments left behind the most difficult issues of the integration agenda for the presidents. In other words, Moscow did not make concessions during the negotiations of the working groups.
As if trying to disguise the failure of the Belarusian side, Lukashenka said that he did not expect a solution to the problems:
“When the Forum of Regions is held in your homeland in the middle of July, then we (with Putin) will go to Valaam to pray. And there we will discuss things further. That was the plan, approximately. This is only an outline.”
So Putin brought Lukashenka under the monastery - both literally (Valaam is known, above all, for the Savior Transfiguration Monastery), and in a figurative sense. A year before the presidential election in Belarus, Lukashenka was left without substantial financial support from Moscow, which persistently makes no concessions.