19 February 2020, Wednesday, 23:07
The Wait Is Nearly Over

Kommersant: Moscow May ‘Press In’ Lukashenka

Kommersant: Moscow May ‘Press In’ Lukashenka

Whoever has oil is right.

Oil from Norway and from other world markets - Aliaksandr Lukashenka announced the diversification of energy supplies. According to the Belarusian ruler, the eastern allies are threatening with high prices for raw materials, so he is forced to take the necessary measures. In addition to the northern route, Minsk intends to use the Odesa Sea Port. Kommersant’s political commentator Dmitry Drize believes that Moscow has not abandoned the idea of a big alliance with the “fraternal republic”.

Against the backdrop of the changes in Russia, Belarus, it would seem, fell out of the information space, however, Aliaksandr Lukashenka reminded about himself: the ruler of Belarus announced that he intended to diversify oil supplies, and at the same time allowed himself some caustic remarks about Russia. In particular, Lukashenka noted, not without sarcasm, that “the brothers from the east” were threatening with the high prices for raw materials, and they do not allow him to buy Kazakh oil. One ally does not allow trading with another - nonsense. Against this background, the following decisions were made: a tanker with Norwegian oil for Belarus arrives in the Lithuanian port of Klaipeda on Wednesday, and Lukashenka also promises to use the Ukrainian route - to buy raw materials on world markets, and then through Odesa by rail to the republic. Yes, it will be more expensive, but there is nothing to be done - you have to pay for independence from the eastern partner.

In Moscow, they reacted habitually: it’s cheap advertising, let him play his game - anyway, sooner or later he will return to our arms, otherwise he will go completely bankrupt. One could agree with these arguments and not pay great importance to what is happening in the neighboring republic, if it were not for one big “but”: the so-called transit of Russian power through Belarus has not been canceled, and the idea of a large union has not gone away. This is now the most popular topic among political scientists.

The uncertainty surrounding the State Council is connected with this union: only the president of the union can be higher than the president of Russia, and reviving this union is the maximum program, in its own way, a new Crimean consensus.

So here it is not a matter of oil, but of big politics. Aliaksandr Lukashenka is not thrilled with the scenario of being in such an alliance. Although, if you think about it, he can only win: he will receive oil and gas at domestic prices and will hold his post as Vice-Chairman of the State Council for life - or even head it in turn with a Russian partner. Perhaps this is what “eastern friends” are telling him about.

Of course, it is difficult to say something: the game has not yet been played. However, one thing is clear: Lukashenka started diversifying energy supplies too late - the situation could become critical for Minsk. Moscow may well “press in” Lukashenka, then the constitutional changes will ripen. Whoever has oil is right - it's hard to argue with that.