And he will have to stay there.
Edward Lucas, the author of The New Cold War: Putin's Russia and the Threat to the West, former editor of the British magazine The Economist and researcher at the American Center for European Policy Studies, discusses the protests in Belarus in an interview with svoboda.org.
- The Kremlin wants a lot. But there is also something that he does not want. The Kremlin does not want a chaotic collapse of Lukashenka's regime. It would be a nightmare for them if he ended up like Ceausescu. And even the way the communist regime collapsed in Czechoslovakia in 1989 is unacceptable to them. After all, in their opinion, this would be a "bad example" for Russia itself. Therefore, the Kremlin has to maneuver: on the one hand, they want to get much more, and on the other, it cannot put too much pressure on Lukashenka so that his regime does not collapse.
... And if he goes to Moscow, he may suddenly get very sick with the flu or COVID-19 - and he will have to stay there, and at this time a palace coup may take place in Minsk.
- Three years ago, you spoke about the dilemma facing the West: how to maintain the independence and sovereignty of Belarus but not support the regime. Has anything changed in the current situation?
- This dilemma still exists. I have to say that the West is not watching very closely what is happening in Belarus, with the exception of Lithuania, which deserves respect for supporting the freedom, democracy, and sovereignty of Belarus. But much more is happening in the world, and Brussels, Washington, Berlin, and London have to be distracted by other things constantly.
Now the risk that Belarus will be completely absorbed into the union state is minimal, although it used to be a serious problem. It seems that this is not being seriously considered now, and this fundamental threat to the sovereignty of Belarus is not on the agenda.