The border between Asia and Europe is emerging on the border between the Russian Federation and Belarus.
The Kremlin will never forgive Aliaksandr Lukashenka for his behavior in the recent months, and thus the likelihood of a forceful solution to the “Belarusian issue” is very high.
Well-known Russian political scientist and public figure Andrei Piontkovsky, who fled to the USA, expressed such an opinion on the Feigin live YouTube channel. The discussion was also attended by leader of the European Belarus civil campaign Andrei Sannikov, and Russian economic expert Mikhail Krutikhin, writes naviny.by.
According to Piontkovsky, Moscow’s pressure on Lukashenka has been going on for 25 years that he has been in power. “In many ways, he himself provoked it, it generated it,” Piontkovsky emphasized, noting that Lukashenka “brilliantly used the imperial complexes of the Russian elite.”
The political scientist said that in 1996 “landing force from Moscow” (the prime minister, speakers of the State Duma and the Federation Council of the Russian Federation) helped Lukashenka to “carry out a constitutional coup, just hoping that he would bring Belarus under the altar of a single state, enter it with six or seven subjects”.
“For the first 15 years, Moscow retained some hope that Mr. Lukashenka would become part of our state with all his seven subjects. For this he received very large economic preferences. But he never seriously thought about changing his position of a dictator of such big European state, for the post of Minsk secretary of the regional committee. With one small exception: there was a period in 1999 when complete chaos reigned in Moscow (before impeachment, Yeltsin lacked a few votes, PMs changed every two months). And he hoped that he could become the leader of this union state, and then he was ready to give away Belarus independence for the Monomakh’s cap. Then he entered the largest agreement, which Moscow now refers to,” said Piontkovsky.
After Vladimir Putin came to power in Russia, Lukashenka “understood that there's no chance for him there,” but “all this bargaining continued.”
Such tough rhetoric as recently has never sounded from Lukashenka's lips before. He never spoke out so categorically that he was rudely forced to join Russia, and that he would never do that, the political scientist noted.
“We must assume that in Moscow they will never forgive everything that he has said and done in the recent months, not to mention all this quarter-century period,” the expert said.
Piontkovsky affirmatively (“highly likely”) answered the question of whether Putin will try to annex Belarus by “hard military means”, including “seizing institutions” and killing Lukashenka and his son Mikalai.
“This is the man who is responsible for the deaths of dozens of thousands people in Syria, who every day now continues to bomb the cities, who carried out the massacres in Ukraine, in Chechnya. Of course he can do this. And moreover, all operational plans are ready, they have been developed long ago ... It is completely clear that the option of a forceful solution to the Ukrainian issue was seriously considered, and so as not to get up twice, it will be applied to Belarus,” the political scientist believes.
At the same time, in his opinion, the “operation to take over Belarus”, although “technically feasible in the short term,” may cause “the very serious widespread rejection of this idea.”
The expert is convinced that Belarus will not become for the USA “the Berlin of 1948 that they saved from the economic blockade of the Kremlin”.
“The main lines of the confrontation with Russia and China are indicated by the same US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in American doctrinal documents very clearly: we will not allow China to capture Taiwan, and we will not allow Russia to capture one of the Baltic states or part of it. The question of the Baltic states and Taiwan is clear. But Belarus, Ukraine, as always, fall into some uncertain zone. But judging by the decisiveness of the statements that Pompeo made in Minsk and Kyiv, I think that the United States is not indifferent to Belarus and Ukraine, if only for the reason that they have undertaken to protect the Baltic States from a completely clear threat, and the deprivation of the sovereignty of Ukraine and Belarus by the Kremlin is a step towards its further expansion against the West as a whole,” Piontkovsky believes.
The political scientist gives a pessimistic forecast: “In the near future it will be bad. Putin is a very cruel and vengeful man. It seems to me that his relationship with Lukashenka has already crossed some line, after which he will not forgive him for what, from his point of view, Lukashenka had completely unjustly committed. Therefore, I consider the possibility of a forceful solution to the Belarusian issue to be very high ... Lukashenka is preparing to play the national card at the election, of course, to act as a defender of national interests, and will continue to tell how he protects Belarus from attempts to takeover. And this is also not very comfortable for Moscow.”
At the same time, according to Piontkovsky, Belarus will have a much easier way to Europe than Ukraine, “not to mention Russia.”
“From the plane, the border between Asia and Europe emerges on the border between Russia and Belarus, and it is very visible. Wild field on one side, and well-groomed fields, a completely different, European picture - on the other. Lukashenkas and Putins come and go, but European Belarus remains,” the political scientist noted.