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Alexander Khara: It Was Performative Conversation Between Lukashenka and Xi

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Alexander Khara: It Was Performative Conversation Between Lukashenka and Xi

Belarusian dictator is a simple executor of the Kremlin’s will

Lukashenka went to Beijing on an unannounced visit, where he met with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Why does the Belarusian dictator visit China so often? Journalists of Charter97.org asked about this with Ukrainian diplomat, political scientist, and expert of the Maidan of Foreign Affairs Foundation, Alexander Khara:

– Lukashenka has long believed that Beijing, let’s say, is a lever that allows him to reduce his dependence on Russia and keep his position somehow. Also, he is trying to obtain not only political instruments for maintaining power but also economic ones. It is clear that China is one of the largest economic centers; accordingly, Lukashenka hopes to somehow solve problematic economic issues in this way. So, everything is very logical.

I'm not saying anything about their worldview. Xi Jinping, Putin and Lukashenka are soul mates. Naturally, the Belarusian dictator often visits Beijing. He wants more help, and more trade, to strengthen his position. I think that Lukashenka truly believes that the world will change dramatically thanks to the Russian invasion of Ukraine and the assistance provided by his regime in this regard.

– It is noteworthy that Lukashenka’s press service gave only antiseptic phrases about support from Xi Jinping and the One Belt One Road project. The Xinhua agency wrote that the head of the People's Republic of China and the Belarusian dictator talked about the war in Ukraine. Why did Lukashenka’s press service keep silent about this, but the Chinese state agency emphasized it?

— As for the One Belt One Road project, there is absolutely nothing to talk about from the point of view of Belarusian current interests, because the Chinese have temporarily abandoned the northern part of this route. They are now looking at the so-called middle path, through, first of all, the South Caucasus. In this regard, Azerbaijan plays a key role because relations with Russia in Europe have deteriorated and trade flow decreased, there are also security issues, and so on. That is, Lukashenka can support this initiative as much as he wants, and talk about his attractiveness, but while there is a war going on, this is a dead end.

As for talking about Ukraine, there is no point in this. The conversation was for show, since he is (and I hope he will be declared) a war criminal. Lukashenka is involved in the illegal departure of Ukrainian children, but Belarus is also an aggressor country as well as the Russian Federation, since it provided its territory. You understand perfectly well that no one will take any peace initiatives from Lukashenka seriously either in Kyiv or anywhere in Europe.

China will not change its position either, since they are silently on the side of the Kremlin, they do not like the NATO bloc. Russia’s victory is a perfect option for China and it wants to achieve this. It would mean greater chances for China that it will solve its problems in a different way, first of all with Taiwan, but also with the Europeans. But the meaning of these conversations is just for show.

If we go back to 2014, I think that President Poroshenko made a big mistake when he allowed Minsk to be turned into a platform for discussions on the war ending. This was a terrible mistake because it gave the Lukashenka regime a certain legitimacy, it gave the Europeans the opportunity not to use the phrase “Europe’s last dictator.” No one is going to repeat such mistakes. Moreover, Lukashenka cannot influence Putin’s position anyhow. In general, no independent peace initiatives are possible till he stays Putin’s junior partner. Not even to mention that his vision of the situation in Ukraine is completely distorted. Therefore, what they talked about there is like a stop signal for a dog, that is, it has absolutely no meaning.

– Lukashenka creates problems for China on the borders with the EU, threatening transit to Europe with the migration crisis. Could Beijing talk to Lukashenka about these issues?

– I think that Lukashenka is not the person they need to talk to. These issues need to be addressed either to Putin or to Patrushev since such situations were artificially created. This is a special operation of the FSB, the KGB is simply, let’s say, the executor of the technical part.

On the border between Russia and Finland, where tension has also emerged, everything is the same. Russia is trying to create a point of tension to undermine the internal political situation in the country. Also, accordingly, helping far-right forces is not an option in Finland, but it is a quite realistic option in other European countries. There are anti-emigrant, anti-refugee forces, and they receive an additional bonus to their slogans, the opportunity to come to power or strengthen their influence. This is what Putin needs, since the far-right idiots, together with the far-left idiots, are escalating the situation. They oppose support for Ukraine, they are talking about some kind of reconciliation with Russia, and so on.

I’ve deviated from the theme a little bit, but the idea is that Xi Jinping has no point talking about this with a person who does not influence the situation. Moscow gives instructions to Lukashenka on how the operation to put pressure on neighbours should take place, but he is a dependent player and can not solve the problem of pressure and export security. Even if they did talk about it, it was more just about reading out some positions, but definitely not resolving issues.

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