“This could be a good tradition to meet in advance of a new year”, – VV Putin. “Could be,” – OG Lukashenko.
These same words were spoken in Moscow on December 29, on the eve of the new year, at the meeting of two presidents, the main theme of which was compensation for Belarusian “partners” (this is Putin’s favorite word for the country against which further aggression is expected) for the Russian fiscal maneuver for the sale of petroleum products to Belarus. Still, Belarus received it in the amount of $ 400 million, but under what conditions? Let’s break it down later.
The essence of this maneuver is the abolition of tariff rebates on exports of petroleum products, as a result of which a hole of $ 400 million – $ 2 billion will appear in the state budget of Belarus for 2019, it will grow every year. These huge amounts were the result of the integration of the Belarusian and Russian economies, but this is not the key point.
The normal resident of Ukraine, Lithuania or Poland will surely not pay attention to this news, thinking that “oh, politicians can’t agree on something again”. But this has significant significance, because it is a security issue for the region.
The point is that Minsk’s current problems due to fiscal maneuvers, as well as previous payments on the loan for the construction of the Belarusian nuclear power plant, are only a cover for further steps towards the dismantling of Belarusian statehood, which Lukashenko continues to try for. preserve and fight for which it loses before our eyes. It all started with the 1999 treaty on the creation of an allied state between the Russian Federation and Belarus, signed by Lukashenko, who at that time pursued the goal of realizing his ambitions and running at least a small version of the USSR. However, 19 years later, we observe how the results of his ambition lead him to collapse. “Ambition should be made of tougher things,” Shakespeare said.
And now, after a few months of intrigues and threats behind the scenes, the unchanging led, a father of the nation, whose authority in the country was indisputable, has shown fragility and has actually accepted the creation of a “union state”, to which he had opposed it so much after the signing of the treaty itself, fearing the Kremlin’s ambitions to absorb Belarus. In exchange for a compensation of 400 million dollars for the fiscal maneuver, he agreed to further steps to implement the agreement, in fact, he renounced the sovereignty of the state, thus making several jokes and embarrassing smiles that also revealed a lot the tension I felt. It is worth noting that, with or without compensation, Lukashenko’s further prospects look rather optimistic. In due course, the losses due to the fiscal maneuver will only increase and, given that Belarus expects a presidential election in the fall of 2020 (perhaps a year earlier), the Belarusian president has bad prospects, and all that is on the background of falling living standards as the Belarusian economy is integrated into the Russian one within the framework of the Eurasian Union.
And if in the 2000s Mr. Lukashenko had managed to at least partially preserve sovereignty, skillfully maneuvering on compensation issues for the transition of the Belarusian market to RU Rubl and the opening of another emission center in Minsk, today he would not be able to do the same, at least because Moscow has learned all the specifics of the game.
So what kind of participation awaits the Republic of Belarus in the course of its integration into the State of the Union and how does it threaten Ukraine and its other neighbors?
After analyzing the provisions of the signed Agreement, we note that the creation of a confederative state with a single political, economic, military, customs, monetary, legal, humanitarian and cultural space is envisaged, as well as the formation of a joint Cabinet of Ministers , parliament, ministries (energy, finance, defense, infrastructure), as well as a single judicial system and the introduction of a single currency. As you can see, the list is exhaustive and Moscow will put pressure on Minsk to maximize its benefits. Furthermore, on December 28, Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev announced the creation of a working group that will implement the provisions of the treaty and include members of the government of Russia and Belarus. The Integration Commission, as it is called in Moscow, is expected to complete integration by 2024.
Of course, the backstage fight is expected and Lukashenko will once again try to take advantage of the situation. He will succeed – well, you see, but the scenario doesn’t look very promising. Thus, on December 29, the Foreign Minister of Belarus, Makej, said aloud that “in case of a threat, we must give an answer to the aggressor”. However, will it be possible from Belarus to stop Russia?
Considering the military potential of Belarus, the forecasts are rather pessimistic. The country has little chance of long-lasting opposition, first of all, due to the presentation of the Russian military contingent on its territory – the military bases of the Russian aerospace forces and the Russian airborne troops, which were reinforced by the personnel of the motorized rifles and tanks, which were left in the country after the military exercises of Zapad-2017 – in addition to taking into account the fact that most of the officers of the Armed Forces of Belarus, the KGB and units of the Ministry of Internal Affairs have studied in Russia and have candid views in favor of Russia.
In a closed-door meeting of the Cabinet of Ministers of the Republic of Belarus in early December – which was certainly attended by representatives of military departments – when Lukashenko set the conditions “to defend independence at all costs”, the question a possible military confrontation was also discussed. After evaluating all their capabilities, the fact of the presence of Russian troops both inside the country and at the borders, as well as the frank pro-Russian views of most of the personnel of the Armed Forces, it was decided to adopt a peaceful solution of the situation. Thus, in the last week of 2018, Ukraine’s attentive columnist might have noticed something of a veiled offer on the surrender of Belarusian sovereignty. In any case, it does not outline good prospects for Belarusian statehood, and therefore, even after a slight integration, the dismantling of the state of Belarus will be followed by such. He who chooses between misfortune and war will choose misfortune, in the end he will have to face both misfortune and war.
It is difficult to predict the possible course of events in the event of Lukashenko’s resistance, as strong integration – unlike gradual, soft and veiled annexation – will hit Russia rather negatively in the long run and ultimately undermine relations with Russia. West, where NATO at the same time strengthens its capabilities in Poland, Romania and other countries. Therefore, the rate is still carried out on a peaceful basis, but for Ukraine it does not have a positive tone.
The takeover of Belarus by Russia poses many dangers for Ukraine. There is no need to talk about another thousand kilometers of border with the attacker. The Belarusian bridgehead actually opens for Russia a short distance from Kiev – via the Gomel highway or through the Chernobyl exclusion zone. But the danger is not only in this. If we remember what kind of troops of the Russian Federation are now on the territory of the northern neighbor, it becomes clear that on the territory of Belarus an attack group was formed, consisting of units of the VCS and Russian airborne forces with the purpose of launching attacks missile aircraft on strategic points of Ukraine and the rapid landing of troops.
In general, Anschluss will also change the balance of power in the region and make it almost the most dangerous point in the world; the threat will not only be for Ukraine, but also for the Baltic states and Poland.
This text is primarily for those who like the political rhetoric of re-establishing friendly relations and ties with Russia. In 2014, we kicked the same man out of the presidential presidency who had sold the country piece by piece. Furthermore, the danger of Ukraine’s takeover is still on the agenda. The political situation at the release of 2018-2019 does not provide guarantees of good prospects in the medium term. It does not matter who becomes the president of Ukraine, but what is really important is that after Belarus, Russia will direct all its efforts to finally confront Ukraine.