Lukashenko Given An Offer He Could Not Refuse…
Russia is extending a lifeline to its partner in the Union State, Belarus, as embattled President Alexander Lukashenko fights to remain in power. Lukashenko met with Russian President Vladimir Putin yesterday in Sochi, Russia.
The Kremlin is extending a $1.5 billion loan to its neighbor, but is also pushing for a peaceful transition of power as Lukashenko has outlived his usefulness. Putin does not want another ‘color revolution’ on his border.
The agreement reportedly ‘comes with no conditions’ according to the Kremlin. This is laughable.
Lukashenko was given an offer he could not refuse.
Belarus will be getting a $1.5-bln loan from Russia. Part of this money will go to refinancing old debts, the Kremlin said following a meeting between both leaders in Sochi, reported Russian state news agency TASS.
That said, Minsk owes Moscow $270 mln for gas alone. Russia has provided and will continue to support the Belarusian economy, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov noted. Financial assistance will also help to strengthen trade between the two countries during the coronavirus crisis and Minsk will also be the first to receive the Russian vaccine against COVID-19, Izvestia writes.
Russian media also reported Belarus will be the first country to receive the Russian-produced vaccine for the Chinese coronavirus.
The Sochi summit is a signal, especially to Western countries, that Moscow and Minsk won’t let the situation in Belarus and the post-Soviet space as a whole destabilize, Deputy Chairman of the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs, Eurasian integration and Relations with Compatriots Viktor Vodolatsky told the newspaper. “What is happening on the territory of Belarus today is the scenario that was used in Ukraine. With a frequency of five to six years, new roadmaps are being prepared to sway the situation in the CIS,” Vodolatsky said.
According to political scientist Vladimir Evseyev, a key subject topping the talks between the two presidents is the question of who would be a potential successor to Alexander Lukashenko. This most likely remained behind the scenes. “It is important for Moscow not to preserve the incumbent president of Belarus, the main thing is to ensure the peaceful transit of power after constitutional reform in the republic. The successor is deliberately being kept a secret so as not to set the West against him ahead of time. Russia has many questions for Lukashenko personally, and they mainly concern the oil and gas sector. I think that after the talks between the two leaders, the disputes on this topic between Moscow and Minsk should subside,” the expert told Izvestia.
In related news, Russia is removing the ‘security force’ put together on the Russian border to intervene if the situation in Belarus got ‘out of hand’.
On Tuesday morning, Russian state television showed what it said were live images of truckloads of the units returning to their areas of deployment, reported The Moscow Times.
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