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“The West has one proposal for all post-Soviet elites: let’s kill that bear together”

Bogdan Bezpalko

Belorussian Foreign Minister Vladimir Mikei’s statement against higher military activity on both sides of the Belarus-EU border was a curtsey towards the West, Russian political scientist Bogdan Bezpalko told EADaily on Nov 12.

According to EADaily, during a meeting with his Lithuanian counterpart Linas Linkevicius, Belorussian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said that “any efforts to step up military activities on both sides of the Belarus-EU border, including the deployment of more troops and hardware, will result in stronger military tensions.” Earlier Mikei said almost the same when talking about possible deployment of a Russian air base in Belarus.

“This is a curtsey towards the western structures seeking to pull Belarus into their orbit,” Bezpalko said.

“This is contrary to Russia’s plans to deploy its air forces in Belarus. Today that military activity is growing worldwide and that military threats are coming close to Europe, Russia’s bigger military presence on the border with EU will make safer both Belarus and Russia,” Bezpalko said.

When asked if Alexander Lukashenko’s current position on the Russian air base in his country comes from his wish to keep the West’s anti-Belorussian sanctions frozen, Bezpalko said that the Belorussian president is currently haggling for this. “At the next stage Belarus will be asked to sever its economic ties with Russia. For the moment, it need them and will try to keep its foot in both worlds. But the new Belorussian elite will already be pro-western,” Bezpalko said.

“The West has one proposal for all post-Soviet elites – ‘let’s kill that bear together.’ Even for Belarus they have some attractive offers – for example, to get back Smolensk and some other Russian regions, which in Belorussian historical mythology are believed to be Belorussian lands,” Bezpalko said.

In the spring of 2013, Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said that Russia was going to deploy air forces in Belarus. But Belorussian President Alexander Lukashenko said later that Russia would just give planes to be flown by Belorussian pilots. As a result, in late 2013 four Russian Su-27s began patrolling in Belarus. Lukashenko said they would soon go back to Russia. In Sept 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin instructed Russia’s foreign and defense ministries to start negotiations for deploying a Russian air base in Belarus. But Belorussian Defense Minister Alexander Ravkov said that there was no sense in so doing, while Belorussian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei said that this will arouse even higher resistance against Minsk and Moscow. Two days later the EU froze its sanctions against Belarus.

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