“The distinct nationalistic tendencies that emerged in Belarus in 2014, after the Crimea and Donbass, will be inevitably growing year by year,” Kirill Averyanov-Minsky, a legal and political expert, told EADaily on November 19.
He said that the Belarusian nationalism based on anti-Russian sentiments will become more distinct. “Belarus’ rapprochement with the West – it is reflected in the freezing and maybe future rescinding of the sanctions against the Belarus government - may speed up these processes,” the political analyst said.
In response to EADaily’s question as to whether Moscow will respond to the growing anti-Russian nationalism in Belarus, he said, Russia may close eyes nearly on everything that is happening in the western part of that allied state.
“However, it appears to me that the issue of the military and strategic cooperation may become a red line. That is, if Alexander Lukashenko refuses to deploy Russian airbase, the Russian leadership may try to somehow increase its influence in Belarus, activate its policy and, address the humanitarian field of Belarus, in this light. However, it is hard to say if Moscow will go there. It may happen so that the Kremlin will not respond adequately even to such a slap in the face as weakening of the military cooperation. Yet, there is hope for it,” Averyanov-Minsky said.
The political analyst believes that Alexander Lukashenko is sure of his ability to control the growing nationalism in Belarus. “He thinks he will as usually fool everyone and get away clean. Lukashenko relies on his security services and thinks he is bound to be successful. However, too much rapprochement with the West and flirtation with nationalism may play a low-down trick with him and he may face Slobodan Milosevic’s fate. The wave of nationalism amid political turbulence may easily spiral out of control,” he said.
As EADaily reported earlier, the deployment of a Russian airbase in Belarus has been on agenda since 2013, when Russia’s Defense Minister Sergey Shoygu said that Russia was going to deploy air forces in Belarus. In Sept 2015, Russian President Vladimir Putin charged Russia’s foreign and defense ministries to start negotiations for deploying a Russian air base in Belarus. However, Belarus officials say there is no sense in Russia’s military buildup in Belarus. It is anticipated that Alexander Lukashenko and Vladimir Putin will be discussing this issue when the Belarus leader visits Russia.