Today: January 18 2019
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Belarus fears the choice it faces

Belarus fears the choice it faces

Tags: Belarus, Politics, Lavrov, Europe, Russia, NATO, West, Mass Media

Sergei Lavrov gave an interview to Belarusian journalists. He had to talk about relations with NATO and the EU, the lack of "jealousy" for the Belarusian-European relations, and also that Russia does not plan to occupy Belarus. There is an occasion to worry once again about these mentality. But you can try to look at them from the other side.

On the occasion of the 25-anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Russia and Belarus, Sergei Lavrov gave an interview to Belarusian journalists.

In a sense, this communication can serve as a marker not so much a crisis as a cardinal turning point and a change in the agenda in relations between our countries, and also in internal Belarusian affairs.

Over the past quarter century in the relationship between Russia and Belarus, crises have occurred with sufficient regularity. In the vast majority of cases, they were based purely on economic reasons: energy prices, trade preferences and barriers, disputes between business entities, and so on.

At the moment, among the contradictions, the fact that Belarus is the largest transshipment base for deliveries of Western products under sanctions is not the least important. In the aggregate of circumstances over the past months there have been several mutual demarches that were noted by outside observers as another cold snap in Russian-Belarusian relations. This, in particular, was the absence of the Belarusian president at the summits of the CSTO and the EEA in St. Petersburg at the end of last year.

However, with such a diverse and contradictory problems of Russian-Belarusian relations, Belarusian journalists preferred to focus on other topics in a conversation with the Russian foreign minister.

Sergei Lavrov had to say that:

- NATO has no reason to fear Russia's attack on the alliance, as a result the alliance uses far-fetched reasons for deploying bases near the borders with Russia;

- Russia does not like the desire of certain forces to turn the "Eastern Partnership" program into an "anti-Russian venture";

- Russia is patiently waiting, when the EU realizes the absolute futility of the current line in relation to the Russian Federation;

- Russia does not have "jealousy" and "allergy" to the relationship between Belarus and the EU;

- Russia respects the decision of the Belarusian president on the inexpediency of placing Russian air base on the territory of the country, and this topic has not been raised for a long time.

Of course, the apotheosis of the interview can be considered the moment when the Russian minister had to declare that Russia has no intention of occupying Belarus, in particular under the pretext of the forthcoming military exercises "West-2017".
As a result, it was only twice necessary to talk about real achievements and problems of Russian-Belarusian relations with Sergei Lavrov.

First, he said that bilateral consultations on mutual recognition of visas had begun. And secondly, he assured the audience in his confidence that any disagreement in the relations between Moscow and Minsk would continue to be resolved in a friendly manner.

Of course, the issues raised by local journalists give serious grounds for at least to reflect on the ideological processes going on in Belarus. From Russia they do not look too optimistic. The danger of flirting with Minsk with the West has been repeatedly written, and this interview fully reflects the ongoing trends.

However, it seems that in this case no less important is another aspect of what is happening.

Such concentration of Belarusian journalists on Russia's relations with the West and military issues reflects a serious concern of the country, purely geographically sandwiched between the two forces. And this concern has absolutely understandable grounds.

Belarus can not ignore reality. It is such that the military-political confrontation between Russia and the West is fueled not by the days, but by the hour. All countries along the western border of Russia are a potential "battlefield". And in which case they will "arrive" in the very first place, regardless of which side they will choose.

Most of these countries (the Baltic States, Ukraine, Poland) have determined their position, they have taken the side of the West. Moreover, for a number of reasons, they rose with enthusiastic enthusiasm, far from always (for example, in the case of Ukraine) supported by the North Atlantic alliance.

Belarus remained the last conditionally undecided. Moreover, the Belarusian leadership does not want to be defined - and it can be understood. Minsk wants to stay away from all military and political conflicts and cut coupons from its advantageous geographical position. Russia, which, from the point of view of Minsk, is solving some of its great-power tasks, is getting deeper into the confrontation with the West. As a result, Moscow draws close and dependent countries, and this can and certainly causes considerable irritation.

Especially since in Belarus the memories of the terrible losses that the country suffered in the Great Patriotic War, while being part of the USSR, are still alive.

Perhaps, it is this that can explain the patience and gentleness that Moscow displays in these issues. Russia understands Belarus as nobody else, for purely historical reasons.

But in the end this does not change anything - Belarus will not be able to stay away from the current geopolitical confrontation, and it will have to make a choice. And again, drink it to the bottom. Whatever this choice may turn out to be.

Irina Alksnis
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