Wednesday, October 6, 2010

The Kremlin vs Minsk

VITEBSK, BELARUS. President Putin with Belarus...Image via Wikipedia
There is a fierce war of words erupting between the former state farm directory President Lukashenko of Belarus and President Medvedev and PM Putin of Russia.  Medvedev has harshly criticised Lukashenko of Russia-bashing in his re-election campaign.  In a video blog entry posted on the Kremlin web site on Sunday, Medvedev accused Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko of trying to cast Russia as his nation's main enemy while running for re-election. 

The economic union among Belarus, Russian and Khazakhstan has been delayed for more than six months.  There are numerous reasons for this, including the global economic crises. But also figuring into the equation is Russian's aggressive expansion at the expense of Georgia, bullying of Ukraine with threats that the same type of independence movement could strike in the Crimea, and the suspicion that it engineered  the coup in the Kyrgyz Republic.  All this has made countries like Belarus - regardless of its less than democratic government - move closer to the EU in terms of cooperation. It has not helped Lukashenko's position in the Kremlin that Belarus has refused to recognize S. Ossetia and Abkhazia as independent of Georgia, thereby joining the ranks of Venezuela, Nicaragua and some tiny atoll in the Pacific.

Lukashenko has oppositon, but it is usually not effective.  The question is if Moscow will throw its weight, overtly, behind any other contender for the thrown of Minsk.  The last time they did that, their man in Kyiv went down to defeat and they have failed miserably in Georgia trying to unseat their least favourite president.
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