Monday, May 9, 2011

In Other News...

In what undoubtedly is a massive understatement, at Victory Day celebrations President Lukashenko of Belarus announced that “the West” was the prime enemy of Belarus.  Well, he’s probably right.  But perhaps he should look over his shoulder back to the east where his government is in negotiations with Moscow for an economic bailout. Yet again. It is probably too much for the last dictator in Europe to swallow that the Russian Federation is only a reluctant friend of his government and probably wishes he would just go away.

Luki has been in a snit ever since the EU basically slammed the doors closed around him, his family and supporters with very effective economic sanctions.  On April 25, he refused to travel to Ukraine for the 10th anniversary of the Chernobyl disaster, which heavily impacted large chunks of Belarusian territory in and around the Pripyat and Gomel regions.  Why refuse? Well, as part of the EU boycott, the current EU commission chief Jose Manuel Barroso had asked President Yanukovich not to invite him to a conference in Kiev on the consequences of the disaster. Ukraine complied with the EU demand, hoping he would still show up to the Chernobyl anniversary, but Luki had taken umbrage.  It seems he is angry with Ukraine as well.
Considering he has vowed never to give up power, has jailed or exiled all opposition leaders and appears to be grooming his son for succession (remind you of Egypt?), perhaps he is losing sight of the fact that Moscow is not an ardent supporter, but treats him more as a useful clown; and, that Ukraine still has a saying that the reason Belarus was invented was to make Ukraine look good; and, that the EU simply wants him gone. When you’re a leader of a country with a bankrupt economy, surrounded by people who either don’t like you, actively seek your removal or, in the case of Russia, find you barely tolerable, perhaps an attitude improvement would be in order. 
Will it happen?  No. The former collective farm manager has dug in his heels and gone into hedghog mode.  Everyone is stuck with him until the youth in the country explodes or Medvedev’s tolerance for fools thins sufficiently to arrange a long vacation – or both.

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