Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.
It looks like Russia is out of control, but it would appear that Putin’s motivation is for political purposes and it is called imperialism.
Imperialism. In the context of blameshifting, Russia often accuses the US of imperialism.
Belarus appears to be (one of) Putin’s next target(s) which has been a Western fear for years.
Not satisfied with producing mayhem in Ukraine, Russia is pressuring Belarus to trade its sovereignty for cheap oil and gas supplies. Pres Lukashenko correctly called this a scam to annex Belarus quietly. Notably, he also chastised Russian media for attacking Ukraine.
Lukashenko is rapidly becoming a real annoyance to Muscovy with his insistence on not becoming another Oblast in Mother Russia.
Very nice OpEd by Rogan in the WashEx arguing for US energy supplies to Belarus to cut Muscovy off at the knees. Needless to say this should be part of the US energy agenda in Europe, piggybacking on the Polish gas supply grid. Geopolitics aside, there are compelling humanitarian reasons for doing this.
Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says his country will never be part of the Russian Federation. Speaking to Russian journalists in Minsk on December 14, Lukashenka said that “sovereignty is sacred” for Belarus. “If someone wants to break [Belarus] into regions and force us to become a subject of Russia, that will never happen,” Lukashenka said. Lukashenka accused Moscow of attempting “to incorporate” Belarus into Russia using oil and gas leverage. “I understand the hints [by Moscow] saying, ‘OK, take our oil but for that destroy your statehood and become part of Russia’… It is useless to blackmail Belarus, to bend it, [to choke us],” Lukashenka said. Lukashenka also criticized Russian media for presenting Ukraine’s pro-Western leadership as enemies. “I know Ukrainians. They are not enemies. They are not as bad as you present them on your [television] channels. It is time to stop doing that. Nobody [believes] that anymore,” Lukashenka said. Belarus and Russia are joined in a Union State that exists mainly on paper, and their militaries have close ties — though Lukashenka has resisted Russian efforts to beef up its military presence in Belarus, which lies between Russia and NATO countries. Belarus is a member of the Eurasian Economic Union (EES) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), regional groupings that observers say Russian President Vladimir Putin uses in an effort bolster Moscow’s influence in the former Soviet Union and counter the EU and NATO. Wariness about Moscow’s intentions toward its neighbors has risen since Russia seized Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula and began supporting Russia-backed separatists in eastern Ukraine, where the ensuing war has killed more than 10,300 people.
Paul Goble Staunton, December 14 – Speaking in Minsk today, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka says that “under the pretext of ‘deep integration,’” Moscow wants to make Belarus part of Russia, an action he said he would never agree to and one that he suspects the Russian authorities have not fully thought through given its obvious negative consequences. Many Russian officials suggest that all problems in relations with Belarus will be solved with further “deep integration,” but what they mean, Lukashenka continues is contained in the remarks of others who says “we are ready for you as six oblasts to become part of the Russian Federation” (interfax.ru/world/642329). Worse yet, the Belarusian leader says, Moscow is currently talking about things like the creation of a currency union with a common central bank, but this means, he suggests, “building the union from the roof rather than from the foundation” as is required if it is to be stable and long-lasting. As Belsat reported, Lukashenka “declared that integration with Russia must occur in a step by step fashion and under conditions of the complete fulfillment of all previous agreements.” If these are not fulfilled,” he said, “there is no union,” his clearest rejection yet of Russian pretensions (belsat.eu/ru/news/lukashenko-ob-integratsii-s-rossiej-shantazhirovat-nas-bespolezno/). It is “senseless,” he continued, for the Russian side to try to get its way by threats and backroom deals. “I cannot go in for behind the scenes machinations. Everything must be honest and open.” And that requires admitting that many of the things Russia says about its economic assistance simply aren’t true.
The leader of Belarus on Friday accused some politicians in Russia of floating the prospect of incorporating his nation, and vowed that he wouldn’t let it happen.
On Friday, the president of Belarus announced that the Russian government had offered his country a financial lifeline, in return for integrating more with Russia, a move that he said was a Russian plan to take over his country.
Russia offered to resolve economic disputes with Belarus if it agreed to deeper political integration, stoking suspicions of a Kremlin takeover, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko said.
Russia is ready to further deepen integration with Belarus. Russian Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev believes that the Kremlin is ready to create a common emission center, a common court and other bodies.
At a meeting of the Eurasian Economic Union in St. Petersburg, Russia, last week, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko publicly lambasted Russian President Vladimir Putin for his gas export prices. As with much of Europe, Belarus is dependent on Russian energy supplies. There’s an opportunity here for the U.S.