Belarus playing out as predicted

As I discussed back in mid-August, the legitimacy and continuation of Lukashenko’s strong-man hold on Belarus could include a closer relationship with, and consequent help from, Russia — but only if Lukashenko made his request much more clear and public. Last week, Russia’s Prime Minister visited Belarus, and said that Moscow was willing to send “police” to aid in combating the on-going protests (now the 5th week in a row with around 100,000 people turning out). This week, Lukashenko is going to visit Putin. Putting Belarus into tighter Russian orbit, never mind actual unification, would pose a serious military risk for the EU. Lithuania is already worried that a deeper relationship between Russia and Belarus could result in Russian troops on the EU’s border, and Lukashenko is certainly setting things up for that, as he asserted that Poland is desirous of taking Belarussian territory. Meanwhile, Europe still doesn’t know what to do about it.

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