Minsk and Moscow: friends or foes?

Currently, Moscow and Minsk are facing a crisis in bilateral relations, which is especially painful for fraternal nations.

If the countries were not so close, the fight wouldn't be so fierce. Lukashenko's aggressive rhetoric and Medvedev's emotional response can be explained by historical closeness of the two nations.

Medvedev called Lukashenko's behavior dishonest in his Sunday statement. Contrasted to improvised speeches by the Belarus leader, Medvedev's words were very well-thought out. Thus, he really meant what he said.

He meant that it's dishonest to accuse Russia of an unfriendly attitude, while receiving annual oil and gas supplies subsidies estimated at 2 bn dollars. It is dishonest to beg benefits in exchange of acknowledging the independence of Abkhazia and South Ossetia. It's dishonest to build an election campaign on anti-Russian rhetoric turning your main friend into foe.

When such words have been said, further relations will never be the same again. Official Kremlin experts confirm this adding, never, while Lukashenko has the helm. Still, it's impossible to pull the countries out of bilateral projects and institutions. Breakup is not just harmful (or even fatal for Belarus' economy) but technically impossible. Thus, ways out of the situation are to be sought.

On Thursday, Lukashenko congratulated Russian prime minister Vladimir Putin on his birthday, which could be considered as an act of politeness if Lukashenko hadn't written that Putin's experience and authority may promote further partnership and mutual respect which some perceived as a white flag and some as a shift from Medvedev to Putin.

On the same day, the Belarus parliament adopted a statement expressing concern with the recent trends in bilateral relations. " We value our partnership and consider our nations fraternal. Close trade, economic, cultural and military cooperation promotes better life of our people and economic stability in both countries", the document says. Then the deputies urged their Russian counterparts for uniting efforts to maintain efficient relations, saying "we don't have a right to lose everything that has been jointly gained for ages".

The key statements of the document repeat those adopted earlier by Russian deputies. Lukashenko also stated that he doesn't want an information war with Moscow. Still, it is unclear whether he is going to quit anti-Russian rhetoric or not.


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