Monday, October 02, 2006

Lukashenka: Why There Isn't a Belorusian-Russian Federation

Lukashenka commented, as often in the past, on the tragedy of the dissolution of the Soviet Union and he informed the journalists that "We are one people" and that it is unfair that we “live in different apartments." Thus a reunion between Belarus and Russia would be a natural event, representing the bright future of the two peoples. However, he made it plain that that union is unlikely to occur in the near future, largely because of problems created by Russia. He noted that the Belarusian side had proposed a draft of the Constitutional Act. However, at the time the draft version was supposed to have been submitted to the Supreme State Council of the two presidents for approval, and then to a referendum for acceptance, the Russian government added some amendments. According to Lukashenka, the revised Constitutional Act would be weaker than the current treaty on forming the Union state. Belarus "is categorically opposed to this."

Lukashenka maintains that Putin would like an arrangement similar in terms to that of the European Union, but such a structure is unacceptable to the Belarusian side. Another option is for Belarus to become part of Russia, but the president noted correctly that the population of his country is strongly opposed to absorption. "Even Stalin didn't go as far as that," he stated. Now he (Lukashenka) is being blamed for the failure of the proposals, but he has no choice because he does not wish to be the first and last Belarusian president. The current draft would also bring back the conditions of the early 1990s -- a favorite reference of Lukashenka -- and as soon as Belarus becomes part of Russia it would be reduced to worse shape than Chechnya. The Union can only work if the partnership is an equal one, he stressed.

Concerning the leadership of a Union state, Lukashenka hinted that both incumbent presidents might bar themselves from office if such a state is set up. "The issue is not Putin or Lukashenka," he commented. He added frankly that he could not deny the two leaders had ambitions and that they would be afraid of losing the independence of their countries. The issue of how that statement would apply to Russia was not elaborated. Lukashenka added that there could be no immediate resolution of such questions because Russia would soon enter a very busy period, lasting for approximately three years, in which that country would endure both presidential and parliamentary elections. He commented that Putin should run for a third term if he wishes, but he appreciated that the Russian president wished to adhere to the Constitution. It is not a commitment ever made by the president of Belarus.

There are three outcomes to this.

The first is that Russia absorbs Belarus. This is what Lukashenka does not want. This is actually, with the Transdniestria, South Ossetia, et al plebecite consequences looming, seems the most likely. Russia merely absorbs Belarus and is done with it. After deposing Lukashenka.

The second outcome is the EU like structure that apparently Lukashenka thinks that Putin prefers. This might be in the frame work of the SCO since they've been talking about making it an economic free trade zone as well as a semi-alliance. People that have read my blog know what I think of the outcome of this line of development, the explotation being the so-called Shanghai Confederation. Belarus would be a 'member state' in such.

The last possibility is the least likely. Unfortunately. That is that Belarus, as a consequence of an even more appaling economy overthrows Lukashenka in a 'color revolution' and moves itself into EU orbit with a track, maybe, of eventually joining the EU.

I suspect the first is the most likely and fear the second, truthfully and pray, despite the floundering of the Orange Revolution in Ukraine, for the last.

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