NewsBelarus deepens ties with Russia amid Ukraine conflict, faces isolation

Belarus deepens ties with Russia amid Ukraine conflict, faces isolation

Dictators of Russia and Belarus - Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko
Dictators of Russia and Belarus - Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko
Images source: © East News | Laski Diffusion
11:33 AM EDT, March 27, 2024

Belarus is increasingly under the influence of Russia, a development that has been escalating for some time, particularly in the months leading up to the conflict in Ukraine. Joint military exercises between the two nations have paved the way for the assault on Kyiv. Despite the Belarusian leader's skillful navigation of Putin's demands, his reliance on the Russian president is growing.

The dynamics between the two leaders and their countries' roles in the global structure envisioned by the Kremlin were discussed in the "Dangerous Liaisons" podcast on TOK FM. Host Thomas Orchowski delved into Belarus's dependency on Russia with guest Michał Kacewicz. "Putin does not favor Lukashenko. He never has," stated the Biełsat TV journalist, an author on both Vladimir Putin and Alexander Lukashenko.

Kacewicz highlighted that "complete subordination" of Belarus to Russia was cemented during two pivotal events: the manipulated elections and the consequential turmoil in 2020, and the Russian attack on Ukraine.

A crucial factor behind this dependency is the imposition of sanctions. "Exports from Belarus to the European Union have shrunk to a bare minimum. As a landlocked nation devoid of seaports, Belarus is also isolated from transit and communication channels to the West. Approximately 70 percent of Belarus's trade is with Russia, with the remainder primarily with China and other Asian countries," the guest explained.

In the last two years, Lukashenko has avoided deploying the Belarusian military in the conflict in Ukraine, which Kacewicz attributes to potential fears about the reaction of his own people and doubts regarding the Belarusian army's loyalty.

Lukashenko and Putin: A challenging and unsympathetic relationship

Given the circumstances, Lukashenko has no option but to remain utterly loyal to Putin. A journalist from the station, launched in 2007 by TVP and broadcasting in Belarusian, Russian, and Ukrainian, suggests that without Lukashenko, Belarus would be challenging to govern.

More Belarusians are resisting the oppressive regime. On Monday, March 25, expatriates commemorated Freedom Day, marking the independence declared in 1918, outside their home country.

Celebrating this day within Belarus can lead to imprisonment, mirroring communist Poland's prohibition against celebrating the May 3rd Constitution anniversary.

This week, the Belarusian diaspora in Poland organized marches in several cities to protest political repression in Belarus.

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