- Putin and Lukashenko talks include the topic of the integration.
- The Belarusian opposition leader Svetlana Tichanovskaya admitted the defeat and the loss of the streets.
- Lukashenko expects to get financial aid from Russia.
The president of Russia Vladimir Putin and the president of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko will hold the talks in Sochi this week. The talks are on the eve of the February 23rd, which traditionally is the holiday that honors men in Russia. Lukashenko arrived in Sochi well an advance and this is the first time, Lukashenko left Belarus after the beginning of the protests.
This past weekend, the leader of the Belarusian opposition Svetlana Tichanovksaya admitted the defeat. Hence, the opposition lost the streets for the time being. At present, it is not feasible for the Belarusian opposition to continue the organized marches and protests.
Perhaps, the opposition will re-emerge later, but the Western focus has been shifted on Russia and the Alexey Navalny scenario. Navalny appeal was heard and his original sentence was only reduced by the one month.
Lukashenko arrived ahead of the scheduled talks with Putin in order to facilitate a rigorous schedule pertaining the Russian-Belarusian trade deals. The meetings with the Russian officials who are interested in Russian-Belarusian relations and the Russian ministers within the functional departments pertaining the integration process of Russia and Belarus.
Furthermore, these talks will have an interesting trajectory, due to Russia recent position of the willingness to cut off all ties with the European Union. The Belarusian president is not recognized by the European Union.
The discussions between Putin and Lukashenko are scheduled for the whole day. The memos have been exchanged between the two nations highlighting the main points of the negotiations, but the memos were not made public. Vladimir Putin actually supported Lukashenko in terms of the results of the election recognition, but on the condition of the further steps will be taken to improve the internal political space of Belarus. The Belarusian People Assembly just wrapped up with the passing of the Agenda 2025.
There are two diametrically opposed statements made right before the meeting. Putin, at a meeting with representatives of the Duma factions stated of the need to position Russia as a multinational state in which each national group would have the opportunity to realize the interests of such group. On the opposite spectrum, Lukashenko said about the “positive nationalism” that he offered to Belarus, whilst the previous message about the multi-vector policy of Belarus has been buried.
Moreover, Lukashenko is trying very hard to avoid the issue of the integration between Russia and Belarus. The problem with the integration of Russia and Belarus is the unwillingness of Lukashenko to give up some of the existing power. However, Putin will not stay off course and Lukashenko does not have others options for support, as the West is closed for Lukashenko.
The military cooperation and the distribution of the Sputnik V vaccine is part of the discussions. The Russian radar station will continue to operate on the Belarusian territory. It Is plausible, Lukashenko can get more than a billion US dollars in the financial aid from Russia, if he cooperates.
Lukashenko will try his best, to prolong the re-election topic. Putin understands that the constitution amendments of the Belarusian Constitution are important to de-escalate the tensions with the Belarusian opposition. Lukashenko does not want to limit himself of how long he can stay in power. It is plausible, Lukashenko will not want to leave the presidency until the day he dies. Nevertheless, he will have no choice and eventually depart the office, it is the question, when Putin will want his departure.