• None of the actors — neither Lukashenka nor Putin — is interested in involving the Belarusian army in the war.

  • In the military sphere, Lukashenka already has to comply with everything that is said from Moscow.

  • Dependence on Russia increased not as a result of sanctions, but as a result of Lukashenka's actions.

  • There was, is and will be a pro-Russian part of society, politicians need to draw appropriate conclusions from this.

  • The presence of a neighbor - a former metropolis with an imperial consciousness - always carries a risk, but this does not mean that Belarus is destined to be a colony of Russia.

  • If we consider sovereignty as virginity, then Belarus no longer has it.

- Why wasn't the Belarusian army thrown into battle - because Lukashenka didn't want it or because Putin simply doesn't need it?

Vadym Mazheyka

- Perhaps no one wanted it.

According to various polls, we see that the Belarusian people are against their participation in hostilities.

To some extent, the military does not want this either.

The morale of the Belarusian army will be very low in such a war.

It is obvious that Lukashenka does not want this.

The consequences of this will be very bad for him.

Like any dictator, he is not interested in being without an army.

And with any result.

Military defeat will be a disaster for him.

But even in case of victory, the unity of the Belarusian army with the Russian army is not at all what Lukashenka would like.

There are big doubts about what Putin wants.

There is a narrative in the media that Putin is pushing and Lukashenko is holding back.

There is no evidence of this pressure.

But it is clear that everything that Putin wants - the use of Belarusian infrastructure for war, training of Russians mobilized on Belarusian training grounds - he gets.

There is no evidence that he wanted something and did not get it.

Then there are doubts that he wants the participation of the Belarusian army in the war.

I am not a military analyst, but I believe that there is a high probability that in case of participation in the war, the Belarusian army will be defeated and not only the Belarusian-Ukrainian border, but also the borders of Belarus with Poland and Lithuania will be exposed.

And this is the way to Moscow.

What I bring are rational arguments.

As we can see, Putin is guided not only by rational arguments.

So there is a risk.

But I will repeat that, in my opinion, none of the actors are actually interested in involving the Belarusian army in the war.

- Why did Belarus not recognize the independence of "DPR" and "LPR" this year?

When Russia annexed 4 regions of Ukraine, Kim Jong Un recognized this annexation.

Lukashenko - no.

Yes, Belarus voted in the UN against the resolution condemning the annexation.

But Lukashenka did not say: these territories are Russia.

The episode when Lukashenka visited Abkhazia after the meeting with Putin was interesting.

Many believed then that Belarus would soon recognize the independence of Abkhazia.

And it wasn't.


— Paraphrasing Mark Twain's phrase, rumors about Lukashenko's puppetry are exaggerated.

And this is not because he is good, but because he is a dictator and loves his power.

Appropriate comparison with Kim.

It was an understandable step for the DPRK.

It costs her nothing.

It is not appropriate to talk about Kim Jong-un's loss of reputation, he has nothing to lose.

At the same time, after such statements, no one considers Kim to be Putin's puppet.

There are no losses from such a step, and there may be economic benefits from cooperation with Russia for the DPRK.

And for Lukashenka, the losses from such a step would be great, it would be a strong argument for the fact that he is not an independent subject of politics.

Doubts about what is happening have intensified since the beginning of the war.

Apparently, Putin forced Lukashenka to visit Abkhazia.

The state media interestingly covered this visit, they did not even mention Abkhazia, they talked about the "Black Sea coast".

And the positions of the persons with whom Lukashenka met there were not mentioned.

Because if he meets with the president of a pseudo-country and admits it, then Lukashenka turns out to be equal to his interlocutor.

And he doesn't like it.

He prefers to go to the SCO summit and be on an equal footing with Xi Jinping.

Regarding the trip to Abkhazia, we saw pressure.

However, regarding the participation of the Belarusian army in the war, we do not see it.

I am not saying that this pressure does not exist, we just do not know about it.

And that is why it is not necessary to say that Lukashenka is resisting.

When the proposal to create a Russian air base in Belarus was discussed, the pressure from Moscow was obvious.

And Lukashenka really resisted then, and the base did not appear as a result.

Now we don't see that.

He probably understands that in the military sphere he must obey everything that Moscow says, other behavior is dangerous.

He advised Ukraine not to resist Russia, but to surrender to the will of the strong.

At the recent CSTO meeting, he very emotionally criticized Armenian leader Nikol Pashinyan for daring to oppose Azerbaijan.

Most likely, this emotionality is explained by the psychological trauma of Lukashenka from the fact that he does not behave proudly with Russia in military matters.

- "Sanctions are pushing Belarus into Russia" - this thesis is defended by such different people as politician Zyanon Pazniak and analyst, former diplomat Paval Matsukevich.

Russia already accounts for 70% of the total foreign trade turnover of Belarus.

Do you agree with the thesis of Pazniak and Matsukevich?

- It is obvious that Russia's influence on Belarus has increased in recent years and that sanctions were partly the reason for this.

But dependence on Russia has not increased because of sanctions.

It increased as a result of Lukashenka's actions - the migrant crisis he caused, the hijacking of the Ryanair plane.

Sanctions are not the root cause, they are the consequences.

And there is an objection to the arguments of my respected Matsukevich - ok, sanctions don't work, but what else can be done?

And there is no good answer to that.

Sanctions are introduced not because they are good in themselves, but because there are no other instruments.

— The accuracy of data from sociological surveys conducted in Belarus is quite conditional.

Nevertheless, they have a certain value.

According to them, there is a consensus - more than 80% of Belarusians are against the participation of the Belarusian army in the war.

However, about 40% support Russia's position in the current war.

And if the question is asked, are you for the union with Russia or for the accession of Belarus to the EU, the preference is on the side of Russia.

Moreover, the percentages of answers to questions about geopolitical elections have not changed since March.

How can this be explained?

— In 2020, the great influence of Tsikhanovskaya and Babarika was explained, among other things, by their abstinence from geopolitical choices.

Now Lukashenka's opponents simply do not have the opportunity to take a neutral or pro-Russian position on Ukraine.

I drew attention to the fact that Babarika's supporters, members of his "Together" party, do not formulate their position on Ukraine very well.

Not because they are pro-Russian, but because they are pragmatic.

Yes, this pro-Russian part of society remains.

She was and will be.

There are those who are strongly influenced by Russian propaganda.

In recent years, its influence has increased.

Mass emigration from Belarus also affects the proportions.

The majority of these emigrants are not at all pro-Russian.

And as a result, the percentage of pro-Russian people in the country is increasing.

Appropriate conclusions should be drawn from this.

In case of a change of power, it is not possible, for example, to immediately make Belarusian the only state language.

This idea will not find the support of the majority.

We know politicians who live in an ideal society.

There is Mr. Pazniak, who is in a "white coat", and there is a society that has not grown up to him.

— Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said this year that in 2020, Russia would not allow the victory of the protests in Belarus in any case.

Does this mean that Russia will not let Belarus go anywhere?

— There are risks of the Donbas and Crimean scenarios, and only naive people in 2020 did not realize this.

And in 2015, after the presidential elections, there were no protests, because people were warned that Putin would come in a tank.

Belarusians are aware of this risk.

When your neighbor is a former metropolis with an imperial consciousness, it always carries a risk.

There were many risks in 2020, there are no revolutions whose victory is guaranteed.

But everyone was guided by logic, which is worth trying.

Then there was a chance.

Ukraine's experience shows that fighting for freedom and independence is not an easy task.

Risks do not mean that the fate of Belarus is predetermined and we cannot be anything but a colony of Russia.

Russian servicemen, who are part of the regional grouping of troops, are met in Belarus

— In 2023, what can be expected in Belarusian-Russian relations?

Will Belarus retain at least something of its sovereignty?

- If we talk about sovereignty as something integral, as about virginity - which is either there or not, then Belarus no longer has it.

Military sovereignty has been lost - the foreign army acts as it wants on Belarusian territory.

Belarus still has its own army.

And Belarusian soldiers are not commanded by Russian officers.

There are other mechanisms that reduce and will continue to reduce the sovereignty of Belarus.

Let's see what the results of Putin's visit to Belarus will be.

In the future, under Lukashenka, Belarusian sovereignty will decrease.

As long as Russia is not defeated in the war, I would not expect good changes for Belarus.

But I do not think that Belarus will completely lose its sovereignty and become part of the Russian Federation.

In 2022, it's hard to find something good.

The Russian attack on Ukraine, the complicity of Belarus in this attack.

But everything could have been worse.

There could be direct participation of the Belarusian army in the war, and military actions on the territory of Belarus.

  • Yuri Drakakhrust

    Radio Svaboda journalist