• All of Lukashenka's rhetoric boiled down to the fact that independence is threatened by the "damned West", especially the "Anglo-Saxons", and not by Russia.

  • In public, the Kremlin may agree to a declaration of "two keys" to nuclear weapons.

  • Lukashenko is not going to step down from power as long as he has the physical ability to do so.

  • Russia's aid to Lukashenka's regime over the past year was unprecedented.

    The Kremlin has never been so generous.

— The main topic of this message of Lukashenka was the protection of independence and sovereignty - in the specific aspect, as Lukashenka understands it.

Why exactly this question sounded like the main one?

— Lukashenka prepared very seriously for this message and, as a sensitive politician, understood that it was necessary to talk about the preservation of sovereignty.

After all, not only his opponents say that he has become a puppet of the Kremlin, but also Belarusian citizens ask themselves the question: what is happening, why are they going to deploy nuclear weapons in the country?

Therefore, the head of the regime decided to point out that sovereignty is preserved, and he knows what to do.

But in fact, all his rhetoric boiled down to the fact that independence is threatened by the "damned West", especially the "Anglo-Saxons", and not by Russia.

Although the reality is completely different, and we see that the only real threat to Belarusian independence today is Russia's imperial expansion.

Lukashenka's statements that Ukraine is allegedly under the control of the USA, that Europe is enslaved by America, cause only a smile.

Lukashenko had to remain silent around the Russian agent.

In the best times for him, when he felt more independent, he could throw a stone at the city of Russia, criticize the Kremlin for imperial overtures.

But today nothing was said about Russia.

- The attempt to prove one's "independence" was especially visible in the issue of nuclear weapons.

"This is our weapon, which will promote sovereignty and independence," Lukashenka said about Russian nuclear weapons that can be deployed on the territory of Belarus.

Then he repeated: "We will control all the weapons that are on our territory."

But this contradicts the statement of Putin, who emphasized that Russia intends "not to transfer nuclear weapons to Belarus, but to deploy its weapons on its territory."

By the way, Lukashenka's words contradict the statement of the Belarusian Foreign Ministry.

- Indeed, Lukashenka is very embarrassed to feel in the role of a vassal.

Because after Putin's statement, it looked like Lukashenka was not even asked.

Now the leader of the regime wants to show that he will be the co-owner of this nuclear arsenal.

But if so, it would be a violation of the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons.

Putin, indeed, emphasized that the weapons will be under Russian control.

So again "someone is lying".

I think that the Kremlin can publicly agree to a declaration of "two keys" for the sake of a blitzer.

But naturally, in a specific situation, Moscow itself will make decisions.

The Kremlin did not think of this plan to give a gift to the Belarusian dictator.

This is part of the Kremlin's global game of blackmail against Ukraine and the West.

And it should be taken into account that there are already Russian troops and Russian aircraft in Belarus.

In the extreme case, they can simply deliver ammunition from the warehouse to their plane at time X, without asking the Belarusian leader.

And in general, with such a degree of dependence, Russia can simply remove Lukashenka from power at any moment and install a puppet figure who will simply nod his head at any steps taken by the Kremlin.

— During the message, Lukashenka spoke rather vaguely about whether he intends to remain in power after 2025.

Did his words bring any clarity, or did he again leave room for any options?

- Indeed, he leaves the possibility for any options.

And here we can see this drama - the "fall of the patriarch".

He understands that he is not eternal, the phrase "my age is coming to an end" was heard, but on the other hand, the words "I will not be a lame duck" are immediately heard.

I think that, in fact, Lukashenka is not going to step down from power as long as he is physically able.

He will probably set himself a new term in 2025 - if there are no force majeure or he is not struck by some serious illness.

"And suddenly the successor will not cope?"

- he said it publicly several times, so he will hold the reins until the last.

Lukashenka wants to cement the system — and for this to change the Constitution, so that after him there will be a "collective Lukashenka" so that the system will not change.

Will it work?

A number of analysts believe that this is not very possible, that it will destabilize the system.

But Lukashenka does not look that far.

- This time, Lukashenka did not say anything critical about the economy, mostly praising some imaginary achievements.

And this is against the background of the record economic decline last year, which continues in the first months of this year.

- As for the economy, it seems that Lukashenka has calmed down a bit.

Probably, at first he thought that the sanctions would destroy the Belarusian economy, but now he proudly says that we have withstood the blow.

In general, he was in a good mood, he seemed excited by the prospect of getting nuclear weapons.

Probably, he rejects the idea that this could all end in a nuclear apocalypse, and pleases himself with hopes that now no one will be able to organize the overthrow of his regime.

As for sanctions, this is true: we see that Europe has almost reached the ceiling in this matter.

Lukashenko sees that the European Union is unlikely to raise the bar of these sanctions even higher.

Secondly, he hopes to drive a wedge between the European Union and the United States on this issue.

Thirdly, he got used to Russia well.

We see that Russia's aid for the past year was unprecedented.

And cheap oil and gas, and loans, and benefits, and money for import substitution.

The Kremlin has never been so generous.

The economy has not collapsed, and there is a margin of safety.

He never had any ideas about any economic reforms, and now even more so - he just wants to preserve what he has.

He felt himself in his plate. He began to complain about bad roads and crooked doors on trifles.

This is the level of the director of the state farm, and here he feels like a fish in water.

This is not macroeconomics, where he is unable to offer something.

  • Vitaly Tsygankov

    Vitaly Tsygankov graduated from the Faculty of Journalism of BSU.

    One of the two founders of the first non-governmental news agency BelaPAN.

    He worked in "Zvyazda" newspapers, was a correspondent in Belarus of the Russian "Nezavisimaya Gazeta", Associated Press, columnist in "Svaboda" newspaper.

    On Belarusian Freedom since 1994.

    Correspondent of Russian Freedom in Belarus.