Why Lukashenko and Belarus Are Cozying Up to the West?
Interesting body language during Ukraine peace talks in Minsk (2014). President of Belarus Lukashenko (center left) inviting Putin to proceed, while subconsciously blocking Petro Poroshenko of Ukraine and Katherine Ashton of EU.
See more about the telling body language in Lada Ray Predictions Coming True; Mind Control in Ukraine; Putin, Gorbachev, Poroshenko.
This post is part of
EARTH SHIFT REPORT 1 double feature+
From the beginning of the Ukraine crisis, Belarus has been playing a role of a moderator between Ukraine and EU on one side and Russia and Donbass/Novorossia on the other. This culminated in the Minsk accords and ceasefire in E. Ukraine, which admittedly, aren’t being observed very well. But many still believe it’s better than nothing. It is definitely some kind of a start on the way to peace desperately needed by the poor citizens who live under constant threat of bombings. The most important thing Minsk can do is provide a neutral, friendly to both sides, platform in case there is a sudden need in a meeting between warring parties in Ukraine. Play Switzerland, so to speak.
Make no mistake, for little Belarus, this is their star hour. Since 1994, when Lukashenko first became Belarusian president, he’s been labeled the ‘last dictator of Europe’ and tyrant. Belarus has been on and off under sanctions; the beginnings of the newly independent post-Soviet republic were very humble. All this happened because, unlike most, Belarus refused to forget the Soviet past and refused to give up their economy to please the West.
I wrote previously that in the early ’90s, Ukraine was touted by the West as the MOST developed of the USSR’s three Slavic republics (Russia, Ukraine, Belarus) – even more so than Russia. Starting in 1990-91, with its educated population, spectacular agricultural soils and developed tech industry (built by Russia during Soviet times) Ukraine was trumpeted as ‘most likely to succeed’ among all post-Soviet republics.
Western ‘experts,’ with some Russian neo-liberals and oligarchs jumping on the bandwagon, predicted that Russia would turn into a no-man’s land, and slowly disintegrate all by herself. Just goes to show how inept and little-minded Western and neo-liberal Russian ‘experts’ are. Needless to say, none of these ‘predictions’ came true.
For real predictions that actually do come true, read my PREDICTIONS.
At the same time as Ukraine was given prime time, Belarus was either neglected and laughed at in the West, or maligned.
As an aside: it is now crystal clear WHY the West praised Ukraine in the early ’90s, while putting Russia down. The plan was to put as big of a wedge as possible between the two closest people – Russians and Ukrainians, and to make Russians feel inadequate and incapable of resistance in the midst of the wholesale demolition of the Russian economy. Something similar, but accompanied with a civil war, is happening now in Ukraine. Note, the Kiev coup and violent overturn of Yanukovich took place after Yanukovich refused to sign the EU association agreement that would rob Ukraine blind.
The above strategy towards Russia worked for a time, while Yeltsin was in power. But the moment Putin came to power, the tide changed dramatically. I observed Putin since the moment he appeared on world stage in 2000. Unlike American ‘analysts’ and talking heads, I knew from the very first moment that a massive change was about to begin. Putin was very smart to lay low for a while, until he gathered enough allies and strength to start acting, while US elites for 2-3 years labored under a misapprehension that he would be just as easy as Yeltsin.
I wrote about Putin in my mystical thriller THE EARTH SHIFTER (character’s name is President Dobrov). I will discuss Putin in detail in the upcoming THE PUTIN ENIGMA Report, which you will find soon at LadaRay.info. Also, a great piece to read is: FREE Earth Shift Report 1: Is Putin Part of NWO?
While the West was concentrating on Russia, Ukraine and other strategic locations, Belarus remained in the shadows. Lukashenko, when he came to power, became that tough leader who managed to keep the country together and provide stability. This allowed Belarusians to slowly build on Soviet platform, developing what we now understand was a rich and profitable inheritance. While Russia was being looted by oligarchs and their Western backers, while Ukraine was also looted by oligarchs, falling at the same time deeper and deeper into its self-inflicted delusion and mass psychosis, Belarus kept its head down and worked very hard. Belarusians are very hard-working, friendly and rather low-key people.
During the Russian Empire days Belarus was one of the poorest territories of Russia. They survived on potatoes alone and were to the 19th century Russia what Ireland was to Western Europe: a tucked away on the western-most outskirts and poor like church rats territory no one was interested in. Perhaps that memory of extreme poverty and obscurity is what made Belarusians both cunning and hard-working. Without any oil, gas, or any other natural resources to speak of, Belarus managed to pull out in much better shape than once much richer neighboring Ukraine, Latvia and Lithuania (latter two – EU members).
Most post-Soviet republics squandered their formidable Soviet inheritance, resulting in decimation of industry, mass exodus of population, and other catastrophes. Ukraine is the best example of that – I write about it here: FREE Earth Shift Report 2: Ukraine, Russia and Falsified History.
Next to Belarus, another example of being able to preserve their heritage despite all odds is the unrecognized Pridnestrovie (Transnistria). More about it here: Moldova Explosion Coming 2: Coalition “Moldova’s Choice-Customs Union” and LRL2: Explosion Coming! Moldova/Transnistria – Eurasian Union vs EU.
Despite sanctions and constant fighting with the West, Lukashenko did several pretty brilliant things for his country and people:
1. Unlike most post-Soviet republics, he preserved the Soviet industrial and agricultural inheritance – and built on it.
2. Kept the country stable.
3. Managed to stay friends with Russia.
4. As a result of a special relationship with Russia, Belarus managed to receive the world’s lowest price on Russian gas and very favorable Russian loans.
5. Let’s not forget: Belarus, together with Kazakhstan and Russia is one of the three founding members of Eurasian Union.
Right to left: Putin of Russia, Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan and Lukashenko of Belarus – founding members of Eurasian Union
All the above factors, but especially the cheap, cheap gas paved the way to the so-called ‘Belarusian miracle.’ Belarus pays something to the tune of $165 for its gas, which is about the same as heavily subsidized internal Russian price. Compare that to $350-400+ EU pays. The new price for gas for Ukraine is about $385, however, they don’t pay that either. Such gas price makes Belarusian economy extremely competitive internationally. Obviously, without Russian almost free gas and Russian subsidies Belarusian miracle they are so proud of would have never happened.
The above is an illustration of how Russia robbed herself to subsidize other republics, and some other poor countries, during Soviet times. Some readers asked me how Russia could have disengaged in the ’90s from Ukraine, Moldova, Georgia and other republics, which allowed the US/West to infiltrate them resulting in color revolutions and anti-Russian pro-NATO states on Russian borders. Of course, it was a bad geopolitical decision to disengage. Yet, it can be understood: Russia always paid disproportioned price for supporting others, at her own expense. This made the core Russian population resentful.
Presently, Russia is attempting to balance own interests with the necessity to support allies.
What is Belarusian miracle?
Belarus preserved all of the industrial factories Russia built on its territory during Soviet times. And then, Belarus expanded and modernized them. Today Belarus exports its machinery to over 100 countries; its busses, tractors and heavy trucks are world-known. Belarus is also well-known in the garment industry. They make clothes for export and Belarussian cheap labor (compared to Europe) is often used by Italian designers. They produce much higher quality stuff than China. Traditional Belarusian agriculture also developed well and became quite efficient. Today, Russians go to Belarus to learn agricultural management.
Roads in Belarus – the transit country between Russia and EU – are BETTER than in the EU. The country is incredibly clean everywhere. This is how I remember growing up in the Soviet Union: everything, everywhere was very clean. This heritage Belarus also preserved.
As I mentioned before, there are no oligarchs in Belarus; there are rich people, but fewer than in neighboring countries. At the same time, average citizens feel more protected by the state. Pensioners get decent state pensions and subsidies, feeling secure. Inflation is high, but so far it’s manageable. Utilities and communal (housing/yard maintenance, water, gas, heat) payments are a fraction of what people pay in Russia (where they are not high either), and especially in the EU. All education, including college, is free. Students get paid stipendium for good grades. This is another Soviet heritage that Belarus preserved. Compare that to recent announcement by Ukraine that school pupils after 9th grade will have to pay to attend 10th and 11th grades if they want to complete secondary education.
In the summer of 2014 I visited Belarus. Everything I describe is from personal experiences. Of course there are problems – which country doesn’t have them. But overall, there are undeniable achievements.
Sly fox Lukashenko and international relations
Throughout the years, there were certain disputes and gas price disagreements between Russia and Belarus, as well as attempts by Belarus to capitalize on Ukraine and EU’s pressure on Russia. There were attempts to blackmail Russia due to gas transit. 20% of Russian gas to the EU goes through Belarus. Belarus often plays on Russia-West differences in order to get what they want (like a child of the divorced parents, who would play mom and dad). These games are relatively successful. It’s a balancing act for everyone involved, to be sure.
A reader once asked me about the president of Belarus, Alexander Lukashenko. My opinion of him hasn’t changed: he is an old sly fox. Lukashenko isn’t stupid; nor is Belarus likely to turn into Ukraine.
Read my article about US lifting sanctions against Cuba: Weakness or Cunning? Why US decided to End 50-Year Standoff with Cuba Now. I said that small and in-between countries can benefit during this era of mega-clashes among the giants, if they are smart. One could make a case for it being manipulative, just like the aforementioned spoiled kid playing divorced parents against each other.
Lukashenko is doing just that. He is using a conflict between Russia and EU/US to cozy up to the West.
Presently, A huge problem with Belarus for Russia is that taking advantage of Russia’s sanctions against the EU agriculture imports, Belarus has become a massive smuggling center. They would bring in tuna or oysters, usually imported from France or Italy, and slap their own labels to re-export that to Russia, trying to pass it as their own product. Considering Belarus doesn’t have a sea…
Other things they re-appropriate and re-export this way are fruits and veggies they never grew, fancy French cheeses they never made, and even things like jeans. While Russia is trying to crack down on Belarusian smuggling, Russia still needs Belarus. So, I don’t see this conflict going very far. Basically, it’s akin to an argument in the family – eventually the family will gather for dinner again, as if nothing happened.
Why does Lukashenko need Western love?
1. Lukashenko desperately needs loans. Belarusian miracle doesn’t come cheap. Belarus is due to pay out $4bln in interest soon.
2. Elections are coming up. Lukashenko always cozies up to the West in such periods to try to prevent a color revolution they always plan around such dates to attempt unseating him. After the elections everything returns back to normal.
3. Lukashenko, being the sly fox that he is, uses any conflict between Russia and the West to get as much preferential treatment from both as possible, while it lasts. There is also the issue of pride and self-importance. Belarus has been customarily passed over for attention. The result is a burning desire to play a bigger role on world stage. Can’t blame them.
4. Belarus is trying to position itself as a moderator and go-in-between transit country between EU and Russia. AND THEY WANT TO CHARGE THROUGH THE NOSE FOR THAT. What else is new? Hence investment in the best roads possible.
5. Opening a joint Ukraine-Belarus TV channel is done for the same purpose: ‘See, how good we are as a moderator and peacemaker.’ It’s a good will demo of sorts. It must be understood that this neutral moderator position of Belarus is equally good for both Ukraine/EU and Russia/Donbass. There must be neutral grounds to discuss matters of war and peace.
My assessment is that the cunning Lukashenko, in his own way, is contributing to pulling back together what in Russia is called ‘the three brotherly nations – Russians, Ukrainians and Belarusians.’
Based on the opening of the joint Belarus-Ukraine TV channel and other signs some read as worrying, a reader has asked me if I saw Belarus as turning into another Ukraine.
No, I absolutely do not. While Lukashenko is alive, he won’t let that happen. Belarusian citizens looking at the mess across the border, are very happy they have Lukashenko.
Of course, there are other objective reasons, as described above:
1. Belarusian economy is in an incomparably better shape than Ukrainian. In big part, maidan and Kiev coup took place because of the disastrous, pre-bankruptcy state of Ukraine’s economy and its wholesale looting by local oligarchs and foreign interests.
2. Unlike Ukraine, Belarus doesn’t have oligarchs, therefore, no one internally to finance and sustain a color revolution. Of course, external pressure remains. US and EU still do everything to unseat Lukashenko every time there are elections. Rioters get bussed in from Poland and Lithuania to incite violence. But Belarus KGB (yes, it’s still called KGB – talk about preserving Soviet heritage!) is on top of it.
Incidentally, there is censorship in Belarus.
3. Lukashenko is real leader and he won’t do what Yanukovich did in February. Incidentally, Lukashenko has many times announced how he feels about Yanukovich and his inadequate actions during the Kiev coup. He said publicly that Yanukovich was supposed to stay and fight, that he needed to be more decisive in countering the coup, and that he should have died fighting, like a captain of a ship. As we know, Yanukovich escaped from Ukraine barely alive. By making such statements, Lukashenko isn’t simply expressing his views on Ukraine conflict – in fact, he is letting Belarusians and the West know what he will do should such situation arise in his country. This is basically an announcement that if anyone attempts this scenario in Minsk, they won’t get very far.
After the above assessment of Ukraine deposed leader’s actions, after being buddy-buddy with Poroshenko and Yatsenyuk, Lukashenko still manages to stay friends with Yanukovich and his family, which is a testament to how cunning and shrewd of a diplomat he is.
Many dislike the fact that Belarus isn’t helping Donbass, or that Lukashenko hugs and shakes hands with the Kiev junta leaders. I would say it’s a useful stance even if it seems a bit unsavory. Diplomacy and maneuvering may often seem this way to an outsider. But without reaching a compromise, peace and conflict resolution is rarely possible in our highly polarized world.
In short – no, Belarus has no chance of following Ukraine, although attempts to unseat Lukashenko will continue. Lukashenko, for his part, will continue maneuvering between Russia and the West, Russia and Ukraine.
Belarus is well-positioned in the EAU. That said, of course Belarus will exploit its transit country status and its status of the only country located between Russia and the EU that is capable and willing to be a bona fide go-in-between. Same goes for Ukraine. Belarus will milk for all it’s worth the Ukraine conflict to raise its international status as the country-moderator.
What is EU up to?
The above notwithstanding, I received news that EU is trying to slowly correct the anti-Russian sanctions disaster by going broader. Will that have an effect remains to be seen. There are indications that EU is courting Belarus and Kazakhstan trying to distance them from Russia. If that kind of behavior continues, this won’t bridge any gaps. All it will do is create even more distrust.
EU now attempts to reach out (read: seduce, entice) these other Eurasian Union members. The idea is to get an in with Russia/ or influence Russia through them. It’s a very convoluted and complex game. German VC recently spoke about that proposal. French president Hollande recently paid a surprise visit to Kazakhstan for secret talks with Nazarbayev. On the way back from Kazakhstan, Hollande made a surprise stop in Moscow and met with Putin. Hollande admitted that it was in fact Kazakh President Nazarbayev who encouraged him to stop in Moscow for a chat with the Russian President. The new Belarus – EU warming up also plays into this scenario.
All in all, I can absolutely say that both Lukashenko of Belarus and Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan are solid leaders, and right where they are supposed to be. Their role is to serve as vitally important links and help the Russian leader Putin in the re-formatting of the world system. More about that in future Earth Shift Reports.
Putin and Hollande in France, May 2014
Understandably, EU is trying to find ways of a round-about compromise with Russia. If this is sincere, Russia would welcome that. In my opinion, Russia has to be very careful not to fall into a new trap, if it turns out EU’s real intention is to distance Kazakhstan and Belarus from Russia. Of course this is also happening at the same time as US and UK are escalating the conflict, which isn’t encouraging (I’ll have more about that soon).
In the final analysis, the courting of Kazakhstan and Belarus won’t go very far. EU has to be careful not to burn even more bridges than they already have. I’d be cautiously optimistic about the EU move. It’s high time constructive and reasonable forces prevailed in the EU.
I wanted to end on an optimistic note, but I simply have to add this. Unfortunately, I have come to a conclusion that for as long as Merkel is in power, there will be no meaningful movement towards cooperation and dialogue. After giving Merkel a lot of benefit of the doubt, I have become convinced that she is a secret russophobe. She has been that all her life, but being a politician, she has been hiding it very well. I wrote about my assessment of how she grew up in some of my previous articles.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel
In addition, Merkel has been compromised by NSA surveillance. There is no doubt in my mind that NSA has very damaging dirt on her, therefore pulling her strings as necessary. For these two reasons a meaningful dialogue with the EU will be very difficult for Russia, until the change of guard in Germany.
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Related new post: Putin’s Full Speech at 2015 UNGA: Do You Realize What Kind of Monster You’ve Created? This post includes my translation of Belarus President Alexandr Lukashenko’s new speech at the UN General Assembly 2015.
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Posted on December 23, 2014, in Economy & Investment, Eurasia, Geopolitical Trends, Predictions 2014 & Long-Term, Russia and tagged Alexander Lukashenko, Belarus, belarusian miracle, belorussian policy, EU, eurasia, Eurasian Union, Gazprom, geopolitics, Germany, Hollande, Kazakhstan, Merkel, Nursultan Nazarbayev, Putin, Rassian Gas Transit to EU, Russia, Russian gas, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Soviet Union, The Earth Shifter, Ukraine, US, USSR. Bookmark the permalink. 46 Comments.