Russia can’t leave Belarus without support unless it wants to completely lose it, even if only in the status of a symbolic ally.
Belarus-Russia Union's Supreme State Council session in Minsk of February 25 was tedious, uninteresting, and lacked loud statements.
Belarus head Aliaksandr Lukashenka, Russia President Vladimir Putin, PM Andrei Kabiakou and Dmitry Medvedev, and ministers took part in the session.
13 documents were signed by results of the session. Among them is the Union State Budget for 2016, the decree “On planning on the development and application of the regional army group created within the Union State of Belarus and Russia”.
Before the Supreme State Council session Putin and Lukashenka met tête-à-tête.
Belarus Minister of Defense Andrei Raukou by results of negotiations announced that the Supreme State Council didn’t discuss the question of the Russian airbase and loan for the official Minsk. And the secretary of the Union State of Russia and Belarus Grigory Rapota informed that the issue of allocating financial aid to Belarus wasn’t discussed either. However, he didn’t exclude the possibility that the parties could have discussed it behind the scenes.
Andrei Yahorau, the head of the Center for European Transformation, commented upon the results of the Belarus-Russia Union's Supreme State Council session in the interview with the “EuroBelarus” Information Service.
- It was announced by results of the negotiations that the Supreme State Council didn’t discuss the question of the Russian airbase and loan for the official Minsk. Is it true?
- Naturally, the question of the Russian airbase was discussed, and the Russian loan is one of the major discussing points between the heads of states. It’s hard to say what the negotiations ended with. If their results haven’t been made public, it means that the final decision hasn’t been made yet and the bargaining continues. Otherwise the results of the negotiations would have been announced publicly.
- The issue of locating a Russian airbase in Belarus and the Russian loan to the official Minsk are interrelated. Is Russia ready to allocate a loan to its ally?
- Russia will inevitably allocate a loan to Belarus, its only geopolitical ally in the West. Even if Belarus doesn’t do anything for establishing the Russian airbase, Russia will still give it. The question is about the conditions of the loan. Russia cannot leave Belarus without support unless it wants to completely lose it, even if only in the status of a symbolic ally.
- How seriously is Russia forcing through the formation of an airbase in Belarus now?
- I think that the airbase isn’t the key issue for Russia. Of course, Moscow is putting pressure on the official Minsk, but this pressure can hardly be called excessive.
- Could the heads of state resolve the issue with the airbase within the frames of the signed decree “On planning on the development and application of the regional army group created within the Union State of Belarus and Russia”?
- No. All the agreements on the airbase should be asserted by the Belarus president and agreed on by the Parliament, which, in our case, still depends on the decision of the head of state. The procedure cannot be avoided.
- 13 documents were signed by results of the session. What conclusions can be made by results of the Supreme State Council session?
- The results of the session are hard to comment on. I, personally, can’t predict which direction the development of the bilateral relations will go after the Supreme State Council session.