On Tuesday, Russian media ignored Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s arrival in Moscow. Their attention was grabbed by the participation of Vladimir Putin in the Action Forum” of the Russia-wide Popular Front.
Putin was apparently in no hurry to meet with his Belarusian counterpart. Lukashenka’s long wait for the kremlin’s lord is no coincidence, says political commentator Alyaksandr Klaskouski.
According to the expert, Moscow still considers Belarus as a younger sister. By such a maneuver, Vladimir Putin wanted to show Alyaksandr Lukashenka who was really the boss.
Announcing his visit to Moscow, Lukashenka said at a press conference for Russian journalists that the issues to be discussed were hardly comfortable. The head of Belarus slammed the lack of progress in relations with Moscow.
Lukashenka is deeply concerned about food wars and the country’s gaping budget deficit that resulted from the crisis in Russia. Another issue, prices for Russian oil and gas, seems to always be on the agenda. The gas conflict between the neighbors has been in progress for nearly a year.
“In Moscow, Lukashenka hopes for gas and loans. He fails to cope with a crisis,” a young man told Belsat.
“The visit does not mean anything. It is nothing but wasting time,” another resident of Minsk says.
“Every time Lukashenka goes to Moscow, he thinks ‘half a loaf is better than no bread’. Now, when Russians do not give a direct discount on gas, he is seeking at least a inter-budgetary compensation which Moscow allegedly promised earlier. He says: “We need to sign a package of documents. What package? It is a secret,” Klaskouski stresses.
In his opinion, the issue of the Russian airbase in Belarus might come up again. That is why Lukashenka is still in searn of political dividends – not only in Moscow, the political analyst concludes.