Some within Russia’s ruling elite want Vladimir Putin to remain president for as long as possible, three people close to the Kremlin told Bloomberg.
„Options being explored include pressing neighbouring Belarus into uniting with Russia to create a new state so that Putin can sidestep constitutional term limits [starting 2024, Putin will have no right to seek reelection – Belsat],” the article reads.
However, there’s no agreed scenario, the people said. A transition similar to the one under way in Kazakhstan has been actively discussed in Moscow, Bloomberg reports.
In December, the chief editor of “Echo of Moscow” Alexey Venediktov on the air of his radio station told how Moscow views the possibility of the annexation of Belarus. Venediktov is known for his informal friendship with many representatives of the Kremlin, in particular, with Putin’s press secretary Dmitry Peskov.
“I understand how the current ruling circles view Belarus — just the way they viewed Crimea before. It’s not there, when it’s not. And when it falls into the hands — then we’ll take it. I cannot understand, what is new for you here,” he stressed.
According to the journalist, Belarus’ accession to Russia is one of the options of extending Putin’s being in power.
At the end of 2018, the Belarusian-Russian relations significantly deteriorated. In late December. there were some meetings of Alyaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin. The Russian leader pressed for ‘further integration’ while his Belarusian counterpart insisted on reducing gas prices and getting compensation for the tax maneuver. The talks seem to have ended in deadlock.
In mid February, Lukashenka spent three days in Sochi where he repeatedly met with Vladimir Putin. They were reported to be discussing some of the most pressing issues, but no breakthrough was made. On March 1, during the Big Conversation with the President, he said that 98% of Belarusians would vote against the country’s accession to the Russian Federation.