Thursday, September 6, 2018

‘Moscow Tired of Lukashenka’ and Doesn’t Want Him in Office beyond 2020, Russian Expert Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, September 5 – Dmitry Drize, a political observer for Kommersant FM, says that “Moscow is tired of Lukashenka” and doesn’t want to see him or his son in office after the next presidential elections in Belarus. That vote is now scheduled for 2020, but it could be moved up.

            There are “rumors,” Drize says, that at Lukashenka’s meeting with Putin in Sochi, the issue of transition in Belarus was raised and that explains both Moscow’s imposition of Mikhail Babich as the Kremlin’s man in Minsk and Lukashenka’s erratic behavior in the days since (

                According to the Kommersant commentator, Moscow feels that it has not gotten its money’s worth from Lukashenka and is now concerned that unless Russia takes a hard line, Lukashenka will pass power “by inheritance,” first to his older son Viktor and then to his junior one Kolya,” a format “Moscow does not like at all.

            Such tensions between Minsk and Moscow explain why Lukashenka is so nervous and also why he is taking steps both to shore up his power in Belarus and to send a message to Moscow with his own ambassador – he has delayed naming anyone -- that the Belarusian leader is not to be trifled with.

            Drize provides no direct evidence for his assertion, but the circumstantial evidence he does offer not only explains what appears to be going on in Minsk but also suggests that Moscow has a timetable for ousting Lukashenka and even a plan to do it in a way that will create fewer problems for the Russian leadership. 

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