Saturday, February 9, 2019

Putin’s Point Man in Belarus Now Working on Four Fronts, Politburo2 Telegram Channel Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, February 8 – Most discussions about Russia and Belarus at the present time focus on global questions ranging from “will Putin move to annex Belarus?” to “will Lukashenka turn to the West and be accepted if he does?”  But the Politburo2 telegram channel offers a useful corrective focusing specifically on the agenda of Putin’s point man in Belarus.

            That man is Mikhail Babich, who is both Russian ambassador to Minsk and special representative of the Russian president.  Since arriving in Belarus, the telegram channel says, Babich has focused on the nuts and bolts of economic cooperation and worked to overcome the inertia in relations between the two parts of the union state (

                It sometimes seemed before his arrival, Politburo2 says, that no one was paying particular attention to the Union Treaty and its provisions. But thanks to Babich’s work, that is no longer the case. Unfortunately, the telegram channel says, the increased activity of the West in Belarus means that the Russian representative has had to expand his agenda.

            Specifically, Politburo2 says, Babich and his mission are working on “four fronts:”

1.      “Opposing the expansion of the West and its ‘soft power.’”

2.      “Interacting with Belarusian elites and Alyaksandr Lukashenka personally” by “explaining Russian positions and dispelling numerous myths.”

3.      “Reforming the media and information agenda of Russia relative to the Republic of Belarus because in too many cases, Russian media materials have had a negative impact on Belarusian public opinion.”

4.      “Overcoming the inertia of the Russian bureaucracy and opposition from the side by participants of shadowy schemes.”

Babich’s “main resource,” the telegram channel says, is ‘the high degree of trust’ he enjoys from Putin and his opportunities to speak directly” with both presidents. But given the legacy of the past, Politburo2 continues, there is a great deal of work to be done and no reason to assume that everything will be solved right away.

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