agrément and ).
And having won this latest “diplomatic” standoff, both Vladimir Putin and Russian commentators could not refrain from rubbing it in and underscoring what is the unfortunate fact that Babich is going to be far more than just another ambassador even of Belarus’ most important trading and political partner.
Putin for his part told Babich that “you ill be involved not only in diplomatic work, but in work in the sphere of economics representing the interests of Russia as its special representative. I expect, given your experience of government work in the most varied and senior positions, that this responsible task will be in your reliable hands” ( ).
Further, the Kremlin leader said, he intends to have “regular meetings” with Babich to discuss how this “work” is going.” Sergey Markov, a Moscow commentator with close ties to the Kremlin and the security organs, indicated that diplomacy will not be Babich’s primary responsibility ( ).
“I am certain,” Markov says, “that such a strong and experienced official as Mikhail Babich will be able to untying all ‘the knots’ between Russia and Belarus which do exist.” But even more, the Moscow commentator says, “Babich will work jointly with the Belarusian authorities to counter Western efforts to organize a Maidan in Minsk.”
“Before our eyes,” he continues, “Western foundations are trying to repeat in Belarus what they have already done in Ukraine by fostering anti-Russian nationalism. By his character, Babich is a special forces man [spetsnazovet]” and thus can be counted on to proceed regardless of the obstacles he may face.
(For background on the issue of Babich’s appointment and Minsk’s reluctance to accept it, see windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/07/might-belarus-follow-ukraine-and-reject.html, windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/08/lukashenka-has-rejected-two-moscow.html and windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2018/08/moscow-raises-ante-on-appointment-of.html.)