Staunton, December 17 – Vladimir Putin often says that Lenin laid a mine under the continuing existence of the Russian state by creating the non-Russian republics, but now, the Nezygar telegram channel suggests the Kremlin leader himself may be doing the same thing by pursuing a union state with Belarus.
Like Lenin who established the republics as a compromise to save his own power, Nezygar says, Putin has been pursuing a union state with Belarus primarily to solve his 2024 problem, seeking to create a new state so that he can continue to be president without having to violate the Russian constitution (https://t.me/russica2/21821).
The telegram channel says that this short-term focus appears to hav led Putin to move in a direction that, if as seems likely the union state were to collapse as the USSR did, could lead to the loss of an enormous part of the state Moscow now controls. That direction, as suggested by Nikolay Sergeyev of the Institute for the CIS involves expanding Belarus while annexing it.
Sergeyev, the channel continues, has said that there are plans to rename Belarus the Belorussky district and to add to it Smolensk, Pskov and Kaliningrad Oblasts, something he and others apparently believe would soften the blow to Belarusians over the loss of their sovereignty and independence.
According to Nezygar, Lukashenka has long been aware of such plans. After all, a short time ago, he “publicly recalled that in Soviet times, the issue of joining Kaliningrad Oblast to Belarus was considered.” His words at the time were viewed as hyperbolic and absurd but now they appear to reflect talk in Moscow.
But if the Kremlin were to decide to add several Russian oblasts to a future Belarusian “district” within a union state, such an entity could eventually play exactly the opposite role that Moscow intends. Were the union state to collapse, Moscow would lose far more territory and its borders pushed further east than anyone now can imagine.
There is an obvious precedent for such a conclusion, the telegram channel says; and that was Khrushchev’s decision to give Crimea to Ukraine to cement Ukraine more fully into the USSR. But a few decades later, Nezygar continues, that action helped power Ukraine’s independence and the demise of the Soviet Union.
The telegram channel’s suggested scenario may be no more than an effort by some in Moscow to block discussions of creating an expanded Belarus “district,” but it may also be something more, the recognition by at least a few in Moscow that absorbing Belarus could backfire.
After all, to recall a slightly more distant example, many have suggested that had Stalin not annexed the three Baltic countries, western Belarus and western Ukraine, the Soviet Union might have lasted far longer given the impact of the national movements in the Baltics and of the western portions of Belarus and Ukraine in the national movements in those two republics.
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