Friday, October 28, 2022

Lukashenka’s Continuing Belarusianization Shows He May Turn Away from Moscow Once Again, Shiyenko Says

Paul Goble

            Staunton, Oct. 23 – Sergey Shiyenko, a commentator with the APN news agency which has close ties to the Kremlin, argues that despite everything Alyaksandr Lukashenka has done to show loyalty to the Kremlin including being the only former Soviet republic to back Russia’s position on Ukraine, there is a clear sign that the Minsk leader may turn on Moscow once again.

            According to Shiyenko, Russians can only be concerned about the forcible Belarusianization of the social landscape in the neighboring country, a policy that is designed to reinforce Belarusian language and identity and thus separateness from Vladimir Putin’s Russian world (

            Indeed, after surveying the current state of Minsk’s efforts and comparing the with the past, the commentator concludes that conditions are being created that will make it possible for the Belarusian leader to engage in the next “political summersault” and turn away from his promises to form a union state.

            Lukashenka has maneuvered so often that Shiyenko’s diatribe may be nothing more than an echo of entirely natural concerns that the Minsk group may prove unreliable as far as Moscow is concerned. But it may presage something else, given that Russia now has troops on Belarusian territory – an indication that the Kremlin will now press for an end to Belarusianization.

            If the latter, such a move would set up a serious conflict between the two governments given that Lukashenka has maintained himself in power not only by the use of force but by the occasional bow in the direction of the interests of the Belarusian people. Eliminating Belarusianization could threaten his power just as much as rejecting Moscow’s demands.

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