Belarus to Russia: We won’t be your “errand boys”

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2016/04/22 • News

The President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko is urging Russia to respect the sovereignty of his county.

In his annual address to parliament and the people of Belarus, on April 21, President Lukashenko asked Moscow not to consider Belarus Russia’s “errand boy.”

“I want Russians — and especially Russia’s leaders — to understand that we will not be errand boys. We are an independent, sovereign state that lives with you in the same building but has its own apartment. It may be small, but it is ours,” Lukashnko said.

While Lukashenko agreed that Russia is the main strategic partner of Belarus, he emphasized that the West is very important for Minsk as well.

In an April 2015 interview with Bloomberg News, Lukashenko stated that his country would never be a part of Russia and would fight against any invader “to the last man.”

According to Lukashenko, there are many politicians in Russia who “think imperialistically and do not see Belarus as anything other than some kind of northwestern province.”

He stressed that similar notions have but one response: “We will not be some northwestern province, just as we will never enter into a conflict with Russia,” he concluded.

Moscow’s annexation of Ukrainian Crimea in March 2014 and Russia’s involvement in the east of Ukraine have raised concerns about the intentions of Russian President Vladimir Putin in the region.

Translated by: Anna Mostovych
Source: Radio Svoboda
Source: Bloomberg News

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  • Randolph Carter

    “We are an independent, sovereign state that lives with you in the same
    building but has its own apartment. It may be small, but it is ours,”
    Lukashnko said. Does anyone know whether Russia has moved towards Belarus in the same
    way it did with Crimea? I hope little green men aren’t showing
    up in Minsk; it would be sadly ironic in light of where the Minsk
    protocols came from.

    I think Lukashnko is smart in being concerned about Putin’s objectives
    there, especially given the phony pretense that Crimea was “illegally”
    given away and really should belong to Russia. Putin may argue “The parliament of the (Belarusian) republic declared the sovereignty of Belarus on 27 July 1990, and during the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991.”

    Will Putin may argue that “It (Belarus) was part of a region annexed by the
    Russian Empire in 1793, as a consequence of the Second Partition of
    Poland. From 1919 to 1991, after the Russian Revolution, Minsk was the
    capital of the Byelorussian Soviet Socialist Republic within the Soviet
    Union.” and therefore should be annexed under the same pretense as Crimea?

    • Alex George

      True. I think a lot of neighbouring countries are very concerned by the Crimean annexation. It has done a great deal of long-term damage to Russia’s relationships with Belarus, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan and others – they just don’t trust Russia in the same way they used to.

      • Dagwood Bumstead

        The dwarf’s open threats of invasion “to protect the Russian minorities” won’t do much to regain that trust.

  • Alex George

    Strong words. He clearly feels confident in Russia’s inability to pull a 1968 Czech invasion on him. He has already shown this by his actions, in repeatedly refusing to permit a Russian airbase on Belarusian territory.

    • Dagwood Bumstead

      In reality Lukashenko has a very weak hand. His armed forces and KGB are riddled with pro-Dwarfstan moles to an even greater extent than the Ukrainian forces. I doubt whether a Dwarfstanian invasion would encounter any real resistance like in the Ukraine. What’s more, the Belarusian economy, unlike the Ukrainian, is totally dependent on Dwarfstan for energy and raw materials and as market for Belarusian products. The dwarf is also creating all sorts of pro-Dwarfstan movements in Belarus who will act as a 5th column. Lukashenko hasn’t helped by his almost slavish devotion to Moscow in the past, though his public use of Belarusian rather than Russian in the past few years shows that he now realises the danger only too clearly and is carefully trying to create a distance between Minsk and Moscow.

      • Alex George

        Suit yourself.
        I think the Kremlin knows it is not a weak hand, and wants to avoid invasion except as an absolute last resort. All the factors you mention were present to a greater or lesser extent in Ukraine as well, but volunteers flocked to defend Ukraine and in the end the Russian forces couldn’t sustain the casualties, politically, even though they took less losses than the Ukrainians.
        The same thing could also happen in Belarus, and I expect the Kremlin is aware of that possibility. It could end up igniting Belarusian nationalism and uniting all parties behind Lukashenko. That’s no more weird than what happened in Ukraine.

  • Lev Havryliv

    Take heed of Ukraine’s experience people of Belarus.

    The Russians can never, ever be trusted. They lie, they deceive, they steal territory, they kill you while saying they are protecting you.

    Putin has recreated the scourge of Russian imperialism. Who in their right mind would want to live in “the same building” as him?