Alexander Lukashenko made his first trip abroad to Russia on Monday 14 September since his contested re-election on 9 August. Nothing says that his meeting with Vladimir Putin will have a decisive effect on his stay in power. But at least the Belarusian president was able to show that he was more than an autocrat locked in his besieged palace, hand kalashnikov. As if everything were returning to normal, Mr. Lukashenko even allowed himself, in the preliminary exchanges broadcast by Russian television, to discuss the severity of the second wave of Covid-19, he who had distinguished himself by denying the existence of the pandemic.
The image that Mr. Lukashenko will have given is above all that of his deference. Received in Sochi, the fate reserved for friends or those obliged, he was greeted on the tarmac by a simple regional governor. During their brief exchange in front of the cameras, the Belarusian head of state six times thanked his Russian counterpart, by all means, and reiterated the friendship of his people for the ” big Brother “ Russian, a well-worn formula but which can only ring sweet to Vladimir Poutine’s ears.
In Sochi, Alexander Lukashenko was able to present once again his very personal vision of the crisis: “With us, on weekends, people go out into the streets, and we release part of Minsk to them so that they can move around. ” Despite this good-natured presentation, who forgets to mention the ruthless repression of the demonstrations, their massive nature or the tortures committed in prison, the Belarusian continues to see in these “exits” the result of a plot hatched by NATO, a maneuver face to which it is advisable to “Not to repeat the mistakes of the Second World War by trying to appease the enemy” – another kindness addressed to Mr. Poutine.
For observers, this visit is worth confirmation: it is in Moscow and only in Moscow that Mr Lukashenko sees his salvation. Forgotten, therefore, the accusations of Russian interference which had preceded the August 9 ballot, forgotten the attempts to reconcile the good graces of the Europeans and the years spent avoiding putting themselves in the hands of the Kremlin. The surrender is complete, without its price being exorbitant for Moscow.
“Don’t be on the losing side”
The Belarusian president was entitled to the rigorous encouragement from Mr. Putin: “I am convinced that with your political experience you will reach new horizons in the development of the country”, said the Russian president.
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