The "fortress" of the Belarusian regime is besieged, but the "gate" to the West is ajar
The Belarusian regime continues to promote the topic of alleged military threats. However, such threats are used as instruments to achieve specific goals.
On July 30, Lukashenka held a meeting with regional officials. The public part of the meeting was primarily devoted to stories about a long-term and multi-stage international conspiracy aimed at the dismantling of the Belarusian statehood, making terrorist threats and backed by NATO’s aggressive actions. Simultaneously, no further details were provided regarding who were the participants in the conspiracy and alleged terrorist activities. Lukashenka also reiterated his stance that there was no need for Russian military bases in Belarus since Russian troops could be swiftly deployed to Belarus.
Apparently, Lukashenka is concerned about regional security and sustainability and seeks to strengthen it. By avoiding to name concrete participants in a foreign conspiracy and subversive activity, the regime allegedly seeks to preserve the room for political manoeuver, that is, to divide the ‘collective West’ into ‘good’ and ‘bad’ if needed. Stories about conspiracies of a fantastic scale are designed, on the one hand, to intimidate and consolidate the loyalist minority of the Belarusian society around the regime, and on the other hand, to justify repression, the scale and intensity of which may vary depending on the regime’s political needs. In addition, with such rhetoric, the regime aims to prompt the Kremlin to offer more tangible support for the Belarusian regime in the face of common external threats. Simultaneously, Lukashenka has once again marked his interest in security trade with the West by alleging the scale and format of the Russian military presence in Belarus.
Despite bold statements about Western threats, the Belarusian regime cherishes hope for the possibility of some kind of agreement with the West, primarily with the United States, on acceptable conditions. This hope stems from a lack of confidence in the internal stability of the regime itself.