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October 26 – November 1, 2020
Belarus-Russia relations

The Kremlin ushers Lukashenka towards constitutional reforms

The situation got worse
The Kremlin ushers Lukashenka towards constitutional reforms

By Anatol Pankouski

Last week, Russia showed some discontent with Lukashenka for delaying the resolution of the political turmoil. For his part, Lukashenka reiterated the multi-faceted policy rhetoric.

Speaking on October 29th at the VTB Capital Forum, Russian President Putin said that Lukashenka’s proposal to carry out constitutional reforms was a significant step towards his opponents. According to Putin, Lukashenka had already taken steps to implement such reforms. Given that no significant steps have been taken yet, Putin made overture to the Belarusian strongman.

Amidst careful diplomatic statements by the Russian leadership, Russian media is expressing increasing discontent with Lukashenka. Even commentators on Russian central TV channels have pondered the possibility of Lukashenka’s resignation and the need for Russia to expand contacts with the Belarusian opposition or, more broadly, with society.

In response, Lukashenka has reanimated the rhetoric of a multi-polar policy. For example, at a briefing at the Interior Ministry, he said: “It is impossible for either a crane or a sparrow — whatever you may call it — to fly on one wing,” and asked Russia to understand Belarus’ unwillingness to shift its foreign policy direction. Lukashenka noted that the Russian eagle was two-headed (looking Eastwards and Westwards) referring to the Russian coat of arms, “so we need to foster a four-headed one.”

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