December 20 – December 26, 2021
Security issues

Minsk awaits the West’s response to the Kremlin’s ultimatum

The situation has not changed
Minsk awaits the West’s response to the Kremlin’s ultimatum

It seems that the Belarusian regime is concerned about the results of the ultimatum presented by Moscow to NATO and the United States. Ironically, in this case, Minsk is instinctively on the side of Washington.

The ultimatum proposals put forward by Russia on December 17th to the United States and NATO came as an obvious surprise to the Belarusian regime. The draft agreements with the West proposed by Moscow actually means the allocation for Russia of a zone of unlimited influence (post-Soviet countries minus the Baltics) and a zone of power projection (ex-socialist countries of Europe, including the Western Balkans).

And this deprives Minsk of the opportunity to use its favourite foreign policy tools – the so-called “security trade” and “geopolitical swings”. Since when these agreements are adopted by the West, Belarus will become an internationally recognized vassal of Russia. This opens up opportunities for the latter to influence not only Belarusian foreign and security policy, but also participate in domestic political processes. Which is clearly not included in the plans of the Belarusian regime.

Official Minsk refrains from indicating its position on the “proposals” put forward by the Kremlin to the West. At the same time, bellicose statements against the West and Ukraine by Minsk officials have ceased. It was stated that the further position on the Crimea of the Belarusian regime depends on the actions of Kyiv (obviously, first of all, we are talking about maintaining the access of Belarusian producers to the Ukrainian market).

The Belarusian regime clearly expects the West to reject the Kremlin’s demands. Official Minsk fears not so much a new escalation in the region, the format of Belarus’ participation in which it will be able to regulate, as the prospects of being left alone with its eastern “ally”.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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