January 8 – January 14, 2018
Security issues

Russo-Belarusian border: no changes for the better

The situation has not changed
Russo-Belarusian border: no changes for the better

The top Belarusian leadership is discontent with the reduced transparency of the Belarusian-Russian border. Over the past two years, Russia’s actions in the border security field have made the prospects for bilateral relations uncertain. Minsk is especially concerned about the fact that Russia explained her unilateral actions with security concerns, hinting at a possible threat to Russia from Belarus.

On January 11th, 2018, Alexander Lukashenka instructed to resolve all border issues with Russia by the year-end. According to him, this should lead to the restoration of the previous transparency at the Belarusian-Russian border. Lukashenka made the Government and relevant ministries liable for closing the border issue: Belarusian officials should discuss all the existing disagreements with Russia and decide on ways to resolve them. Hence, the Belarussian leader has excluded his involvement in the border issue with Russia.

That said, in the past year, Lukashenka engaged in the situation around the Belarusian-Russian border numerous times. For instance, he expressed dissatisfaction with Russia unilaterally deploying border controls. On July 7th, 2017, he discussed the Russo-Belarusian border issue during the Belarusian Security Council meeting.

As a rule, Lukashenka avoids becoming involved in issues, which have no positive solution. The border control issue between Belarus and Russia is exactly such an unsolvable problem. Moscow’s actions are only an episode in the large-scale detachment from the Post-Soviet states, including Belarus. The unobstructed border crossing between Russia and Belarus is unlikely to restore, at least until Russia’s relations with Europe and, most importantly, Ukraine improve. Some transparency could be restored at the Russo-Belarusian border, however, only after significant concessions by Belarus, and, above all, her accession to the Russian policy towards Ukraine.

Lukashenka’s self-elimination from resolving the Russo-Belarusian border issue is an indirect sign of the unacceptability of Russia’s expectations about him. This means that the Belarusian-Russian border would increasingly become less transparent, including the introduction of various control mechanisms on it.

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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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