B0ycey wrote:How can anyone really be hostile to your neighbours when you are a landlocked nation?
Nonetheless what makes you think Belarus isn't already part of the Russian federation? Call a rose by any other name if you like, all roads lead to Moscow. And Belarus hasn't evolved away from their Soviet past. Which only leads me to conclude that Lukashenko outbursts are merely a facade to show strength to a population that wants to believe independence is worth something during an election campaign he had to resort to rigging to save face. Because in reality Belarus isn't just dependent on Russia for just power - which is ironically something they have the means to produce themselves. They are more dependent on them for their trade partnership.
I guess what I am saying is if there was any form of tension behind closed doors, Putin would behave the same way he did to Ukraine. And being landlocked, the results would be more devastating. The fact he largely ignores Lukashenko means there is an understanding. What you see and hear isn't what said behind the cameras. An Eastern European leadership trait of visual bluff and buster for material and public favor and is tactic very similar to Orban and Duda use against the EU in that regard. And to expect any form of "screw tightening", whether welcome, justified or whatever simply will not happen especially when Putin has already congratulated Lukashenko on his victory. I have read there is some form of movement towards sanctions from the West due to political persecution. But whilst civil unrest is being maintained by rubber bullets, even that will be merely bluster and symbolic rather than designed to entice regime change because to be frank, Belarus ties are too close to Russia to do anything of significance.
Lukashenko is here to stay.
The screw-tightening has already started some time ago and is already hurting Belarus's economy:
Reduced support from Russia hits Belarus’s unreformed economy
There is no reason to believe that Putin will abandon his ambition of swallowing Belarus and there is no reason to believe that Lukashenko will cede power to Putin without a fight.
Aside from Russia, Belarus has borders with 4 other countries. In fact, it's border with the EU is longer than its border with Russia. Except for energy, there is nothing to stop Belarus from diversifying away from Russian trade. As to fossil fuels, Belarus will have to get used to paying market prices like all other countries sooner or later. They won't sell their sovereignty for a 17% rebate on oil.
Lukashenko will be toppled when economic hardship starts to bite and discontent spreads to all sections of the population.