Belarus unites with Russia - Which country is the next victim? -

27 October, Wednesday

Belarus unites with Russia - Which country is the next victim?

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Russian President Vladimir Putin's three-and-a-half-hour meeting with Belarus President Alexander Lukashenka realised the launch of a long-awaited Union State programme. The 28 programmes signed between the two countries will focus on increasing both economic and military power. In addition, the signed document will boost the military exercises. In this regard, President Putin stressed the importance of the joint military exercise "Zapad-2021", which will be held this year. 

Although Putin does not directly support the Soviet regime, he is trying to form a system of union states out of the former Soviet Union countries. It is because Putin can realise that the Russian Federation alone is not capable to control the whole continent. While the Turkic-speaking states within the federation, the Caucasus, Ukraine and China in the east could pose a threat to the country's territorial integrity at any time, Russia is trying to expand its capabilities. Belarus, currently on the West's blacklist, is taking refuge under Russia's umbrella. However, it is still unknown who will be the next victims to join the union. Another question is Russia’s possibly growing aggressive policy that may affect directly in the Caucasus.

In his interview to EdNews, political analyst Metin Mammadli commented on the above issues.  

- Russia has agreed with Belarus on a Union State programme that has been under discussion for many years. Is the agreement between Russia and Belarus that are oppressed and isolated in the international arena, because of that pressure?

- The logic of the Lukashenka government's policy of deepening relations with Russia, which has faced serious protests inside the country and pressure from the West after the last disputed presidential election, is understandable. In fact, with the help of Moscow, Lukashenka wants to maintain his power for a while, and after leaving power, to ensure the security of himself and his entourage. In this regard, the role of Western pressure on Minsk in the signing of a package of agreements between the two countries is great. In other words, Western pressure on Lukashenka’s government has played a significant role in setting Minsk's unilateral foreign policy priority. Russia is still the geopolitical winner of this process. However, I assume Moscow's joy will not last long in this context.

- It is no secret that Putin considers the collapse of the USSR the biggest mistake and disaster, and considers it necessary to reunite the former Soviet republics in some form. In this sense, how realistic is Moscow's attempt to attract new countries to its “union”? Which state could be the next victim?

- Obviously, Russia considers the post-Soviet area as its own backyard, and the main goal of its policy towards the region for the last 30 years has been always to maintain its influence in this area. Especially in the last 20 years since Putin came to power, this policy has been more active, and Moscow has authored certain geopolitical projects to achieve its strategic goals in the post-Soviet area. The Eurasian Economic Union, the CSTO and other associations can be pointed out as an example. Of course, Russia wants to restore the USSR in any form, even if it is not possible as before, and both the above-mentioned geopolitical projects and the recent agreements signed with Belarus serve to achieve the goal of Moscow. However, I am sceptical that Moscow will realise its great claims to the post-Soviet area. The main reasons are Russia's limited economic and technological capabilities, the existence of serious economic and political problems in the country, the lack of ideological appeal, the different foreign policies of the countries of the region, and the international situation. From this point of view, I consider it uncertain which other state can be included by Moscow in the Union State programme. 

- Russia's unification with Belarus will also strengthen its military potential. Through this viewpoint, can the aggressive policy pursued by the Kremlin lead to further military intervention? We are mainly concerned from the angle of the Caucasus.

- Of course, if Russia succeeds in completing the process of unification with Belarus, it may lead to an increase in its military power. Russia's aggressive policy, which is becoming even militarily stronger, is also expected to increase. From this point of view, this matter highly concerns us as a Caucasus and post-Soviet country. In particular, the ineffective policy of the West, which is not adequate to Russia's aggressive policy in recent years, gives reason for our big concerns. However, in any case, I think Russia's power in the region is not unlimited, and Moscow will take into account this factor and make rational decisions in its relations with the countries of the region. Moreover, Moscow's new military-political adventures in the post-Soviet territories could pose a serious threat to its vital interests in the first place.

By Elnur Enveroglu 

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