Is Belarusian statehood temporary?
Published: 14 May 2011
In the early 1990s there were serious concerns that Alyaksandr Lukashenka would try to incorporate Belarus into the Russian Federation. Lukashenka signed a number of treaties with Russia's President Yeltsin, including the Treaty on the Establishment of the Union State. Lukashenka’s pro-Russian, pan-Slavic rhetoric created the impression that Belarus would join Russia or form a confederation, which would then be joined by the Russian-backed regimes in South Ossetia, Abkhazia and Transnistria.
In the end, the Russia-Belarus Union did not amount to much more than a means of obtaining more economic aid from Russia and a warm place for corrupt officials. With the arrival of Vladimir Putin, Russia became more realistic about subsidizing the Belarusian leader and put an end to his ambitions to become Russia's president. However, very few believe that Belarus will loose its statehood. If Belarus were ever to become a part of another state, Lukashenka would lose his power as sole ruler of Belarus, a status which he very much enjoys. In addition, popular opinion in Belarus is overwhelmingly in favour of an independent Belarus and other scenarios are not discussed seriously.