Is Lukashenka the Kremlin’s “loyal satrap”?
Published: 14 May 2011
Lukashenka has been trying to build the reputation of a loyal ally of Russia to secure the Kremlin's political and economic support. However, his main goal appears to be to remain in control of the situation in Belarus. Compared to Europe or the United States, Russia is more willing to turn a blind eye to human rights violations, is less concerned about democracy and is occasionally willing to subsidize the Belarusian economy.
The dwindling of direct and indirect subsidies from Russia has cooled down Lukashenka's pro-Russian rhetoric. It demonstrated that the relative economic stability in Belarus was based on the reception of cheap Russian gas and oil, provided in exchange for Belarus’ political support. Although Lukashenka has tried playing the West card against Russia, it is now clear that he will remain dependent upon Russia in the future.