Staunton, August 19 – Russian analyst Andrey Illarionov says that Vladimir Putin’s provocation in Crimea last week is the result of the Kremlin’s assessment of the declining prospects of Donald Trump in the US presidential race and its typical tactic of diverting attention from where it in fact intends to move next.
In a comment to Ukraine’s Gordon portal, he suggests that it cannot be excluded that the Kremlin leader will move against Belarus next and do so before the completion of the American election campaign (gordonua.com/news/politics/illarionov-sleduyushchim-napravleniem-voennogo-udara-rf-mozhet-stat-belarus-145997.htmlv
csfps.by/files/files/belarus-russia-nato.pdfcsfps.by/new-research/belarus-v-kontekste-protivostoyaniya-rossiya-natom. While it talks about threats to Belarus from both NATO and Russia, its key recommendations are about how to prevent Moscow from exploiting the situation to subordinate Minsk to its will.
They include the following:
· Minsk “must continue to realize its multi-vector foreign policy” so as to play one side off against the other and it must as part of this develop broad “cooperation and friendly relations with Ukraine.”
· Belarus must continue to resist any effort to have a foreign base established on its territory. Given that only Russia wants one at present, that recommendation concerns only the Moscow direction.
· Minsk must continue to work in integrative projects like the Union State with Russia not in order to reduce its sovereignty but to protect it.
· Belarus must modernize its defense capability in order to “prevent and liquidate traditional and ‘hybrid’ military threats to its sovereignty, independence and territorial integrity and constitutional system.”
· Minsk must promote transparency about what is occurring on its territory by inviting outside observers from both east and west to check on the situation there.
· Minsk must at least in the short term avoid any large joint military exercises on its territory. These have been and would again in the future be only with Russia.