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Lukashenko & Saakashvili: frenmity dictate2010-07-27 18:30
Looks like a weird couple at first site: Saakashvili, the punisher of his own people, and president of Belarus, that has been wise enough - so far at least - not to launch open confrontation with Russia. Saakashvili's appearance on Belarusian TV looked surprising but quite logical in the end. What makes these two leaders get together? Their attitude to Russia - first of all. Hatred that comes forth to become obvious for everyone is mutually beneficial.
Belarus that is constantly arguing with Moscow over trade issues needs a serious irritator, and Georgia needs Russia's closest ally that, as opportunity offers, would support its policies and justify a possible war against Abkhazia and South Ossetia.
Alexander Lukashenko's "flirt" with Mikheil Saakashvili's regime is connected with the coming presidential election in Belarus scheduled for 2011 and the current leader's attempts to obtain the Kremlin's support in exchange for breakdown of relations with Tbilisi. He is openly blackmailing Russia taking advantage of its adversaries. Lukashenko wants personal benefits from the West and he gets them: the pressure on him as "Europe's last dictator" has subsided. Now he is treated much better than he used to be a short time ago.
Lukashenko provides media space to Saakashvili in order to spike Moscow and show how independent he is. On July 15 the First National Channel broadcast a live interview with Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili speaking on non-recognition of Abkhaz and South Ossetian independence by Belarus and problems of current Georgian-Belarusian and Georgian-Russian relations. A few days before that Saakashvili and Lukashenko had a meeting in Ukraine.
Recent "thaw" between Minsk and Tbilisi is part of Alexander Lukashenko's political intrigues demonstrating Belarusian leaders' inconsistence in foreign policy. This is Alexander Lukashenko's right to recognize Abkhazia and South Ossetia or not. After all, we can do without Minsk's recognition. But shaking hands with the Georgian president who ordered to kill the Russian peacekeepers and Russian citizens conveys a nasty suggestion that this is lobbying interests of third countries pushed by personal ambitions.
Recent statements by representatives of Georgian and Belarusian authorities that Belarusian citizens will be denied access to South Ossetia and Abkhazia are the limit of common sense in political games. Democracy can simply be forgotten.
So why does Lukashenko need Saakashvili? Things began oh so well. RF President Vladimir Putin and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko promised to set up a union state outlining the exact timeframe - January 2003 - and planning to create a joint Russian-Belarusian enterprise for gas transport via the republic of Belarus to the West on July 1, 2003 as well as introduction of cashless ruble for circulation in Belarus by 2005. Then there was a plan to carry out political unification and adopt a unique Constitution.
Then differences emerged with Minsk believing that the unification must be ensured by creation of a supranational government which would let Lukashenko remain the head of the united state. The Kremlin insisted on preserving Moscow as the center for ruble emission while for Minsk it was a threat to the country's independence. However, the economic component was put in the foreground.