The Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka reproached Russia for cutting off gas on the date of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War. However, Lukashenka has an even more important date ahead – the presidential elections. Will the gas war spoil this historic event as well?
As political scientist Alexander Fyaduta said to the news portal www.UDF.BY, to fight with Russia on the eve of the elections and to stop the transit of gas across our territory is the biggest folly. According to him, Belarus in this situation appears between two fires – between Russia and the EU.
"Russia and the EU are our main economic partners, and the war with them is the same thing as the war with one’s own stomach", said Alexander Fyaduta. "One can make hara-kiri: a question is who will suffer from it. If Lukashenka wants to make hara-kiri – let him do this, but what for to pull the country along?"
The political analyst Valery Karbalevich assumed that the conflict with Russia may be even beneficial to the Belarusian president. According to the expert, conflicts with Russia have a contradictory impact on Lukashenka’s rating.
"Of course, the acute stage of the conflict is not advantageous to him. It has a negative impact, because the people are worried and anxious. People can even hurry to withdraw bank deposits, as it happened during the oil war at the turn of 2006 – 2007."
And "maintenance of some tensions with Russia, in fact, does not harm, and perhaps even help", Valery Karbalevich assumes. He explains this by saying that Alexander Lukashenka needs an external enemy. And if during previous election campaigns this role was played by the West, now it can come to Russia. This version is proved by the way Belarusian mass media covered the conflict.
"Today state media (of Belarus – udf.by) very persistently form such an image, and they are really good at it. The thought that there is some enemy pushes people to unite around the leader on the eve of presidential elections. This situation is not dangerous, but perhaps even beneficial to Lukashenka", said the expert.
Another issue is that the "gas war" could leave a significant hole in the Belarusian budget which is a traditional source for rising pensions and wages before elections. There is no money for this, but the problem can be solved in another way, believes Valery Karbalevich.
"For example, one or another enterprise can be sold and the money can be taken to pay the promised salary of $ 500 once. And then everything else can go to hell."