One of the leaders of the Russian opposition movement "Solidarity" Boris Nemtsov in the interview with the newspaper "Delo" expressed his opinion on why the Russian government began baiting Alexander Lukashenka.
"I believe that the conflict between Russia and Belarus has not economic but political causes. It is a personal conflict", says Boris Nemtsov. According to him, "Putin and Lukashenka are very similar to each other", and therefore one can see that they "hate each other".
The politician thinks that the conflict has not grown up all of a sudden, but developed gradually: "Lukashenka did not recognise North Ossetia and Abkhazia and refused to join the Customs Union. He was trying to import duty-free oil in the country - as a result, a boiling point was reached. Putin is annoyed that Lukashenka treats Russia like a milch cow."
Nemtsov believes that the last straws for the "surge of political hysteria" have been two events - "regular meetings of Lukashenka with Berezovsky, the main enemy of Putin, and Lukashenka's reluctance to sign the agreement on the Customs Union".
The leader of "Solidarity" is convinced that "Putin is unable to influence the presidential elections in Belarus", because "he himself has been helping Lukashenka all these years to destroy the opposition". Besides, "Putin has been subsidising his economy, and the money have been spent to support the security services, to destroy the opposition, free media, and so on".
"I think that after the presidential elections, the authoritarian leaders (Alexander Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin) will not be able to agree about anything, because the agreement means a compromise. Neither one nor the other is capable of this", concluded Nemtsov.