Expert: The situation got out of Lukashenko's control
"The government system created by Alexander Lukashenko, has reached the stage inherent to many personalist regimes, when a leader, not being able to change himself, starts to fight only for the preservation of personal power", writes in a commentary on the website gazeta.ru Arkady Moshes the director of the EU's Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia research programme of the Finnish Institute of International Affairs.
As the expert thinks, it is already obvious that "situation got out of Alexander Lukashenko's control in three directions at the same time".
"Firstly, and most importantly, we see how is collapsing the social contract between the government and population, which was based on the regime's ability to provide people with an acceptable minimum income and security. Minimum is a loose and subjective concept. Someone finds at a critical level the disappearance of food, someone else - the sharp rise in prices for already common imported goods, while others (such as, for example, the owners of obviously not cheap foreign cars, participated in the summer protests) raise a claim of increase in gas prices, which in general, the majority of these people can pay at the market rate. All these people are "unhappy in its own way", but dissatisfied with the one - the government and its leader personally", writes Arkady Moshes.
Secondly, notes the expert, "Minsk has appeared in too much dependence on Moscow - on its goodwill and even on whims".
"One cannot say that all decisions were wrong. One the contrary, letting Gazprom to have the remaining part of the gas pipeline infrastructure is quite logical, because it's making money as in the time of sale, as well as in the future, ensuring the transit. But in general, the rejection of significant parts of sovereignty in trade policy - the same "integration component" of which they talk a lot today - is strategically disadvantageous, primarily for Lukashenko himself as the ruler, because it deprives his ability to manage resources and trade for each concession separately", considers the analyst.
Thirdly, Lukashenko has almost lost the room for maneuver in the West, notes Arkady Moshes.
"Solely by virtue of his own psychological characteristics. He did not want to use his originally available possibility to play back or at least to stop at what has been accomplished, (but the EU has not imposed economic sanctions against the regime and kept in an entry list the many of his prominent handshaking representatives) and compiled all the relations with the EU to one issue - the release of political prisoners. But, unlike 2008, when such a step could be the beginning of a dialogue, today even in exchange for the release from prison colonies all the political opponents of Lukashenko, West won't guarantee him anything", writes the expert.
As Arkady Moshes thinks, "the most unpleasant for the Belarusian leader is that practically there are no people able to publicly announce the following position: in order to preserve the independence of Belarus as the state, one can support Lukashenko personally".
However, the expert is no hurry to predict an imminent collapse of Lukashenko's regime.
"This autumn is not the end. But on the other hand, it is not the beginning of the end already. It is just became apparent that the system of government created in Belarus by Alexander Lukashenko, has reached the stage inherent to many personalist regimes. When their leaders are not being able to change internally, nor to give birth to new ideas, nor to think about leaving, they begin to fight only for having certain number of days, months or years to remain at the helm of state", concludes Arkady Moshes.