Aslan Bzhaniya's visit to Minsk - comment
Aslan Bzhaniya’s visit to Minsk
Having met Aslan Bzhaniya in Minsk, Lukashenko set the tone in Belarusian-Abkhazian relations: there will be no new members in the Union State of Russia and Belarus yet, in spite of Moscow’s hopes.
All last week, Russian experts actively predicted a new milestone in the Union State project. The simultaneous visit to Moscow by the presidents of Belarus, Abkhazia and South Ossetia suggested that it was not a coincidence, but a very obvious sign that Abkhazia and South Ossetia would join the Union State.
Vladimir Putin’s recent speech before the Russian Federal Assembly loomed to give this possibility a new concreteness.
- “Lukashenko strengthens relations with Abkhazia, but does not want to recognize it” – commentary
- Aslan Bzhaniya wants to become “Abkhazian Putin”: Opinion
And yet, when the hour came, Putin said nothing about it. What’s more, the two presidents of the alleged new member states were no longer even in Moscow.
Aslan Bzhaniya was in Minsk visiting Alexander Lukashenko that day.
“Why shouldn’t we visit each other? I ask myself this question, I just can’t understand why it is necessary to aggravate relations on this basis. On the contrary, we should stick together. We are not gigantic states to divide some countries and peoples. We need to be closer to each other during this difficult time. Tbilisi, Sukhum, Minsk. I thank you for coming to visit us.”
With this short speech, seemingly addressed to Aslan Bzhaniya but perhaps to completely different people, Lukashenko confirmed his reputation as the most flexible diplomat in the post-Soviet space.
He wanted to reassure Tbilisi and the collective West that this was just a returned courtesy for his visit to South Ossetia and not a step toward recognition of the latter’s statehood.
He even seemed to be assuaging Moscow by the gentle trio “Tbilisi, Sukhum, Minsk”, as if to say: If you try a little, you can bring Tbilisi in, too.
Another phrase about Mikhail Saakashvili, who is in custody, was also directed to Tbilisi and the West: “Somehow it doesn’t seem decent, considering that he was the president.”
In other words: a hint to Tbilisi and Brussels that he too can busy himself with the matter if necessary.
A year ago, Aslan Bzhaniya would have been happy if Minsk recognized the statehood of Abkhazia. But now, when the “special military operation” has created “Syria in Europe”, the DPR and LPR have become part of Russia, and the Union State is seen as the first step in USSR2.0, so maybe Bzhaniya doesn’t want to rush things.
For Bzhaniya, who is already accused in his homeland of being ready to share sovereignty, it is dangerous to rush into new geopolitical projects; at home they may not understand. So far there are enough economic ties with the Republic of Belarus. And though Lukashenko won’t recognize Abkhazian statehood, why shouldn’t they visit each other?
Aslan Bzhaniya’s visit to Minsk
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