A Brotherly Takeover: Could Russia Annex Belarus?
The author writes that the Kremlin's demands that Belarus pursue further integration with the Russian state in exchange for financial support have raised fears of annexation. In Russia, many believe that most Belarusians support joining the Russian Federation, with President Alexander Lukashenko as the primary obstacle blocking unification. This is not the case, as in polls, the majority of Belarusians support independence. Unlike in Ukraine, the few supporters of Russian integration are not confined geographically and do not experience the same degree of language- or culture-based discrimination. Thus, the author writes that "there is no Belarusian Crimea or Donbass that could be used to destabilize the Minsk government.” Annexation would not be an easy or welcome process in Belarus, and could result in guerrilla warfare and increased sanctions on Russia. Absorbing Belarus might allow Putin to remain president past 2024 as head of a new Union state, but as the author writes, a "better option would simply be to amend the Russian Constitution."
Read the full text at the Carnegie Moscow Center.
Artyom Shraibman is a journalist and commentator for the Belarusian portal Tut.by.
Photo by Kremlin.ru shared under a C.C. BY 4.0 license.