In Belarus, Russia Bides Its Time

Any move by the West will likely tip the scales in Moscow’s favor.

Let’s take stock of the situation in Belarus. Two weeks ago, Alexander Lukashenko was reelected president in what is widely considered a sham election. Violent protests began immediately thereafter, with laborers later striking and joining the fray, demanding Lukashenko’s resignation. Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya left Belarus for Lithuania as soon as the results were in and has since formed a coordination group for the transfer of political power. Russia and China congratulated Lukashenko on his victory, while Poland, the Baltic states and other Western countries rejected it. The European Union said it does not recognize the election results and will impose sanctions on those involved in electoral fraud and voter suppression. The U.S. is considering similar measures. Put simply, everyone is worried about Belarus, a strategically important country sandwiched between Russia and Europe that serves as an important transit zone and insulates Russian troops from American troops permanently stationed in Poland. A shakeup there could alter the balance of power in the region, but so far no one seems willing or able to put much at risk to resolve the conflict themselves. Tipping the Scales Which is not to say they have been doing nothing. Reportedly, Poland and Lithuania have […]

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