Beijing doesn't mind… Why did Lukashenko fly to China
2 марта 2023, 11:26
If earlier the president of Belarus defiantly maneuvered between Russia and the West, but now he is maneuvering between Russia and China.
Alexey Makarkin, political scientist
Alexander Lukashenko's visit to Beijing has three aspects:
Communication. Lukashenka demonstrates that he claims to be a participant in the dialogue on the Ukrainian issue. The question is in what capacity? Lukashenka's mediation, through which he strengthened his positions during the Minsk process, is no longer possible — both Ukraine and the West perceive him exclusively as an ally of Russia. But there may be another option — Lukashenka is useful to China as an interpreter of Russia's political course. China does not quite imagine the real plans and capabilities of Russia, and Lukashenko, who often communicates with the Russian president, can give useful information for reflection.
Subject. Lukashenka demonstrates "limited multi-vector nature". He can no longer, as before, defiantly maneuver between Russia and the West, but now he is maneuvering between Russia and China. Lukashenka's strategic task is to preserve the subjectivity of his political regime, which he created and strengthened (and is tightening — deputies have just voted for the death penalty for civil servants for treason) not in order to turn the country into a Belarusian federal District. And for at least an unstable equilibrium (Russia, of course, outweighs) We need China. However, China's interest in such games — unlike information for understanding Russia — may be significantly less, if only because Beijing is not going to compete with Moscow in the issue of influence on Minsk.
Economic. Lukashenko is interested in building economic ties with China. Beijing does not object when it comes to participation in concrete justified projects, but not in supporting the Belarusian economy on political grounds. In total, almost two dozen agreements and memoranda have been signed, the Belarusian side estimates them at $ 3.5 billion, but she herself admits that this amount "will not be in the moment." But if at least some of the projects go beyond the protocols of intent, everything will be useful — in conditions when there is no queue of investors in the Belarusian economy.