Senior presidential aide Ivan Pashkevich stated yesterday that “the Belarusan leadership is pleased” by the nomination of Yevgeny Primakov as prime minister of Russia. “Primakov enjoys a well-deserved authority here because of his important contribution to Russia-Belarus integration and to building the Russia-Belarus Union,” Pashkevich commented. (Russian agencies, September 10)
Only a few days earlier, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s permanent representative to Russia-Belarus Union and CIS bodies in Moscow, Vasil Dalhalyau, had regretfully noted Moscow’s reluctance to provide economic support. “Unfortunately even our [Russia-Belarus] Union relations have had enough setbacks… even though one can hardly imagine a state more friendly to Russia than Belarus,” Dalhalyau observed in the official mouthpiece Sovetskaya Belarus. (Cited by Belapan, September 9)
Lukashenka and his team have long spoken of two tendencies in official Moscow: one identified with reformers reluctant to support Belarus economically and politically, the other with those–including Primakov–supportive of the Belarusan authorities. As foreign minister, Primakov has faithfully supported an otherwise isolated Belarus in international forums, argued for Russian economic favors to the regime and urged Russian media to treat Lukashenka softly, all in the name of Russian strategic interests. Primakov regards Belarus as a useful card to play against NATO’s enlargement in Central Europe. Lukashenka seems prepared to perform that role.
REDS FOIL KUCHMA’S CHOICE OF PRIVATIZATION CHIEF.