treated the Belarusans as poor cousins, clearly rankled Lukashenka. “I will agree to union only on equal terms,” said a status-conscious Lukashenka on September 21. “Until Russia recognizes that we should have equal rights in a union, I can not agree to unite.” Not to mention that “Russian officialdom includes more than a few people with pro-Western inclinations.”
Lukashenka’s intelligence services keep him current on public attitudes, and it is likely that his anti-union rhetoric reflects more than personal irritation with the Russian leadership. Lukashenka has scheduled (unrecognized) parliamentary elections for October 15, and he may hope to use rising anti-union sentiment to promote a strong turnout for the inevitable pro-Lukashenka victory.