What to expect from Russia when Belarus gets rid of Lukashenka

Плохое и худшее: чего ждать от России, когда Беларусь избавится от Лукашенко
Putin won't just let Belarus go / collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio

One should not expect anything good from Russia in case of democratic changes in Belarus. At best, it will deprive Belarus of cheap oil and gas. At worst, it may follow the Ukrainian scenario.

BEROC experts have assessed the problems Belarus would face during the transition to democracy without regime change in Russia. They also calculated how much money would be needed for different reactions of the neighbor, and told us where Belarus could find it.  

The optimistic option: as before, but without support


In a "good" scenario, Belarus would lose oil and gas preferences / Reuters

A good scenario for Belarus is if Russia takes a negative, but a restrained view. In this case, energy aid will be reduced, Belarus will retain full membership in the EAEU, and the economy will remain more or less the same.


Плохое и худшее: чего ждать от России, когда Беларусь избавится от Лукашенко
Belarus will need money, but the amount in the first scenario is affordable / Reuters

"Criticism: sanctions, trade collapse and assassinations

The second scenario assumes that Moscow is determined to "criticize" the changes. Then energy supplies would be stopped to influence Belarus' behavior. Also, preferences in the Customs Union and the EAEU will be lost. This will "cause a collapse of trade, as trade ties will be severed overnight," experts emphasize. In addition, sanctions will become an instrument of pressure. And even hybrid attacks, and assassination attempts. This should undermine support for changes in society.


Плохое и худшее: чего ждать от России, когда Беларусь избавится от Лукашенко
Experts do not rule out that Belarusians will also have to flee Russian aggression / Reuters

The worst-case scenario is "openly hostile Russia." It is similar to what happened to Ukraine in the last seven years, experts say.

Russia will completely stop energy aid to Belarus; any preferences within the Customs Union and the EAEU will not be available. The sanction pressure is stronger than in the second scenario. Military incursions will be used to undermine Belarus' transition to democracy. Russian state propaganda will also get involved. Then a financial crisis and economic collapse await Belarus.

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