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Why did Foreign Minister Makei write a letter to the West?

No one believes official Minsk abroad / collage by Ulad Rubanau, Euroradio

Experts say that the West will not engage in a dialogue with the Belarusian regime because it considers it criminal and dependent on Russia. The Belarusian authorities wrote to Brussels for various reasons: it's an attempt to disassociate themselves from Russia's crimes and a desire to get to the negotiations on regional security.

Euroradio asked experts how the Lukashenka regime is trying to get out of its difficult political and economic situation and why it will not work.

The regime offers empty declarations without fundamental changes

Political analyst Pavel Vusau is convinced that Uladzimir Makei's letter to Western politicians calling for dialogue attempts to create a buzz around Belarus to distract attention from more significant developments. 

Uladzimir Makei / Euroradio

"The Ministry of Foreign Affairs functions as an element of Belarusian propaganda and general manipulation. What the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs does is not in line with what Lukashenka and his inner circle carry out afterward".

Makei's statement that Russian troops would leave Belarus after the "Union Resolve" exercise is a striking example.

"Formally, such letters and statements should emphasize that Belarus remains a subject of foreign policy, although this is not the case. As for the serious issues from which they are trying to divert attention, it is Belarus' complicity in Russia's aggression". 

The dialogue called for by Makei is to change the status of Belarus in this war from aggressor to a neutral country, which has absolutely nothing to do with reality.

Apart from meaningless declarations, such steps by the Belarusian authorities have no value. The regime is not going to change anything in domestic politics, either, the expert believes.

The number of political prisoners in Belarus is growing steadily / Euroradio

"This is a continuation of the attempts to manipulate the values [sovereignty and independence - Euroradio], which, in fact, are of no importance either to Makei or to Lukashenka." 

All the more so, terror and repressions continue. And behind the "let's talk" appeals, there are no actual steps to at least soften the internal political situation.

Besides, the West will not talk to Belarus because the incumbent authorities are perceived as criminals. 

"No one takes the statements about the sovereignty and independence seriously," continues Pavel Vusau." The attempt to impose a dialogue can be regarded as an act of desperation. There is no doubt about the severe economic effect of sanctions against Belarus. It is necessary to seek compensation in Russia, but Russia will not be able to compensate billions in losses because there is no money there. Thus, there will be attempts to find loopholes so that at least the sanctions will be eased".

"An attempt to show that these are not our crimes"

Historian Alexander Friedman agrees that the West will not accommodate Minsk. In fact, the publication of the letter in the public domain is the answer of the European Union.

"The fact that the letter has appeared, on the one hand, is unexpected. On the other hand, this is such an intelligent move on the part of Makei. I think he wrote it in consultation with Lukashenka, or it was an order from Lukashenka. Makei is not the kind of official today who would do something without Lukashenka".

The letter has no new rhetoric, but Makei calls the war a war, not a special operation. 

"Interestingly, he sent this letter on April 6. I don't think it was by accident. It happened just after the whole world had learned about the disaster in Bucha. And if this issue was discussed at the international level, the Belarusian authorities kept silent. This is an attempt to show that these are not our crimes, that we have nothing to do with them. The fact that this letter appeared immediately after Bucha is an attempt to create a kind of alibi". 

Lukashenka wants Belarus to be a "gray zone" again

The letter also shows that Makei and Lukashenka understand that the Russian "operation" is not going as intended. Lukashenka also understands that he will have problems no matter how the war ends, said Alexander Friedman.

"If Putin is defeated, Lukashenka's fate is sealed. If he wins, Russia will face the question of who to put in Minsk: someone more loyal who recognizes Bucha as a fake without outside help. Thus, Lukashenka seeks to take steps to distance himself from Russia. To get some more chance in case Russia loses". 

Ruined Bucha / Euroradio

Although all the arguments about independence and allied debt won't work in the West, Makei's move isn't wrong, the expert says. 

"The attempt was as follows: if we are lucky, some relationship can be built. If not, then the Belarusian side has expressed its position. So, they know in the West that Lukashenka did not immediately rush to declare that Bucha is a fake".

The letter proves that Lukashenka wants to get involved in negotiations on a new system of security guarantees in the region, says politician Andrei Dzmitryieu. That would bring Lukashenka considerable political benefits. 

"That's the main political objective of the country's leadership. Everybody is waiting to see how the new offensive of the Russian army in Ukraine will end. A lot of the decisions of the authorities will depend on the outcome. But the task of keeping Lukashenka at the table of peace talks will remain in any case. Just like the attempt to be a gray area between Russia and the West, to hold on to this power and make money," Andrei Dzmitryieu concludes.

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