Formula Lukashenko: As Minsk is still determined by the Crimea

Формула Лукашенко: Как Минск до сих пор определяется по Крыму

The original site of the Carnegie Moscow center

“Tell me to whom Crimea belongs, and I’ll tell you who you are.” This phrase was popular among the Belarusian politicized public two years ago. A goal of the official Minsk for the past two years was to avoid answering this question. Therefore, when the foreign Minister of Belarus Vladimir Makei at the beginning of April in Moscow asked about the territorial affiliation of the Crimea, the answer was the quintessence of two years of balancing.

Years of searching

In short, Mackay said this: Minsk is coming from someone whose Crimea is de facto, de jure from us no need to decide Crimea is not a state to recognize it, and trade we have with him is not special. The Minister added that it was important to preserve the integrity of the rest of Ukraine.

News on topic: to Balance the situation in Ukraine without the United States is impossible, – Lukashenko

Minsk came to this formula, not once, but a long through trial and error, two years of groping the boundaries of space to maneuver.

The first public statement on the subject Lukashenko made five days after the Crimean speech of Vladimir Putin in March 2014. Then, the Belarusian President was inaccurate, saying that “Crimea is today part of the Russian Federation”. “You can admit it or not admit it, but from this nothing will change,” he added.

Lukashenko tried to soften the effect of what has been said, adding that he doesn’t like to violate the territorial integrity of countries, but the word is not a Sparrow. Ukraine has temporarily recalled its Ambassador from Minsk, and since then statements have become more subtle. Conditional Belarusian pendulum in the following months swayed in the direction of Moscow, then Kiev.

Three days later, in an interview Savik Shuster, Lukashenka said that he “does not contradict the view” that there was an armed seizure of part of Ukraine. But he added that the Ukrainian authorities themselves set up, and then de facto recognized that the Crimea is not their land, and “put feet”, and he, Lukashenka, in their place, took the weapons and went to fight. It was a new touch. In fact, the Belarusian President shifted the responsibility, saying, who is he to say that the Crimea – Ukrainian, if Kiev did not become a fight. But at the same time hinted to Russia that in Belarus, a similar scenario will not work.

Related news: Lukashenko: External forces will not be able to destroy from within Belarus, although such attempts were

Soon it came to a vote at the UN General Assembly. 100 countries supported Ukraine, 10 to Russia. Among them, Belarus. Minsk and Moscow have agreed to synchronize its vote in international organizations. To then condemn Putin’s decision to Annex Crimea or to abstain on such a painful issue for Russia would be a step too far by the Belarusian diplomats. The next day the foreign Ministry of Belarus, as if apologetically, explained that did not support the resolution because she is confrontational, and Minsk have always advocated a peaceful settlement of disputes.

Формула Лукашенко: Как Минск до сих пор определяется по Крыму

Then roll in the direction of Russia, the official Belarusian position again turned around and moved closer to Ukraine. At the inauguration of Petro Poroshenko in June 2014, a crowd of journalists surrounded Lukashenko on the street in Kiev. In addition to recommendations to “destroy the terrorists in the South-East of Ukraine,” Lukashenko was the first said the today’s political formula of the relation to the events in Crimea. Literally, he stated: “This territory is de-facto now belongs to Russia, de jure, this decision was not”. He advised Kiev to seek the return of Crimea “without the attacks and insults” and said that Ukraine should be United and integral state. The next question in the Crimea, he kicked out, sending the journalist who has asked to go to the Peninsula and to agree on its status.

In October 2014 Lukashenko, is already communicating with the Russian journalists, once said that it is inadmissible to violate territorial integrity of States. And in the next sentence refuted himself: “But Russia is not to blame”. Then there were the familiar arguments about the fact that Ukraine itself is framed and fought for the Crimea. And in General Belarus it is impossible to decide whose Crimea, because then Russia will lose a neutral platform for negotiations on the settlement in Donbass.

But an unpleasant necessity to clarify my position came back to Minsk again and again. In the beginning of 2015 Riga summit of the Eastern partnership of the European Union all participants were asked to sign the final Declaration, which were the words “annexation of Crimea”. Belarus signed the document with the caveat that the Crimean paragraph adheres to his previously stated positions.

Related news: At a meeting in Minsk, Lukashenko confused Putin and Medvedev

Several times the Belarusian President criticized the logic of Moscow that Khrushchev “gave” Crimea to Ukraine and therefore it can be returned. Once Lukashenka said that by this logic, Mongolia can present to Russia its claims at the time of Batu Khan.

Cards and pork

But, all this diplomatic gymnastics, the desire to please one or the other party did not lead to formal legal consequences for Minsk in the international arena and inside the country.

The Belarusian foreign Minister Makey was right when he said that the Crimea on the status of the state does not claim that it had to be to admit. It is this feature and gave Minsk a lot more space than in the history of South Ossetia and Abkhazia in 2008. International law quite clearly regulates different forms of recognition (of States, governments, belligerents), but the transition from the territory of one state to another − the theme is much less regulated, and really allows you to solve many problems in the “de facto”.

Related news: Lukashenko instructed the security forces to “deal” with the militants, who fought in the Donbass

What in Belarus with a “de facto”? Order state agencies to consider the Peninsula as the Russian territory was not. So officials at all levels are afraid to take on this responsibility. In the end, on the website of the Belarusian MFA on the map of diplomatic missions abroad, the Crimean part of Ukraine. While the Belarusian trains ran on the Peninsula (until December 2014), website of the state company BDZ passengers were sent from the station “Minsk. Belarus” to the station “Simferopol. Ukraine”. Another state enterprise, “Belkartografiya”, which is responsible for the production of atlases to school textbooks and official maps, denotes the Ukrainian Crimea in all its products.

On the other hand, in the country work freely, the agencies that organize trips to the Crimea for Belarus through the territory of Russia. And this despite the warnings of the Belarusian foreign Ministry, that those who came to the Peninsula for the illegal by Kiev, the risk is the stop list for entry to Ukraine.

Формула Лукашенко: Как Минск до сих пор определяется по Крыму

No one expands the supply of goods from the Crimea, where in the column “place of origin” stated Russia. When the Belarusian Department of veterinary and food supervision is necessary to temporarily restrict the import of pork from the Crimea, he, without naming the Russian Peninsula, still refers to the data of the Rosselkhoznadzor about the epidemiological situation there.

Today’s Minsk’s position on Crimea is best determined Hippocratic “do no harm”. The reason to try anyone claims not to give. When possible position not to Express, not Express. Uncomfortable for someone vocabulary like “annexation” or “reunification” is not used.

Related news: the Old world order is crumbling. There is a new redivision of the world, – Lukashenko

This is a pragmatic maneuvering has allowed not only not to spoil relations with Kiev and Moscow, but also seriously improve their with the West: Lukashenko has created in Minsk is a neutral platform for negotiations, walked out of opals and achieved the abolition of 10 years of sanctions against him and two hundred officials. Lukashenka hardly thought about these side bonuses in March 2014, when nervously chose the wording in the Crimea. But the instinct of political survival has never gone unchallenged Belarusian President.

Artyom Shraibman

The editors may not agree with the opinion of the author. If you want to write under the heading “Opinion”, read the rules of the publications and write on [email protected]