The Kremlin only congratulates once
By Anatol Pankouski
After the Sochi talks between current leaders of Russia and Belarus on September 14th, there were no major developments in Belarusian-Russian relations. Last week, the leading non-news was the absence of the Kremlin’s official congratulations on the inauguration, which was held in Minsk on September 24th. Simultaneously, Moscow has been active as Minsk’s advocate on the international arena.
Press secretary of the Russian President Peskov has said that the inauguration did not assume Putin’s presence, moreover, he acknowledged that he knew nothing about it. Peskov could not respond to the question whether the Russian president would send his congratulations to the current Belarusian leader: “I cannot tell you. Of course, there are some protocol congratulations, or maybe he will decide to call, but now, I know nothing about it”. Peskov added that Putin had already sent his congratulation on re-election to the current president.
Some experts believe, the unannounced inauguration was a part of the agreement between the current presidents of Belarus and Russia at the Sochi meeting on September 14th. For instance, the permanent rapporteur of the European Parliament on Belarus, Petras Auštrevičius, has called the inauguration an element in the "Sochi plan", the details of which have not been disclosed.
When asked about the fact that some states had recognized the current Belarusian president as illegitimate, Peskov said on September 25th that the Kremlin did not welcome such decisions as “undoubtedly slowing down and complicating the dialogue between these states and Belarus”. According to him, both Belarus and Russia were sovereign states, building their relations "without looking back at third states”.
Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry described the debates in the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) on Belarus as an attempt to interfere in the country's domestic affairs, and the adopted resolution as “illegal and void”. “We proceed from the fact that neither the UN Human Rights Council nor individual countries or groups have the right or authority to assess the electoral processes in UN member states”, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.