Changing the guard
On the Russian side, the central figures overseeing Russian-Belarusian relations are rotating.
Grigory Rapota, Secretary of State of the Union State of Russia and Belarus, will leave his post next week as his term of office expires. According to Rapota, the new secretary of state will be announced by the Supreme State Council of the Union State.
Several sources have already reported that the new secretary of state of the Union State will be Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev. His current role will then pass to Evgeny Lukyanov, whose candidacy was supported by the State Duma Committee for CIS Affairs.
Evgeny Lukyanov is not a typical figure to be called upon to mediate contacts in the post-Soviet space. Unlike the multidisciplinary “guardian” bureaucrats of integration, he is a professional career diplomat currently heading the Russian diplomatic mission in Latvia, having previously served as Deputy Secretary of the Russian Security Council, dealing with international issues.
He will be the third Russian ambassador to Minsk in the last three years.