Belarus hopes that presidential elections will not hamper cooperation with EU
On June 29th, 2015, Minsk hosted the fifth round of the Eastern Partnership informal ministerial dialogue. After the meeting, Foreign Minister Makei expressed satisfaction with the development of relations with the EU, and in an interview with the Belarusian portal TUT.by said that he hoped that the election results would allow the EU and Belarus "to avoid that vicious circle that somehow always occurred in past”. In addition, Vadim Gigin, Chief Editor of Belaruskaya Dumka, a state-run magazine was even more concrete regarding Belarus’ hopes about the EU assessment of the upcoming presidential elections, “albeit noting some progress in the conduct of the elections, western observers for the most part will remain very critical... The main thing is that such bias should not interfere with how our relations develop”.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.