Kremlin supports re-election of Alexander Lukashenka
At a meeting with the Belarusian president at the Second Forum of Regions of Russia and Belarus in Sochi, President Putin expressed confidence that the forthcoming presidential elections in Belarus would be successful and in compliance with international standards. Simultaneously, President Lukashenka has once again confirmed the loyalty to the Kremlin’s integration projects in the post-Soviet space. Unlike during the 2010 presidential campaign in Belarus, Moscow has not turned its propaganda machine against the Belarusian president. Russia is not interested in the destabilisation of the situation in Belarus during the elections and supports yet another re-election of Alexander Lukashenka as the president.
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.