Minsk compensates for refusal to support Moscow over Ukraine
Last week, Belarus did not support Russia's attempt to remove the resolution on Ukraine from the OSCE PA agenda. Belarus’ decision has set a precedent in Russo-Belarusian agreements, which imply close cooperation and support on the international arena.
Apparently, Moscow has accepted Minsk's reasoning for strengthening Belarus’ image as a "donor of regional security" with an independent foreign policy. It is possible that the Kremlin is also interested in strengthening Minsk's position in international organisations, which could mean it would have an additional leverage to ease tension between the Kremlin and Western capitals.
Meanwhile, the Belarusian leadership has emphasised its ideological closeness with the Russian authorities by criticising Warsaw regarding Soviet historical heritage, a sensitive topic for Russia's domestic policy, which, probably mitigated the effect of Belarus's refusal to support Russia on the resolution on Ukraine.
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.