Minsk is engaging in "multi-speed integration" with Baltic states
The head of the Estonian parliamentary delegation, who visited Minsk last week, spoke about the policy of openness in relations with Belarus. Estonia does not regard Belarus as a threat to regional security. Estonian and Latvian policies and statements radically differ from the confrontational relations between Lithuania and Belarus. Due to the difference in the attitudes of the Baltic states towards sensitive issues in relations with Belarus, i.e. the Nuclear Power Plant construction in Astravets and military cooperation between Belarus and Russia, the Belarusian authorities feel more confident in shaping their regional policy.
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.