Minsk seeks additional security guarantees
Being caught between confronting Russia and the West and having problems in relations with each of them, the Belarusian authorities seek additional security guarantees. They aim to engage an influential geopolitical player capable of stabilising the situation in Eastern Europe.
Following his participation in One Belt, One Road Forum in Beijing, President Lukashenka announced further deepening of Sino-Belarusian cooperation in the security field. In particular, the parties would establish a permanent working group to counter "colour" revolutions, terrorism and extremism.
Minsk’s manoeuvres between Russia, the West and Ukraine with the desire to gain benefits here and there have resulted in a loss of confidence in the Belarusian authorities by all sides in the confrontation. This means, that in the case of a security crisis, Belarus will be unable to count on effective external support. In fact, it turns out, that she is not an ally for any of the regional players, including Russia.
There is a need for a new player in Eastern Europe, whose position could not be disregarded by the regional power centres, and who has a friendly attitude towards Minsk. The Belarusian authorities regard China as such a potential actor. They believe that Beijing, which has increased its economic and military power, is ready to enter the international arena as an independent global power centre. The exclusive nature of Sino-Belarusian relations (according to the Belarussian authorities) would help China to become a guarantor of Belarus’ security. For a long time, the Belarusian leadership positioned itself as "a donor of regional security", and now the regional donor requires a global donor.
Chinese foreign policy is characterized by the lack of desires to assume large-scale commitments, especially when they are not offset with comparable economic benefits. China has limited interest in cooperation with Belarus, which is highly pragmatic and practical on Chinese side. And there are no reasons to believe this would change in the future. Belarus and China are likely to continue developing cooperation in the military-industrial complex, exchange experience and information in the security field and etc. However, in the near future, Beijing is unlikely to provide any formal or informal security and stability guarantees to Belarus and to the ruling regime in particular.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.