Minsk is unlikely to complicate relations with Western capitals over political prisoners in case of trade union leaders
The Minsk branch of the Investigative Committee has received the case on non-payment of taxes by the leadership of the REP trade union from the State Control Committee. Some time ago, the White Legion case was also transferred from the SCC to the IC, which resulted in the case being ‘frozen’. Probably, the power block is attempting to retain its influence on the public funds distribution during the period of political calm and summer holidays. Meanwhile, the Belarusian leadership is unwilling to deteriorate relations with Western capitals, and it could drop charges against the trade union leaders.
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.