Kremlin will insist on deploying Russian air base in Belarus after presidential elections
In an interview with TASS, Belarusian Defence Minister Lieutenant-General Ravkov said that the time and place for the deployment of the Russian air base in Belarus would be decided on a political level. Earlier, in October 2014, Russian Air Force Commander Colonel General Bondarev said that Russia planned to set up an airbase with Su-27s in Bobruisk in 2016. The lack of clarity around the Russian airbase deployment in Belarus implies that the Belarusian authorities are cautious about increasing Russia’s military presence in Belarus after the Russian annexation of Crimea and bloody events in the east of Ukraine with alleged involvement of Russian troops. The Belarusian authorities are likely to delay the airbase deployment for as much as they can, however the pressure from the Kremlin and promises of financial aid might speed up this process.
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.