Russia has no means to oust Lukashenka from power
Russia’s influence on Lukashenka is huge, but still not enough to prompt him to leave his post. Thanks to the domestic policy carried out by the Belarusian leader, Moscow no longer can stranglehold the Belarusian authorities. Statements about the alleged plans of the Kremlin to overthrow Lukashenka are insinuations aiming to put their respective owners in the spotlight.
During all 22 years of his rule, Lukashenka’s main goal was to strengthen and preserve his power. He created an efficient system preventing any challenge to his leadership inside the country.
Since coming to power in 1994, Lukashenka has held several purges among senior officials and the power block. Currently, the people, whose status roots in the existing political system with Lukashenka at the core of it, lead the country. Those who had the imprudence to demonstrate own ambitions, or dissent, or the support from the outside of the state apparatus, were promptly stripped of the real power. Including through the appointment to honorary positions, which seem important, but lack real levers of influence.
Both, the state apparatus and the law enforcement, including the security services, were reorganised. Belarus has incorporated a comprehensive monitoring system to control senior officials and directors of large enterprises. Loyalty of the law enforcement is ensured through internal institutional control and security and due to inter-departmental competition. The system has proved its efficiency, inasmuch as in the past 22 years not a single document leaked from the government system proving policy-relevant information.
In addition, time did its part: 25 years after the collapse of the Soviet Union there was a generational change in the government leadership. Those having close ties with Russia have sharply decreased in number.
Statements about the alleged plans of the Kremlin to overthrow Lukashenka are insinuations aiming to put their respective owners in the spotlight. The objective reality is that over the years of Lukashenka’s rule, Russia’s abilities to influence the power landscape in Belarus have been reset to zero. In order to oust Lukashenka from power, Moscow would have to step into an open and sharp confrontation or even to use force. And the result would hardly be predetermined.
According to Decree No. 221 of June 23rd, 2017, deadlines for the completion of foreign trade operations have been extended from 90 to 180 days for exports and from 60 to 90 days for imports. Delayed payments entailed a fine up to 2% of the transaction cost for each day of the delay, but could not exceed the total cost of the transaction. Most companies, when working with new counterparties, require a deferred payment for a period of three to six months. Due to the new regulation, violations are likely to reduce in number, so as the fines. Trade enterprises are likely to expand the assortment list due to the supply of new products in small lots, and the assortment list of exported Belarusian goods could expand, too. The new terms for completing foreign trade transactions would enable medium and small companies on the foreign trade market, exporters and importers are likely to grow in number and the geography of export-import operations could expand.