Moscow/Minsk: – Russian President Vladimir Putin assured that as per the agreement signed between Russia and Belarus, Russia is willing to help Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko. Lukashenko claimed to have won the Presidential elections, held last week, with a majority. But intense nationwide protests have been triggered against him. The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union have indicated imposition of fresh sanctions against Belarus. Against this background, Lukashenko had called on the Russian President, requesting for assistance.
Last week, presidential elections were held in Belarus on the 9th of August. Lukashenko is leading Belarus over the previous 26 years, and he claimed to have received 80% of the votes in this election. His main rival Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is said to have received more than 10% votes. But the local political parties and the international community have alleged major malpractices during the elections.
The locals have taken to the streets against the election malpractices, and strong protests have started in Belarus. The protests that are being held since the last eight days turned violent where two people were killed, and hundreds were injured. It is said that the security agencies have arrested more than 7,000 protestors. The extent of the protests is increasing despite the action, and more than 100,000 people were seen protesting on Sunday in capital Minsk. This is said to be the most prominent agitation since the one against Soviet Russia during the Cold War period.
Against this background, Belarus President Lukashenko requested Russia for help. It is said that the Belarus President telephoned the Russian President for two consecutive days, on Saturday and Sunday. A Russian news agency reported that President Putin assured help to the Belarus President during their conversation on Sunday. The Russian news agency reported that President Putin said that Russia would provide assistance within the framework of the agreements ‘United State’ and ‘Collective Security Treaty Organisation’ signed between Russia and Belarus. The media claimed that this could also include a proposal for military assistance.
Lukashenko has alleged a foreign hand behind the protests in the country against him. NATO forces have been deployed on the Belarus border. The countries Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Ukraine are demanding fresh elections in Belarus. Lukashenko said that if new elections are held, it will be the end of Belarus as a country. But NATO has dismissed his allegations. The United States, the United Kingdom and the European Union criticised Lukashenko and have indicated imposition of fresh sanctions against Belarus.
According to the USSR will in 1991, the presidentship of Belarus was handed over to Lukashenko in 1994. After maintaining a tight grip on the country for 26 years, Lukashenko signed the ‘Union State’ agreement with Russia in 2000. This agreement has a provision to make Belarus a part of Russia once again. Not being a NATO member, Belarus is considered to be an essential buffer state for Russia. But Belarus, depending heavily on Russia for fuel and security, has developed relations even with the European Union in the last few years. This has upset Russian President Putin, and it is said that he has reduced the financial aid provided to Belarus. Against this background, the Russian military interference in Belarus becomes significant.