President Lukashenko has returned to TV screens. Just as I described in my previous post, his press conference was televised on all Belarusian channels, and the transcript was reprinted by all major state publications.
There were no new messages in his speech, but the media picked up on his threat to break off relations with Russia if it persists with the plan to raise the price of gas for Belarus in 2007. Lukashenko demanded that Russia should grant Belarus Russian internal cost of gas, but he refused to sell Gazprom 50% of Beltrasgaz stocks for 300 million dollars for that matter. According to Lukashenko, doubling of the cost of gas will cost 1 billion dollars to the Belarusian economy, and that is 1% of GDP; and this money can only be reimbursed through transit costs, military bases, deemed the president.
Lukashenko presaged that the integration processes would cease for a few years because of the forthcoming Russian presidential and parliamentary elections.
And yet showing his erratic nature, Lukashenko used his usual set of superlatives to describe his overwhelming allegiance to Russia when it comes to feuding with the West. So speaking to the Russia’s regional media, he reiterated his hackneyed thesis that Russia did not have other troops on the Western frontier except for the Belarusian military.
He said, “Just as it has always been in our history, if tanks move in from out there towards Russia, we will be dying here to protect Russia. And our nation must be ready for that. And now try to name any other country which would openly state that it’d be ready to die for Russia.”
If you hadn’t heard the abovesaid comments, maybe you’ll be interested, but to me, all this gibberish sounds insipid and trite. In a few days, he’ll tone down his bravado and go kiss some ass when Putin snaps his finger. I’ll be glad if somebody proves me wrong.