Is Russia Plotting to Take Over Belarus?

Moscow Times: Putin's Closest Ally Fears Takeover as Kremlin Plots Succession

President Vladimir Putin may look beyond Russia for a mechanism to keep power after his current term ends. That’s making Moscow’s closest ally nervous amid spiraling tensions over Kremlin threats to slash economic subsidies.

After years of spending billions of dollars to support Belarus’s state-dominated economy, Russia is intensifying pressure on President Alexander Lukashenko to demonstrate his loyalty by accepting deeper integration in return for continued aid. That’s fueling fears in Belarus that Russia’s turning the screw as a prelude to possible absorption of its former Soviet satellite.

Those concerns may not be unfounded, according to three people close to the Kremlin, who said Putin may lay plans to head a unified state with neighboring Belarus to sidestep a constitutional ban on remaining president after 2024.

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WNU Editor: Almost three quarters of Belarus speaks Russian. The rest speak either Belarusian or Polish. But the vast majority of the country see themselves as Belarusian first, and definitely not Russian. I have been to Minsk numerous times. I love the city, and I definitely love the countryside. But will Belarus be incorporated one day in a greater Russia? Hmmmm .... maybe one day, but not today. As to reports that President Putin's cronies are looking for a way to circumvent constitutional restrictions that will permit him to run again .... including using the excuse of taking over Belarus to change the constitution that will permit Putin to run again ..... I have been hearing about these stories since the end of last year. All that I can say is that if such a stunt is pulled off, there will be a lot of powerful and angry people in Russia who will not go along, and they will make their opposition known.

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