a Protests against elections in Belarus, the Western press stirred up a lot more of many other such movements. The author in traditional Western terms accuses Lukashenko’s repression, farce and, finally, political isolation, and expects that Moscow will be beneficial to his care.

The leader of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko was confident that his attempt to fulfill the “Eurasian shuffle” will provide him another presidential term. Apparently, he miscalculated, and now he hopes that brute force will help his regime to avoid overthrow.

Brutal repressions that began after Sunday’s presidential election, representing the electoral farce, indicate the despair of a man who finally realized that he was alone.

The leader of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko was confident that his attempt to fulfill the “Eurasian shuffle” will provide him another presidential term. Apparently, he miscalculated, and now he hopes that brute force will help his regime to avoid overthrow.

“Eurasian shuffle” — his most skillful performer was the late President of Uzbekistan Islam Karimov is the eternal dance that post-Soviet leaders perform “between Moscow and Washington to secure the maximum benefits”.

Traditionally, the leaders of the “play shuffle” to the West in the hope of achieving economic and political support, with an emphasis on their independence from Russia, but they are retreating eastwards in order to evade the pressure of the West, which insists on true democratization and reforms.

The most skilled performers of this shuffle are authoritarian rulers who are able to recognize some violations in the process of communication with their Western (primarily American) interlocutors, to offer some concessions, then clearly allude to the fact that they can serve as a barrier against aggression and expansion of Russia, and at the same time they are trying to obtain privileges from Moscow, seeking to buy their loyalty or at least neutrality. And whenever in their experimental affair with Europe and the United States comes the cooling, they can count on is that Moscow is happy to accept them back into the common Eurasian home.

The traditional approach Lukashenka was to keep his position, guaranteeing the neutrality of Belarus, and some degree of interaction with Europe and at the same time demanding that Russia benefits, which allowed him to purchase the loyalty of the population of his country. However, the deal began to crumble after the Ukrainian crisis of 2014, when available Lukashenko space for geopolitical maneuvers between Russia and the West declined sharply. Moreover, despite his willingnessSt to cooperate with the Kremlin, Lukashenko has always wanted to be President of the independent Belarusian state, not the Governor of a province of “Great Russia”. According to rumors, he was irritated by suggestions about how the Russian President could circumvent the then existing prohibition on participation in the presidential election of 2024, in particular the idea that Putin could lead the already obsolete “Union state” of Russia and Belarus and to turn this post into a new and more powerful Executive position, thereby effectively shifting Lukashenko.

Meanwhile, given the economic downturn in Russia and its geo-economic projects, which should reduce its dependence on Ukraine as of the transit state (which in turn would decrease the significance of Belarus), Moscow began to doubt that she is getting enough in exchange for the rubles, which she spent to support Lukashenka’s regime.

Earlier this year in Russian-Belarusian relations had two crisis. The first of these was associated with oil transit and the ability of Belarus to buy energy at below market prices. Lukashenko presented the crisis as a manifestation of Russia’s economic aggression against the sovereignty of Belarus and tried to find suppliers in other countries, including the United States. In Western cities, he listened carefully, and as evidence of a thaw in relations in February 2020, the US Secretary of state Mike Pompeo (Mike Pompeo) came to visit to Belarus and announced that the United States “want to help Belarus create its own sovereign country.” Was taken certain steps to mitigate Western restrictions against Belarus, and the United States began the process of restoring diplomatic ties at the ambassadorial level.

The second crisis arose when Lukashenko tried — on the eve of the August election is to accuse Moscow in seeking to intervene in the Belarusian elections and to destabilize the country to put in her more compliant leadership. The culmination of this crisis was quite a strange incident, when related to private military company Wagner mercenaries bound for Africa, were detained on the territory of Belarus under the pretext that they allegedly planned to foment a rebellion. Apparently, Lukashenko was hoping that Western governments will reflexively support him as a defender of Putin’s expansionism.

All of these efforts have failed. Surely the West will introduce sanctions against Lukashenko. Moreover, some European States, in particular Lithuania, no longer recognize Lukashenka as the legitimate President of Belarus and instead support the opposition candidate SVLlano Tikhanovski, considering it to be a legitimate winner in the presidential election. Meanwhile, Moscow is in no hurry to support Lukashenka now, when he faced protests in the country and pressure from the West. Putin congratulated Lukashenko on his election victory, however, over the last few months the attitude of the Russian press, the Belarusian leader was noticeably stiffer — it is increasingly being positioned as divorced from the reality of a ruler who has demonstrated a willingness to betray their Russian allies.

From my point of view, in a sense, Lukashenko in 2020 is in the same position, which was Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi in 2011, another leader who sought to downplay the significance of their relations with Moscow in an attempt to gain support in the West. When Gaddafi fell out with Western countries, Moscow did nothing to save him.

Moreover, Lukashenko is to pay attention to the political fate of the former leader of Armenia Serzh Sargsyan, who was also convinced that Moscow considers it indispensable in the management of Armenia, and whose place in the revolution of 2018 took Nikol Pashinyan. The impression that the best outcome for the Kremlin will be Lukashenko, who will be able to remain at the helm in the country, but which will become weak and completely dependent on Moscow in terms of its political survival. But as you wrote to Andrey Kortunov, “the example of Armenia shows that geopolitics constrains the list of potential allies of one or another country, even if the composition of its leadership is changing radically. Perhaps in geographical terms, Belarus has more options than Armenia, but the prospect of serious integration with the West is very vague”. Fyodor Lukyanov wrote: “Thus the Kremlin just need to wait for the results to continue to build on them”.

Maybe Lukashenko wants to use brute force — even in the spirit of the massacre in Tiananmen square, to remain at the helm in the country, but he obviously hopes to help Chinese leader XI Jinping now, when the West will certainly refuse to support him, and Russia will agree to provide it only in exchange for significant concessions. But China is hardly interested in Belarus in the same way in which it is interested in China.

The United States and its European partners must continue to strongly condemn the mass violations of human rights that are currently observed in Belarus. The campaign of pressure on the Belarusian regime, perhaps, is bearing fruit as the government has released the detained participants of the protests. But this crisis requires a very careful and skillful approach. Belarus still has great importance for Russia due to its geographic putUW and the role it plays in protecting vulnerable Western areas of Russia. This limits the ability of the West to influence the situation, because Moscow has the “home field advantage” and considering the future of Belarus as a vital aspect, for which she is ready to go to serious risks.

Although subsequent events have obscured this fact, it is worth Recalling that the United States and Russia found a common language and provided a “soft landing” after the Georgian rose Revolution of 2003. Another example would be the initial deal, designed for Ukraine before the start of the revolution on the Maidan. If you will be able to provide care Lukashenka on condition that Moscow deems acceptable to us and our European partners is to grab it.

Nikolas Gvosdev is Professor of national security Department at the U.S. naval war College, USA, and also the head of the Department of economic geography and national security name of Jerome levy. Is a contributing editor of the National Interest.