Belarus’ Strategic Solitude
WARSAW - Over the past two decades, relations between Russia and Belarus have been in constant flux. Both countries share a Soviet legacy and strong ethnic ties, but these have not stopped them from playing hard ball with each other. Moscow and Minsk have developed deep interdependence, and main bones of contention usually encompass business and military matters.
Throughout 2018, Belarusian-Russian tensions over energy issues resulted in belligerent rhetoric from both sides. Today the problem focuses on a new tax regime for oil introduced by Russia. This tax maneuver would cost the Belarusian economy billions of dollars and President Alexander Lukashenko is concerned about serious internal perturbations undermining his authoritarian grip over the nation of about 10 million people. Lukashenko has been president since 1994.