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Lukashenko Attacks Putin over Kosovo

lukaputin022108.jpgStratfor is reporting that Belorussian dictator Alexander Lukashenko has given a vitriolic interview with two Russian television stations in which he attacks Vladimir Putin as being a weak leader for allowing Kosovo’s delcaration of independence to go forward. According to reports, Lukashenko “bluntly laid a challenge before Putin, saying the Russian president simply does not have what it takes to restore Russia as a great power.” In addition, Lukashenko also accused Gazprom of threatening to double prices for Belarus, not because it needed the money, but rather to politically weaken the government.

What’s behind these frankly absurd comments from one of Europe’s worst autocrats? Stratfor puts forward the following theory: “Lukashenko’s actions represent an attempt to portray himself as the true leader of a resurging and powerful Russian-Belarusian movement — something of which he sees himself as an integral part once his dream of the Russian-Belarusian union is finally implemented. Russia, however, has no interest in pursuing the union in a way that would give Belarus a real say in politics. Rather, it would keep Belarus firmly in the Kremlin’s grip as an anti-Western buffer.“This perspective seems to back all the rumors we have heard that Putin personally detests Lukashenko, and is quickly tiring of their relationship of convenience. Perhaps Belarus would be better off promoting its brotherhood with fellow pariah states Iran and Venezuela, though their bond seems non-existent beyond run-of-the-mill anti-Americanism…