In the run-up to a possible Biden-Putin meeting, Belarus dictator Lukachenkov hijacked a Ryan Air plane, which he justified as a diversion of the plane due to a bomb threat from Hamas and as a kind of anti-terrorist act and war on terror. Hamas immediately denies and as Israel is not trying to capitalize on Hamas either, it becomes apparent that Lukachenkov wanted to kidnap a Belarusian opposition member, the blogger from Nexta and a former employee of the CIA station Radio Free Europe / Liberty. The EU reacts immediately with understandable sanctions. Ban on Belarusian flights, which can now only fly via Moscow, sanctions against selected Belarusian officials and diplomats, furthermore it is discussed to stop investments of the EU in Belarus worth 3 billion euros, to exclude Belarus from the Swift payment system, to upgrade the opposition and to give it a European platform. Some politicians and experts also ask whether Putin had not encouraged Lukachenkov or covered him and whether one should not extend the sanctions against Putin-Russia, including Nordstream 2 and more sanctions , and perhaps even see Putin as the mastermind and responsible person. It is interesting that the question is never asked why Lukachenkov hijacked the plane. Was it just an action motivated by domestic politics, especially since the Belarusian opposition as well as the Navalny disciples in Russia currently have a severe setback and there are no more demonstrations at all, or whether Lukachenkov is more interested in foreign policy in view of rumors of a possible Biden-Putin meeting wanted to prevent possible collusion of the superpowers over him and wants to get Putin involved. While the EU is imposing sanctions on the front line, it is noticeable that the US is quite silent, just as it is quite cautious about Nordstream 2 or Navalny Russia. On this point from a conversation with Putin adviser Dr. Rahr:
Global Review: What was the US reaction like?
Dr. Rahr: The US sees little opportunities to really punish Luka without Luka throwing himself into Russia’s arms. He will have no choice but to give up its sovereignty in Moscow’s favor. Honestly, I don’t know how the people will react to the loss of statehood and a return to Russia.
Global Review: Lukachenkov’s approach is extreme. It also remains to be seen whether the arrested Nexta / RFE journalist will receive 15 years or the death penalty.
Dr. Rahr: It will be a long court hearing in which the blogger has to “repent”. Then he won’t be shot and will go to jail. If Luka dies or is ousted, the boy could get out immediately.
Global Review: Quite a form of exreme oppression. Not Khassoghistyle, but close to it.
Dr. Rahr: The dictator has his back to the wall, but there is a Russian escape door in the wall.
Global Review: Also this false Hamas bomb threat, which Hamas immediately denied.
Dr. Rahr: Also the dictator’s earlier stories of alleged coup attempts against him. Even Putin put his hands in front of his head.
Global Review: The protests in Belarus are no longer taking place at the moment. Then why this action? Does Luka feel so weak or so strong? With the action he will depend on Russia and will be weaker. Does he want to polarize foreign policy? Now the lockout of Belarus from Swift, economic sanctions and upgrading of the opposition by the EU are being discussed.
Dr. Rahr He’s not a cool head. But he strikes back, does not want to be pressured by the West. If necessary, he thinks he can tap into Putin. Putin is more likely to demand a maximum price.
Global Review: Probably. What does the maximum price look like?
Dr. Rahr: Lukachenkov is already in the EAEU and SCO and CSTO. No, Putin wants a union state.
Global Review: What does this Union state look like then? Mini-SU 2.0 with headquarters in Moscow?
Dr. Rahr: No, I wouldn’t say mini. Belarus is strategically Europe and with Belarus, Russia will have 160 million inhabitants.
Global Review: What is the position of the Belarusian President in such a union? An alibi or will he be replaced by a Russian deputy in the medium term?
Dr. Rahr Vice President, without power.
Global Review: Will the upcoming Russian elections and later presidential elections be separate Belarusian and Russian elections or will they already be Union elections? Then Putin would have his own as well as the Belarusian opposition against him. Especially since the Belarusians, who are more conservative and patriotic, the opposition could gain popularity because of the loss of sovereignty.
Dr. Rahr: Yes, Putin would have a problem. Without a referendum, Luka would not be able to bring about reunification.
Global Review: He would probably have to manipulate the referendum, since most Belarusians are against a Union state. And how would the US, the EU and the international community react? Would the new Union state be recognized under international law?
Dr. Rahr. The West would face a problem like the one with Crimea, and an official majority in the referendum would the result. While 75% of the population want sovereignty, but unlike in Ukraine, only 20% want to join the EU. “
The question is why Lukachenkov wants to “strike back”, given that he is exposed to such a much stronger setback on the part of the EU. Or did he want to drive a rift between the EU and the USA in view of the upcoming Biden-Putin meeting. Or the opposite, namely a rift between the USA and Russia so that there is no collusion between the two powers against him? Other Western opponents of Putin, such as Norbert Röttgen or Manfred Weber (EPP), suspect Putin behind the hijacking and Lukatschenkow only as a puppet in the interplay between the two states and their KGBs, whose cooperation are already very close. According to this interpretation, Putin is about systematically destroying and violating international treaties and conventions, be it the chemical weapons convention in the case of Skripal, the Novichok poisoning of Navalny, the use of chemical weapons in Syria and now the Chicago airspace convention by hijacking planes. In addition, he wants to bring Belarus into a union state and, as with the military threats on the border with Ukraine, test the West and its tolerance, and even show Biden again that Russia is a real great power on par with the USA and not just a regional power. Conversely, the question arises whether Lukachenkov has an interest in a Union state, allows himself to be instrumentalized by Putin so compliantly, does not pursue his own interests and wants to torpedo a rapprochement between the USA and Russia because he is afraid of becoming a potential victim of such rapprochement. . In addition: The reactions on the part of the USA, the EU and the West in the face of such a Union state would be foreseeable a renewed confrontation. Conversely, the question would then be whether Biden would not be undermined by this and being called an “appeaser” and “soft on Russia”. Also the extent to which China and other states would accept a Union state remains an open question, also with regard to a stronger alliance between China and Russia, as well as in the perspective of Russian support in the annexation of Taiwan. At the moment, both sides, the USA and Russia, seem to want to hold the Biden Putin meeting and it is interesting how silent the Biden administration is on these events. But if Putin were to take advantage of the meeting to create the perfect solution for a union state, it would probably be the end of a possible US-Russian rapprochement. The daughter of a Swiss diplomat told us the last few days that the rumor was circulating in diplomatic circles that the Biden-Putin meeting would take place in Geneva, it doesn’t always have to be Iceland and Rekjavik, even in terms of symbolism where Blinken and Lavrov already met. Dr Rahr said the Biden Putin meeting would take place on June 16 in Geneva in 2021. There is also a joke circulating among diplomats as whether Lukachenkov would not hijack Biden´s and Putin´s planes beforehand.