According to the plan prepared in autumn 2021, the Kremlin intends to form a Union State of Russia and Belarus no later than the end of the decade. The document is only 17 pages long, outlining the political, defense, trade, and social objectives of the Russian authorities in Belarus. They are divided into short-term (until 2022), medium-term (until 2025), and long-term (2030).
The plan includes “harmonization” of Russian and Belarusian laws, a “coordinated foreign and defense policy” and “trade and economic cooperation” based on Russian interests. The plan also refers to “ensuring the predominant influence of the Russian Federation in the socio-political, trade and economic, scientific-educational and cultural-information spheres” of Belarus.
The Russian Armed Forces General Staff, officers of the GRU, SVR, FSB, and the presidential administration department, whose officers supervised the Kremlin’s interests in South Ossetia and Abkhazia and interaction with the self-proclaimed “DNR” and “LNR,” were involved in the development of the plan.
For an independent Eastern European country of 9.3 million people, this means the destruction of its sovereignty and relegation to the position of a satellite of Moscow.
What’s the point?
The development of the Strategic Objectives was carried out in 2021. The plan is divided into three stages: until 2022, until 2025, and until 2030.
According to the document, over these nine years, the Kremlin intends to:
establish the dominance of the Russian language over the Belarusian language,
adjust the Belarusian legislation to the Russian one,
subjugate the socio-political, commercial, scientific, and cultural life of Belarus,
Increase the military presence on the territory of Belarus,
distribute Russian citizenship to Belarusians.
It is reported that the key role in the Kremlin’s plans is played by the Union State, through which Russia intends to build up its forces in Belarus. For example, by the end of 2022, the presidential administration was tasked with convincing the Belarusian leadership of the need to work on the so-called Union State.
Also, the tasks of the Russian intelligence service include limiting the influence of “nationalist and pro-Western” forces, completing the reform of the Belarusian constitution taking into account Russian interests, and consolidating pro-Russian sentiments in the military and political elites and among the population.
In addition, the Kremlin intends to ensure its control over the information space of Belarus, open the unified state examination points in Belarus, and open new centers of science and culture in Mogilev, Grodno, and Vitebsk.
Loss of sovereignty
Putin is actively using Belarus to wage war against Ukraine. At first, he used Belarus as a platform for invasion, but after Russian troops were driven out of northern Ukraine, the Russian dictator is using the territory of Belarus to launch missile attacks against Ukraine and to train his troops.
Putin has so far failed to induce Belarus to openly join the war against Ukraine, but Lukashenko actively supports the actions of the Russian dictator, provides Belarusian territory for Russian fighters and troops, conducts constant joint exercises on Belarusian territory, and occasionally threatens to join the war if “Ukraine and NATO threaten Belarus”.
Western countries have imposed sanctions on Belarus because of this, making the Belarusian economy even more dependent on Russia.
Lukashenko’s dependence on Putin increased significantly in 2020 when the Russian FSB assisted in suppressing mass protests against the self-proclaimed president of Belarus.