Lukashenka remarked that if Crimea was an historically Russian territory, then virtually all of Russia itself should be given back to Mongolia and Kazakhstan because it had once been ruled by the Golden Horde
My latest article, co-authored with Belarus specialist Paul Hansbury for Foreign Policy’s Democracy Lab, takes a look at how Belarusian President Aliaksandr Lukashenka (in the article, his name is written using the latin-Russian transliteration, Alexander Lukashenko) has tried to cope with the regional economic fallout of the Ukraine crisis. The article can be found here.
Paul and I describe Lukashenka’s dilemma: heavily dependent on Russia for its security and for much of its prosperity, Belarus cannot stray too far from Russian orbit, and yet its economy is being dragged down by a Russian economy suffering grievous harm from a combination of low oil prices and Western sanctions imposed since Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014.
But there is a strong political dimension to this issue too. Russia’s behaviour in Ukraine, and its use of the language of having the right to ‘defend’ not only ‘ethnic Russians’ but ‘Russian speakers’ has spooked the leaders of many post-Soviet countries, especially those of Belarus and Kazakhstan.