National Guard of Russia backs Lukashenka

Belarusia's President Alexander Lukashenka can apparently now count on the support of the Russian National Guard. On Friday, the Interior Ministry published a cooperation agreement initially including military training and joint exercises. What does this agreement say about the political situation in Belarus, and how should the EU react?

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LRT (LT) /

Rien ne va plus

The National Guard of Russia won't change the deadlock in Belarus either, says political scientist Gintautas Mažeikis on LRT:

“The agreement shows that Lukashenka's fear is increasing and that the repressive apparatus is growing weary and needs additional support. But the opposition is also tired - in Minsk as well as in Lithuania and Poland. Both sides have understood that there will be no quick victory. The opposition's actions are losing the character of a popular uprising and increasingly resemble a routine project. At the same time, Lukashenka can rely on his repressive apparatus less and less, and information is being leaked more and more often. The economy, other states, the prisoners and their guards, the media - all are showing signs of fatigue. ... A diarchy has emerged in which both sides exploit each other.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Don't just stand by idly

The EU is treating Lukashenka with kid gloves, the Tages-Anzeiger criticises:

“Brussels gingerly adopted a few sanctions. Above all, it didn't want to irritate Moscow ... The Kremlin has long accused the West of interfering in Belarus while it itself is prolonging Lukashenka's tyranny. The old argument about letting the Belarusians resolve their conflicts on their own no longer applies. The EU could act more decisively, impose sanctions on more companies and business people who support Lukashenka. It could do more to help human rights activists and civil society groups, and show opponents of the regime more clearly whose side it's on. The numbing feeling of powerlessness must not be allowed to take hold, either in the courtyards of Minsk or in Brussels.”