Belarus: mysterious death of Foreign Minister Makei

The Foreign Minister of Belarus, Vladimir Makei died "a sudden death" on Saturday, according to the state news agency Belta. Makei had been in office under Lukashenka since 2012. Europe's press examines the potential political fallout and, given the unclear circumstances of his death, the question of whom it might benefit.

Open/close all quotes (PL) /

Minsk has lost its "liberal" figurehead

This death has political implications, comments:

“For some time now reports have come from Belarus about imminent changes, even about Lukashenka's potential resignation as well as new attempts by Minsk to realign its relations with Europe. Makei would have played an important role in this new constellation, which makes his surprising death political, because it means the so-called liberal wing of the power apparatus loses its figurehead. He died on the eve of a meeting of OSCE foreign ministers. ... What is relevant is that Sergei Lavrov was not invited to this meeting, meaning that the Belarusian minister's presence would have become a political message, especially since Russia's diplomats reacted very nervously to the non-invitation.”

Vladislav Inozemtsev (RU) /

Belarus will stick to Lukashenka's current course

Economist and sociologist Vladislav Inozemtsev examines on Facebook whether Belarus's political course will now change:

“Certainly not. As in Moscow, all important decisions in Minsk are made by the head of state, and only by him. Will Lukashenka agree to the participation of the Belarusian army in Russia's adventures? No, if he could not be persuaded to do so in the spring of 2022, it will not happen now. Will the Kremlin risk a change of government in the country that is its last remaining ally? I don't believe in such a desperate move - above all, because no one knows whether a transfer of power is possible in a dictatorship. Especially since the attitude of the Belarusians towards the current regime and its Moscow patrons is well known.”

Spotmedia (RO) /

Submit or die

Putin could not have sent Minsk a clearer message, Spotmedia says:

“The Belarusian president has been targeted by the Kremlin leader and is now faced with two options: submit or die. ... Lukashenka has spoken out against the government in Kyiv [in recent months]. He said that the Ukrainians were Nazis and a danger to his country, but he has resisted Putin's pressure to order his army to attack Ukraine. ... However, Russia's defeats at the hands of the Ukrainians have led to a shortage of troops and equipment, and for Putin, hundreds of thousands of [Belarusian] soldiers in boots and with guns are a resource he can't do without.” (UA) /

Last bridge to the West demolished

Negotiating with Belarus is becoming almost impossible, laments:

“It was Makei who negotiated with the West recently to ease sanctions on Belarusian potash products in return for the release of some opposition figures from Belarusian prisons. ... In reality it's not his death that is significant, but the transfer of Belarusian power into the Kremlin's hands. The former Belarusian foreign minister was merely an executor of Lukashenka's whims. Now Lukashenka has almost no room to manouevre. ... It's time to say goodbye to the illusion that anything at all can be agreed on with Belarus.”