Speculations about the successor of Alexander Lukashenko, the president of Belarus, have intensified when it has been rumored that the president’s health has deteriorated.
of the President of Belarus Alexander Lukashenko there have been plenty of rumors about his poor health in recent weeks.
It has raised the question of what happens if power changes. There is no easy answer to that, says the postdoctoral researcher at the Institute of Foreign Policy Kristiina Silvan.
– The elite of Belarus is so powerless and dispersed that there is no clear second alternative to Lukashenko, Silvan said in ‘s morning on Thursday.
However, it is clear that Russia would probably intervene in the change of power.
– Yes, Russia would try to influence and replace Lukashenko with an even more obedient leader, Silvan estimates.
Silvan does not consider it very likely that the Belarusian opposition would be able to take over power. However, it depends on the situation in which the change of power finally takes place.
The opposition’s situation would improve if Russia were to weaken significantly for some reason.
– Belarus is really dependent on Russia. If this situation were to change, then the political situation in Belarus would also change immediately.
Belarus could become Russia’s “consolation prize”
After the start of the Russian war of aggression, concern has grown in Belarus about whether Russia could even annex the country. A change of power would be a suitable seam for that.
– Since the start of the war in Ukraine, the opposition in Belarus has talked about the need to avoid a situation where Belarus would be some kind of consolation prize for Russia if the war in Ukraine ends with a different outcome than Putin wishes, says Kristiina Silvan.
– But I wouldn’t say that it is terribly likely, because it would have unpredictable consequences within Belarus as well.
Helsingin Sanomat’s editor-in-chief and non-fiction writer familiar with Belarus Jussi Niemeläinen describes Russia’s actions as “creeping annexation”.
– Belarus is constantly approaching the point where Belarus is more firmly under Russian command or almost a part of Russia.
However, Belarusians support their country’s independence and consider an independent country important, says Niemeläinen. Joining Russia wouldn’t succeed just because of that.
– It is by no means excluded that some kind of armed resistance would also be seen in Belarus.