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Belarus' president, Alexander Lukashenko, seen on TV screens criticizing Russian steps to stop the import of Belarusian products, Minsk, Feb. 3, 2017 (AP photo by Sergei Grits).

The Limits to Belarus Butting Heads With Its ‘Big Brother’ in Moscow

Monday, March 6, 2017

Economic disputes, trade restrictions and public tirades are not usually the stuff of strong, bilateral partnerships. But that’s the nature of relations between Russia and Belarus these days, two geopolitical partners who have experienced an unusually bitter falling-out in recent months.

Mutual frustration between Russia and Belarus isn’t exactly new. In the past few years, Moscow and Minsk have traded jabs on everything from dairy products to energy prices. The Russian jabs have typically been attempts to exert political and economic pressure on Minsk to make sure it stays loyal. For Belarus’ president, Alexander Lukashenko, tensions with Moscow have provided opportunities to extract concessions from the West, which still hopes to bring “Europe’s last dictatorship,” as Lukashenko’s regime is often called, in from the cold. ...

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