Myasnikovich visits Azerbaijan
On 7-8 July a governmental delegation headed by Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovich paid an official visit to Azerbaijan. During the visit the Prime Minister met with President Ilham Aliyev and Prime Minister Artur Rasi-zade, inter alia with other officials and business representatives.
The Belarusian government and Prime Minister Myasnikovich continue gaining political weight and effectively assumed the functions of the Foreign Ministry. Each new foreign visit, organized by a team of Myasnikovich, serves to improve the international confidence in the government, which is carefully transformed into a major center of the country’s negotiations with the East. Bearing in mind the fact that Belarus hopes to come out of financial crisis with the assistance of foreign financial aid, the improvement of international credibility will result in increased domestic political impact of the Prime Minister’s new team.
While organizing the visit to Azerbaijan, press service of the government has particularly emphasized that the visit was taking place following an invitation of the Azerbaijani side, thereby the PM team sets off its bargaining authority against the Administration. The development of the Eastern policy by the government is a particularly positive move against the background of the de facto international isolation of Lukashenko and of his closest colleagues in the Presidential Administration. Development of the Eastern policy is virtually the only available direction, given visa ban on the majority of them.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.