Russia ‘aims to “absorb” Belarus by 2030 according to leaked document setting out plan to infiltrate the country’
- Secret dossier says there are three different approaches to annexing Belarus
- But Putin’s desire to absorb Belarus into Russia should not come as a surprise
Russia is allegedly planning to annex Belarus and absorb it into the Russian Federation by the year 2030, according to leaked presidential documents.
The secret dossier, reportedly dated to the summer of 2021, was entitled ‘Strategic Goals of the Russian Federation in Belarus’ and set out three possible approaches – short, medium and long-term – to annexing Belarus and restoring a piece of ‘historical Russia’.
The medium-term plan would see Belarus formally become part of Russia as early as 2025, while the long-term plan gives a time frame of seven years to 2023.
The plans were reportedly drawn up by Russia’s Presidential Directorate for Cross-Border Cooperation – a governmental division established by Putin in 2018 – and were obtained by Yahoo! News and German outlet Sueddeutsche Zeitung.
If the documents are verified as authentic, it would confirm that Vladimir Putin has ordered Russia’s intelligence services and armed forces to prepare to annex yet another country.
But the despot’s desire to take control of Belarus as well as Ukraine would hardly come as a surprise.
Putin (left) and Lukashenko (right) have been longtime allies
Since coming to power in 2000, Putin has made countless references to the concept of the ‘Russian World’ and ‘historical Russia’ – the idea that Russia’s sphere of influence extends well beyond its current borders to encompass several other Russian-speaking territories.
Putin has famously described the collapse of the Soviet Union as the ‘greatest geopolitical catastrophe of the 20th century’, and is intent on restoring the great empire of old, unifying a Russian-speaking tripartite of Russia, Ukraine and Belarus – as well as other territories – into one superstate.
He openly said as much in a near-7,000-word essay published on the Kremlin’s official website in 2021, less than a year before he ordered his troops onto Ukrainian soil.
The annexation of Crimea in 2014 and four regions in eastern and southern Ukraine last year – not to mention the installation of pro-Russian separatist groups in regions of northern Georgia in 2008 – are all steps towards the restoration of Putin’s ‘Russian World’.
Russian President Vladimir Putin (R) and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko shake hands during a meeting at the Novo-Ogaryovo state residence, outside Moscow, Russia, 17 February 2023
Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenko has long been an ally of his Russian counterpart.
He has in many ways modeled his autocratic reign on that of Putin, cracking down on political opponents, dissenting journalists and anyone questioning his power.
The Kremlin has staunchly backed Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus with an iron hand for nearly three decades, helping him weather months of massive protests triggered by his re-election in an August 2020 vote that the opposition and the West denounced as rigged.
Belarus has for years benefitted from Russian economic support and its energy sector is highly dependent on cheap imports of Russian oil and gas.
And militarily, the two countries are now co-operating more closely than ever before.
They are set to embark on a wide range of military exercises this year and Lukashenko has said the ex-Soviet nation will form a new territorial defence force amid the fighting in neighbouring Ukraine.
Moscow has maintained about 10,000 troops in Belarus and used the country as a launch pad for its invasion, sending battalions of tanks across the Belarusian border to bear down on Kyiv one year ago.
But in recent years, Lukashenko’s relationship with Putin has become increasingly strained as he has been strong-armed into slowly cutting ties with the West and renouncing Belarus’ autonomy.
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