Recall that for more than a decade, Russia and Belarus have been part of the Union State. There are agreements on joint protection of the external borders of this supranational entity and on the creation of a unified air defense system. They also envisaged an agreement on the opening in the Republic of Belarus of an air base of the Russian Air Force. Near Bobruisk, it was planned to deploy three air regiments: fighters, fighter-bombers and front-line bombers. Also for their protection could appear air defense systems S-400.
This air base was to be a joint response of Moscow and Minsk to the strengthening of NATO's military presence near Kaliningrad and the Belarusian borders. After Warsaw’s announced plans to deploy an American tank division in Poland, President Lukashenko stated the following:
We are not going to fight. Therefore, do not create extra bases. Otherwise, the Russians and I will have to answer. So, we will be forced to post something to counteract you.
But then the militancy of the Belarusian leader somewhere evaporated. For the first time, Alexander Grigorievich torpedoed this project on the eve of his previous elections in 2015, trying to demonstrate his “neutrality” to the West. There were no special obstacles to his re-election. Once again, the Russian air base Paul Bobruisk is covered with a copper basin on the eve of the next presidential election, which will take place next year, 2020.
However, everything cannot be attributed to the “multi-vector” nature of Minsk alone. There are two fundamental issues that need to be addressed.
At first, the notorious integration within the Union State. Minsk persistently wants to receive bonuses as an ally of Moscow, but does not have any specific obligations to it. The “tax maneuver”, taking the Belarusian oil industry by the throat, is called upon to exert pressure on President Lukashenko so that real steps to unite the two fraternal states are nevertheless taken. In this context, the position on the military base can be used by Minsk as a subject of bargaining on oil issues.
Secondly, big questions to our Belarusian friends arise in the military sphere. The Russian Air Force airbase near Bobruisk should be a response to the strengthening of NATO's positions around Kaliningrad. Like us previously told, a clash with the alliance, if it happens, will begin with an attempt to block and seize this very western region of ours, which has no land connection with other Russian territory.
It is believed that the Russian Defense Ministry will have to make its way to Kaliningrad through the so-called “Suvalk corridor”. But for this, the Russian army will have to enter the territory of Belarus and use it as a bridgehead. Accordingly, it will be attacked by the Alliance.
A logical question arises: if President Lukashenko is not even ready to deploy one air base of the Russian Air Force so as not to quarrel with Western neighbors, will he not send Russia with its problems to the “bathhouse” at the most crucial moment, citing the need to ensure the safety of its own state? And what kind of “Suvalki corridor” then can one speak with such “allies” at all?
I don’t want to think about the most negative scenarios, but, unfortunately, I have to. The author of the lines sincerely wishes to be mistaken in his doubts.