Mikhail Khazin, a Russian economist, believes that Vladimir Putin has recently found himself in much the position that Alexander Lukashenko, his Belarusian counterpart, got into a few weeks before the presidential election.
In recent days, numerous experts in the segment of economics and political science have focused solely on Belarus where protests against the results of the presidential election are going on since August 9. According to the official results, Alexander Lukashenko, the incumbent President, became the winner of the vote.
Many Russian analysts are trying to make an assessment not only of the situation in Belarus and of the prospects for its further development, but also of Moscow's ability to wield impact on the situation in order to maintain or even increase its influence in the country. Meanwhile, some experts advise the Russian government to make a careful examination of what is going on and remember that it risks facing the Belarusian scenario if it doesn’t take urgent action.
It is hard to argue with the fact that, despite all the problems in Belarus, Russia currently faces its own serious issues which began to emerge early at the beginning of the year. The resounding dismissal of Dmitry Medvedev's government and the appointment of Mikhail Mishstin's team as the Cabinet of Ministers were supposed to mark the beginning of a new era in the formation of the Russian state's social and economic policy.
However, continuing external pressure, the collapse of oil prices in spring, the COVID-19 pandemic and the global recession, which also affects the Russian economy, have led to completely different consequences, which are not of great help in terms of recovery or growth at all. Moreover, recently, there has been talk among experts that the Russian authorities might make another attempt to put its hand in pocket of the Russian residents in the short term. At present, there is a huge shortfall of revenues but almost no resources for replenishing the budget.
“Putin has Less and Less Time Left”
The political crisis in Belarus, a country neighboring Russia, is also worsening the situation. Moscow simply cannot turn a blind eye to the crisis, because it not only has to confirm the status of the regional leader, but also to help Minsk, for which for a long time it played the role of the closest ally and actually of its “big brother.” The Russian President has very little time left to solve all these issues. Otherwise, Russia itself is likely to face deplorable consequences and even to repeat the fate of Belarus, said Mikhail Khazin.
He said on the air of Govorit Moskva radio station that in order to resolve the Belarusian political crisis and a number of domestic problems Putin should take decisive actions. Otherwise, in Khazin’s opinion, Russia is doomed to grapple with extremely negative consequences. Moreover, according to him, Putin has less than a month left to fix all these issues. To be more precise, he has to do it by mid-September.
To Khazin’s thinking, Russia is likely to go beyond the role of a passive observer of the Belarusian events until the middle of September. According to him, it is not a question of direct interference in the affairs of Belarus. However, Putin should drastically change еру economic policy and provide a basis for new reforms and to crack down on the officials working against Russia's interests for many years.
Khazin also said that Putin has recently found himself in a position resembling very much the one that Alexander Lukashenko, his Belarusian counterpart, got into a few weeks before the presidential election. This means that the Russian President has very little time left to decide on changing the main scenario of the country's development. And the latter should be revised as soon as possible.
Khazin believes that even Donald Trump's victory in the U.S. presidential election is not likely to be able to rectify the situation because even in on the background of such events Putin will not be able to delay the start of reforms. The situation in the country and at its borders looks extremely alarming and requires an immediate response.