In response to all those laments about Russia doing, or not doing, this and that and whatever is the emotional dish du jour for valiant armchair strategists such as myself. So, read my lips:
Russia owes nothing to anyone. Period.
Get used to living with this idea, because Russia is not into the business of sorting out everyone's shit. Main purpose of Russia as a state (nation, civilization, collective, community--underline whatever you want) is to provide safe and prosperous lives for Russia's 146 (some say it is now more than 149) million of Russia's citizens. Per Belarus, Belarus IS a part of a unified state, so just leave it alone and let the thing play out. I will repeat what I said many times already--Belarus' main anti-Russian element is Lukashenko. Live with it. Why and how? Look at Ukraine. Lukashenko must go, Belarus may stay. Simple as that. I don't know how else to convey this simple truth. You can take one out of kolkhoz (state farm), you cannot take kolkhoz out of one. Lukashenko is former kolkhoz director with a world view and psychology appropriate for this level of management. Whole Belarus' "economic socialist miracle" was financed for decades by Russia and financing counts in, probably, more than $100 billion. Russia doesn't want to pay for some petty autocrat's career anymore, and rightly so. Enough is enough.
Now that I pointed out obvious international law and geopolitical difference between Ukraine and Belarus, Russia MUST absolutely, and I think that was done already, tell Lukashenko to get lost, after his pathetic ass will be saved. People still, it seems, cannot get a huge distinction between real intellect and being a cunning primitive crook such as Lukashenko. Now to the most important part. Empires shine, if they don't--they fail. I already stated this not for once, I will repeat it again--for New Yorker or Chicagoan who would visit Moscow or St. Petersburg for the first time, the whole experience could be a life-changing event, because the grandeur, opulence and the glitz of these cities, as well as of many other places in Russia can create a cultural shock. Especially if this person read and watched US media. NYC or Chicago look like a county fair trying to compete with Hermitage and Louvre in value of their art collections. Simple as that.
Russians, for the last 30 years, were humiliated, thrown out of newly "independent" countries of former USSR, were abused, taken as slaves, accused of being drunks and backward, of being freeloaders and being impediment to a development of former Soviet Republics towards European (or American) levels of consumption and "enlightenment", same goes for former Warsaw block countries. Russians said: "fine". Today, European cities look like shitholes compared to many Russian cities, Russia is safe and Russians, majority of them, never lived as good as they do today. And former empire shines and not only through its glitz, public safety and standard of living. Russia simply doesn't need freeloaders anymore. Belarus was a freeloader for 30 some years and it was Lukashenko who made Belarus into a freeloader. Well, this time is over. For him, anyway, and if anyone thinks that Belarus is a viable economic entity without Russia, they should take a look at a much larger Ukraine.
So, the point is simple--form a line trying to get in, guys, and nobody cares if the latest polls, such as in Ukraine, show a "softening" of the attitudes towards Russia. Sure, they show--living in a shithole changes attitudes fairly fast, but the Rubicon has been crossed and Russia asks today a question: "why do I need you?" Just ask those seasonal workers from Ukraine, Belarus, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and other former "sufferers" from Russia's civilizating yoke who try, in millions, to get to Russia today, from their national and very "free" (from real economy, education or healthcare) countries to get any job to send money back to their "independent" nations. Let's say this, Belarus got lucky, but as Ukrainians, Belorussians better have a good case to present to Russia on why they are so crucial for her. It is better be a damn solid case, accompanied by a sincere apology. Maybe then Russians will reconsider. After all, they are the ones populating this ever-guilty and ever-backward Russia. Indeed, what can possibly these Russians offer when compared to a blessed West.
I heard Paris smells like urine. San-Francisco, meanwhile, smells like shit and so, yes, I am sure there are many toilet bowls and strawberry fields which need tending by members of the future brave new world of a disintegrating West. The future of the West, from Los Angeles to Paris, increasingly smells like an excrement.