Let me address the issue which many, as it should be the case in our world of unsolicited "expertise", tried to comment on. This huge elephant-like white gorilla in the room is Belarus. Let me state immediately my personal position regarding the events there--I don't care. When Ukraine happened almost 7 years ago and Crimea returned home in 2014, I was initially ambivalent on the issue, which many "pundits", allegedly of the "patriotic" Russian variety, pushed for--full-blown invasion of Ukraine and "regime change" to suit Russia's geopolitical objectives. It was then that the term "Putin Vse Slil", meaning Putin failed miserably, was coined. As it turned out, Kremlin's decision to support Donbas and leave Ukraine be was a strategic master-stroke, which allowed Russia to accumulate resources and start playing much larger than Ukraine "game of thrones" globally.
I am on record, constantly, when state that:
The answer to this introduction is really very simple: to explain to very many real and fake Western (I will omit here Russian ones) supporters of Russia WHY Russia doesn’t act in a kneejerk manner each time combined West does something ultimately stupid and self-defeating against her. Russia plays a very long game whose main objective is to provide Russia with those Stolypin’s, now Putin’s, 20 or more, years of peaceful development. Under these conditions, Russia, as our very own Anon from Tennessee, succinctly observed in one of the discussion threads, will “negotiate with the devil himself if need be”. This is what Russia is doing while continuing to demonstrate her increasing military and economic clout. Russia is playing for time, for a relatively peaceful time that is, because today in Russia time means growth.
Russia has NO obligations to support, often largely anti-Russian populations of her former "brotherly" Soviet Republics. As I am also on record, collective Putin's main task is to care about 146 million of Russia's own citizens, not to support people who want to remain nationalistic at the expense of Russia. As Ukrainian experience has shown--all those pro-Russian sentiments among some segments of Ukraine and, now we can add her here, Belarus, are skin-deep and are largely secondary if not tertiary factors of what essentially formed as a cabal of freeloaders in 1990s and 2000s. Enter Belarus. Remove Russia from Belarus economy--a process which is ongoing as I type this--meaning closing Russia's market for Belarus's few products which have been already substituted by Russia, and you have a bankrupt backward economy.
As people with good political sense say nowadays, Belarus will either become Russia's region, or some other form of administrative subdivision, or it will cease to exist. It is simple as that. Obviously Belarus is yet another good reminder of West's malfeasance in its addiction to color revolutions and regime change, but we should not also forget about Lukashenko being nothing more than a narrow-minded clownish autocrat who in his attempts to hold on to power will destroy Belarus. But, the truth is--if to imagine the opposition coming to power in Belarus, the result will be absolutely the same. Belarus has no good options. Now to this ever important geopolitical and military issue: what if NATO moves in, some people will ask. OK. Russia then will move in too. NATO knows this. If Brussels or Warsaw want to feel the heat--they will, but for Russia, if push comes to shove, it will be much easier to take over Belarus militarily, than that would have been the case with Ukraine.
Belarus is much smaller geographically and population-wise than Ukraine, but we are not talking about this scenario yet. Russia is more interested in seeing how current events play out, because Lukashenko IS NOT Russia's own Son of a Bitch anymore. He stopped being such a couple years ago (it was a process of unbecoming) and the title and a position of Russia's own SOB are increasingly valuable and sought after privileges. Lukashenko didn't want to follow Russia's advice on unified state formation, he was warned, he ignored warnings and now he is a definition of a used condom, which must be disposed of. Lukashenko may yet hold on to power but he is done and Russia is not going to spend her resources on supporting Belarus' economy. Same way as Russia refused and followed through with decoupling from Ukraine's economy. We all know the result of this decoupling for Ukraine and for Russia, the difference couldn't have been starker. Same goes for Belarus. Russia doesn't owe anything to anyone, she spent too much time supporting and feeding people who hate her in return. This time is over. And yes, I don't buy this "brotherly" or "same" people thesis at all. Putin says that because he has to placate all kinds of headless "patriots" inside Russia. It is understandable.
So, here it is--my position on this Belarus issue. The scenario is always the same, the playbook of color revolutions is fairly warn by now and, finally, Russia consistently looks out for her own national interests, not somebody else's and it is about freaking time. Not to mention, that the only emotion Lukashenko may evoke is that of a condescending squeamishness one feels when approached by unwashed, stinking arrogant homeless beggar on the street demanding the pocket change. Simple as that.