'US National Security Advisor John Bolton has visited a host of ex-Soviet republics, including Moscow's longtime ally, Belarus. Some saw it as a sign of growing US influence on Russia's border. Is it?
Frequent and almost traditional visits of US officials to Kiev would hardly surprise anyone these days. After all, Kiev took an ardently pro-US and anti-Russian position right after the 2014 Maidan events and another visit of another US official would hardly add anything to the geopolitical equation there. Yet, the schedule of the White House advisor this time included trips to Chisinau and Minsk as well.
For the latter it was the first visit of a high-ranking US official in almost two decades to the country deemed one of Moscow's most faithful allies. Some rushed to call it a “turning point” in the geopolitical situation on the Russian borders, which is sure to “ruffle feathers in Moscow.” Others assumed that Minsk somehow grew weary of its friendship with its bigger neighbor and is now more than happy to “build warmer relations with the West.”
Yet, Moscow did not seem to be particularly concerned about these developments as it limited itself to saying that Belarus is free to invite whoever it wants. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov shrugged off speculation that Bolton's visit would suddenly mark the start of close cooperation between Minsk and Washington.
So, was Bolton's visit as important as the mainstream media portray it? RT asked some political scientists.
Reviving ‘pragmatic cooperation’
The US has been virtually absent from the Belarusian foreign policy radar for years. Together with its European allies, Washington “froze” relations with the Belarusian leader Aleksandr Lukashenko in an attempt to pressure him into a more pro-Western position, Fyodor Lukyanov, editor-in-chief of Russia in Global Affairs magazine, said.'
Read more: Bolton visits Ukraine, Belarus & Moldova, should Moscow be worried?
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