MOSCOW, February 2. /TASS/. Neither the United States, nor Europe can change the fundamental configuration of Russian-Belarusian relations, Chairman of the Board of the Foundation of the Valdai Discussion Club Andrei Bystritsky told TASS on Saturday commenting on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Minsk.
"Neither United States, nor Europe can change the fundamental configuration of relations between Russia and Belarus. It is rather complicated, it is quite entrenched," Bystritsky said.
The expert pointed out that Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko is absorbed in his domestic political problems, which are very complex, according to Bystritsky.
"Certainly, Lukashenko sits pretty tight, but Belarus is a compact country with its public opinion and with different views. In this sense, Lukashenko primarily counts on his stronger positions, first of all, inside the country, but also in relations with the neighbors. It is typical behavior for a politician who wants to strike a balance between various forces. It is a fairly comprehensible political configuration," he said.
"We are approaching the world where nations play a greater part, while subnational assemblies [play] a lesser one to some extent. Lukashenko is surely maneuvering," the expert added.
According to Bystritsky, the Belarusian president seeks stronger positions in relations with all the neighboring nations, including Russia.
Without anti-Russian focus
Asked whether the visit was meant to drag Minsk closer to Washington’s side so as to create another center of pressure on Russia, like Ukraine, the political scientist gave a negative answer.
"I think that the United States pursues a more diversified policy and tries to reconsider many relations. They have revised relations with North Korea and I think it is the case here," he added.
Bystritsky highlighted Pompeo’s words that his visit was not directed against Russia.
"Moreover, this visit is in some sense a compensation for the previous postponed visit at the very beginning of the year, when Pompeo did not go anywhere because of the events around the US Embassy in Iraq," the expert said.
"Therefore, I do not think it is against Russia. Both Pompeo and [US President Donald] Trump are simply revising somehow foreign policy aspects," he added.
Along with this, the expert believes that "it is likely to be a 'hello' to Europeans."
"That is why I would consider it as a multidimensional step by the United States, including this 'hello' to Poland mostly," the expert pointed out.
He also touched upon announcements about the return of a US ambassador following more than a decade of their absence in Minsk, which, according to the expert, "can be considered as a more balanced policy."
According to Bystritsky, "there's nothing wrong with the fact that the US and Belarus will have better relations than they used to have."
"I would not consider that as an anti-Russian jab, I do not think so," he added.
Speaking about the possibility of the complete lifting of US sanctions on Belarus and the return of the ambassador, Bystritsky said with confidence that this process would take time.
"There are a lot of statements, but politics is symbolic, and those were symbolic gestures. Nothing happens quickly, and the United States is unable to lift sanctions so quickly. These are just statements that should show that the current administration, which I understand has an intention of staying in power, will pursue a policy based on another configuration of the world order," he said.
"And in this configuration Belarus hardly plays any hyper-meaningful part, but on the other hand, there are no insignificant countries in our modern world. Everything should be perceived as a common world mosaic," he said.
On Saturday, Pompeo arrived in Minsk on a visit. It was the first ever visit by a high-ranking US Administration official over the past 25 years. During the visit, the Secretary of State held talks with Lukashenko and Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei.