Journalists from various media have acquired access to an inside document of the Russian authorities, titled “The strategic objectives of the Russian Federation in Belarus”. The document says Russia is planning to incorporate Belarus before 2030. The joint investigation was done by journalists of Süddeutsche Zeitung, WDR, NDR, Yahoo News, Delfi Eesti, the Dossier Centre, Expressen, Independent, Frontstory, the Belarusian Investigative Centre, and VSquare.
The document is of summer of 2021, contains 17 pages, and lists political, defensive, trade, and social goals of Russia’s authorities in Belarus. They are divided into three categories: short-term ones (to be completed before 2022), mid-term ones (until 2025), and long-term ones (2030).
The file also mentions all sorts of things connected with unifying the two countries into one, journalists say. For instance, it says that the constitutional reform adopted in Belarus in February 2022 has to be completed according to Russia’s interests, and that Belarusian laws have to be “harmonised” with the Russian ones.
Another goal is “ensuring an overwhelming influence of Russia in social policy, trade, economy, science, education, and culture”.
In addition, the Russian authorities are going to simplify the procedure for issuing Russian passports to Belarusian citizens “in order to create a layer of Russians interested in integration, and business circles focused on the Russian market”. The same strategy was used earlier in South Ossetia, Abkhazia, and the occupied part of Ukraine. It is also planned that locations will be opened in Belarus by 2030 where school graduates would be able to pass Russian state exams.
Foreign experts have come to know the document and consider it authentic. “The document appears to be a usual one for the Russian bureaucracy or political administration,” said Martin Kragh, deputy director of the Stockholm Center for Eastern European Studies (SCEEUS).
The same opinion was expressed by representatives of Western intelligence services who also inspected the document. “The contents of the document are absolutely authentic and consistent with what we are also seeing,” an unnamed intelligence official commented.
“Russia’s goals in Belarus are the same as in Ukraine. The difference is that in Belarus Russia relies on coercion rather than war. Its ultimate goal is still mass incorporation,”
said Michael Carpenter, the United States ambassador to the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe.