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April 22, 2005
Belarus President Runs To Putin

After Condoleezza Rice announced that she would meet with dissidents from Belarus to encourage an end to Europe's last dictatorship, the longtime ruler of the former Soviet republic did his best to prove Rice correct by running to the Kremlin for support:

The presidents of Russia and Belarus are meeting in Moscow a day after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice called for political change in Minsk.

Ms Rice's comments and her decision to meet Belarussian dissidents during a Nato summit in Lithuania prompted strong criticism.

Belarus and Russia accused her of meddling in the country's affairs.

Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko, arriving in Moscow, quipped that Ms Rice's comments left him "indifferent".

"But it is heartening that she is aware this country, Belarus, does exist and that she knows its location," he added.

Lukashenko makes a joke, no? But notice where he makes his joke: Moscow. I'd say that Lukashenko took a look around Belarus and suddenly saw Lithuania, Poland, and Ukraine, with the latter about to join a defensive military alliance with the other two that would surround him on three sides, and all three now democratized. A steady diet of Rice for his opposition might fortify it to follow in the same direction.

Perhaps he went to Moscow for Putin's help, or perhaps he went to check on Askar Akayev for advice. Either way, he's clearly heard the message from Rice and the US.

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Posted by Ed Morrissey at April 22, 2005 6:55 AM

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