As Russia’s Victory Day, May 9th, is getting nearer,  the preparations for the grand parade in Moscow, dedicated to the 70th anniversary of victory of Allied forces over the Nazi Germany, are either complete or about to be complete. The leaders of a number of countries are invited to observe the parade. Not everyone, however, had agreed to show up. Among confirmed attendees are representatives of China, North Korea, Cuba, Czech Republic, Cyprus, Slovenia and Greece. Among those who have declined the invitation are US, Israel, Germany, Poland, Baltic states, France. All of the above, however, is hardly surprising, as the decision about the attendance reflects accurately enough whether the relationship of said countries and Russia were “chilly” or not.

What is quite surprising, however, is that, after taking his time to weigh the pros and cons, Lukashenko, the first (and so far the only) president of Belarus, had declined the invitation as well. Lukashenko, who has been considered as one of the most loyal allies of Russia, had declined the invitation for such a high-profile event! Can it be? What  does that even mean?

It certainly looks like Lukashenko is starting to worry about the security of his position the president of Belarus. The next presidential elections in Belarus will happen soon enough, and, as Russia has been frowning upon Lukashenko for some time already, it may try to support a presidential candidate who will prove to be more reliable in the future.

Lukashenko claims that he had decided to deny the invitation because of his own Victory Day parade in Minsk, which sounds reasonable enough, though still that might look rather suspicios to Russia. Meanwhile, this gesture should not be considered as a sign that Belarus is finally starting to lean toward the West. However, if Lukashenko will be invited to attend the parade in Riga, the capital of Latvia, which isn’t exactly on the friendliest of terms with Russia, and if he will accept such an invitation, that might certainly be seen as an attempt to distance himself from Russia. -Dmytro