Russia needs to teach its friends a lesson of friendship

Serbian President Tomislav Nikolic has accepted the request from Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu to assist in re-conciliation with Russia. The Serbian president has thus become the fourth mediator after the presidents of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Belarus, who said that their relations with Turkey were perfect. Maybe, but where did Yanukovych go after he was removed from power in Ukraine? Correct, he went to Russia.

According to the West, the leaders of Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Belarus are either Russia's close allies or the countries that pretend to be too independent in making decisions. This is more than just enough to stage another Maidan. Azerbaijan President Ilkham Aliyev has already said that destructive forces in the West have united against Azerbaijan. According to him, fascism, racism, xenophobia, Islamophobia and anti-Semitism are on the rise in Europe. "Of course, these are the forces that do not want this development for Muslim countries. Therefore, they have united against our country," Alieyv said.

A similar threat is looming over Serbia  - the country that is known as Russia's agent in the Balkans. The Serbian president took part in the Victory Parade to mark the 70th anniversary since the end of Second World War. He also refused from deploying NATO troops in the country to the detriment of Serbia's membership in the European Union. To crown it all, the Serbian president does not want to be part of the sanctions war against Russia.

As for Kazakhstan on Belarus, they are Russia's partners in the Eurasian Economic Union and Collective Security Treaty Organisation. Washington has been dreaming about the idea of replacing the regimes in Kazakhstan and Belarus with the one that one can see in today's Ukraine.

However, isn't it more important for Serbia and Kazakhstan to maintain friendly relations with Russia rather than with Turkey,  which is a NATO member? One needs to understand that Turkey, having shot down the Russian plane and having presented no apology for that, declared war on Russia. For both Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and Serbian President Nicolic, brown-nosing the Turks does not seem to be a reasonable move to make.

After the shootdown of the Russian plane, Alexander Lukashenko urged Russia to reconcile with Turkey. Lukashenko activated relations with Turkey. A new trilateral agreement on cooperation materialised between the Academy of Sciences of Belarus, the Turkish Research Council of Science and Technology and the Turkish Academy of Sciences. Afterwards, with clear conscience, Lukashenko went to Moscow to ask for loans.

Russia's second closest friend is Kazakhstan, in the face of its President Nursultan Nazarbayev. After the incidents with the Russian plane, the president of Kazakhstan ordered to sign an agreement about the creation of the consortium for the transportation of cargoes from China to Europe bypassing Russia.

This project was founded by Turkey, and it would be logical to delay its initiation at least for a month. However, Nazarbayev did not want to. He has apparently learned the lesson from China. Xi Jinping imposed sanctions on Turkey after Erdogan signed the agreement to purchase Chinese anti aircraft complexes, but then refused from the idea under the pressure from NATO.

The main principle of Russia's partners in foreign policy is their multi-vector orientation. They need this orientation, of course, but does Russia need it in the hybrid war against the West? Russia gives Kazakhstan and Belarus trade preferences, lower prices on raw materials, helps these countries with financial resources and guarantees military assistance within the scope of the Collective Security Treaty Organization.

Russia gives multi-million loans to Serbia every year. The country has a free trade zone with the Russian Federation and it is expected to dramatically increase its trade volume. In Serbia, Russian Railways International Corporation is currently in the works to implement projects worth $940 million dollars, of which 800 million accounts for Russia's state export credit.

The same can be said about Azerbaijan. Russia's Gazprombank gave a loan of $420 million to the state oil company of Azerbaijan to implement the project for the construction of a chemical factory.

Some people may say that this is standard business that excludes politics. However, Kazakhstan conducted secret negotiations to join the World Trade Organization. As a result of these talks, export customs duties for Kazakhstan are now twice as low as the same duties for the Eurasian Economic Union. Kazakhstan can profit from reexport of goods.

You can find a lot of reports in the media about Ukraine's efforts to find contacts in Kazakhstan and Belarus to re-export Russian raw materials - crude oil and natural gas. One mate also notice the surprising willingness of Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko to cooperate with his Ukrainian counterpart. "Whatever you may ask for, we will do in an hour," Lukashenko says and sells petroleum products to Ukraine made from the Russian crude profiting from export duties on fuel.

This is a preference of Belarus, so why not cancel it? Why not insist on the creation of a Russian army base in Belarus? If Belarus does not like the idea then Russia could offer the country to incorporate within the framework of the World Trade Organisation where everything is unified for all members - tariffs, regulations and so on.

"The Kremlin needs to work on how to counter the multi-vectorness of our partners in the Eurasian Economic Union," Aleksei Bychkov, the head of the CIS Institute for Political Studies told Pravda.Ru. "One needs to struggle against this for sure. We either develop and work together or we live and work separately as we did before. This shouldn't be done to hurt our partners in the Eurasian Economic Union. This should be done to find out whether we are on the same path. Moscow needs to elaborate a strategy of cooperation not only from the economic, but also from the political point of view," the expert said.

Lyuba Lulko

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Author`s name Dmitry Sudakov