The aggravation of relations between Russia and other post-Soviet countries creates additional problems for Minsk.
The Russian court to suspend the work of the Caspian Pipeline Consortium, which handles Kazakhstan’s oil exports (including to the EU countries), is perceived in Kazakhstan as Kremlin pressure on Nur-Sultan for his unwillingness to support Russia in the confrontation with the West. Although the situation has been resolved after contacts between the two countries at the highest political level, the after effects will linger for a long time.
Baku openly expresses dissatisfaction with the Russian peacekeeping mission in Karabakh, which did not lead to the complete withdrawal of Armenian troops from the region. Azerbaijan has not yet publicly raised the issue of changing the terms of the peacekeeping mission, but a further increase in Russian-Azerbaijani tension cannot be ruled out.
Minsk finds itself in a very difficult situation. On the one hand, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan are its most important partners in the post-Soviet space both in the political and security spheres. Azerbaijan is especially important in the context of Western sanctions against the largest companies of the Belarusian military-industrial complex. Moreover, previously there were grounds to infer the existence of an informal coalition of Minsk, Baku, and Nur-Sultan. This was one of the reasons for Minsk’s inflated expectations of solidarity from its partners in the CIS/CSTO after the introduction of Western sanctions.
However, the Belarusian regime is extremely dependent on Russian support and us unable to act as an honest broker between Russia and other post-Soviet countries.
Given the general growth of political uncertainty in connection with the confrontation between Russia and the West, the perception of Minsk as dependent on the Kremlin, the hypothetical aggravation of Moscow’s relations with Kazakhstan and/or Azerbaijan will inevitably affect the interaction of Belarus with these countries. Particularly, in the field of security.