As expected, Oleksander Lukashenka stole the election in Belarus. As expected, his friend Vladimir Putin congratulated him. Meanwhile Independent observers condemned the whole fraudulent process and protests continue in Miensk. Lukashenka is a parody bad guy- the question now is how far he can be pushed. The EU condemns him, as does the US. Isolating him, however drives him into the hands of Putin- who does not give a cuss for Belarusian freedom- indeed, if he thinks of it at all, he probably opposes it.
So- will the West challenge Putin? I am holding my breath, but I have a candle in my window for the victims of the Belarusian KGB and their vile leader. If Putin is serious about reform, let him get rid of this joke president- as he is certainly able to do- if he is not serious, then he will continue to tolerate him. Either way, the West can draw its own conclusions- as it already is about the reliability of the Russian Federation as a supplier of energy. Until the white-red-white flag flies again as the legitimate flag of a democratic state, we should recognise that Putin is not a government that we can "do business with" in any normal sense.