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Putin Isn’t Letting Good Crises Go to Waste

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko at talks in Saint Petersburg in July 2019. 

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Belarus President Alexander Lukashenko at talks in Saint Petersburg in July 2019. 

Photographer: Mikhail Klimentyev/AFP/Getty Images 

Like the double-headed eagle of the national crest, President Vladimir Putin faces challenges and opportunities to Russia’s east and west.

In neighboring Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko grows increasingly dependent on Russia as his campaign of repression against protesters deepens his isolation from the West after almost a year of political turmoil since contested presidential elections.