* Lukashenko to go to Putin in Black Sea resort of Sochi
* Stress grows as 100,000 protest in Minsk on Sunday
* Protesters demand he step down following disputed election
* Russia, Belarus begin army drills close to Poland on Monday
By Katya Golubkova
MOSCOW, Sept 14 (Reuters) – President Alexander Lukashenko of Belarus will search the backing of Russia’s Vladimir Putin at a vital assembly on Monday after a fifth consecutive weekend of big protests demanding that he step down.
Lukashenko, going through the gravest disaster of his 26 years in energy, will journey to Russia’s Black Sea resort of Sochi together with his destiny in Putin’s arms.
Financial and army assist from Moscow may assist tip the stability in his favour as his safety forces crack down arduous on the opposition.
The Belarusian opposition accuses Lukashenko of rigging final month’s presidential election, which he says he gained pretty with 80% of the vote. Since then, 1000’s of individuals have been arrested and almost all of the opposition’s key leaders have been detained, deported or compelled to flee the nation.
Not less than 100,000 protesters took to the streets of the capital Minsk on Sunday, taunting Lukashenko with chants of “You are a rat”. Police mentioned they detained over 400 individuals.
Putin’s actions thus far counsel he has no want to see the chief of a neighbouring ex-Soviet nation toppled by stress from the streets – even when Lukashenko has usually proved a prickly and tough ally.
The Kremlin chief mentioned final month he had arrange a “reserve police pressure” at Lukashenko’s request, however it might be deployed provided that wanted. On Monday Russia will ship paratroopers to Belarus for joint “Slavic brotherhood” army drills till Sept. 25, RIA information company quoted the defence ministry as saying.
Russia has additionally supplied to restructure Belarusian debt and assist the banking system.
The price of additional Moscow backing could possibly be Lukashenko’s acceptance of even larger Russian dominance within the relationship between the 2 nations.
The Kremlin has lengthy pushed for nearer political and financial integration with Minsk, together with a joint foreign money, however Lukashenko has resisted the stress from his extra highly effective neighbour.
But the veteran Belarusian chief’s place may turn out to be more and more precarious ought to the protests persist, and develop.
Sunday’s demonstration was one of many greatest but.
“We now have to indicate with this march that he does not management the nation, that he’s not ready to talk on behalf of Belarusians,” mentioned Gennady, 35, a logistics employee who declined to present his final identify. (Modifying by Mark Trevelyan and Pravin Char)