Does Putin Still Distrust Lukashenka?

Following the meeting of Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka with Vladimir Putin on September 14 in Sochi, one might get the impression that the Russian leader fully supported his counterpart amid the ongoing mass protests in Belarus. In particular, Putin confirmed his commitment to provide Minsk with a $1.5 billion loan and reiterated his recognition of Lukashenka as the legitimate president of Belarus. In turn, the Belarusian president again tried to demonstrate his loyalty to Moscow and to the ideas of the “allied states” of Belarus and Russia.