The summit is to launch the EU's new "eastern partnership" policy with six former Soviet bloc states, aimed at increasing the influence of Brussels in the Eastern Europe at the expense of Moscow's at a time when economic crisis and political instability looms large.
The decision has annoyed some states and Ian Traynor who writes in The Guardian,
Given Lukashenko's dismal human rights record, repression of the media and opposition, election rigging and the "disappearing" of opponents, the Pragueinvitation is stirring protest and has reignited arguments about whether it is better to isolate or engage unsavoury leaders.However it seems as though Lukashenko, described as 'head of the most isolated state in Europe', has been singled out for opprobrium simply because he has not made himself into a pliable Western client as have the other invited leaders of Ukraine, Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Moldova.
Yet no mention is made in the same article to the protests calling for the removal of Mikheil Saakashvili who was the EU's and the USA's most reliable and forceful pro-Western client after the Rose Revolution of 2003.
Evidence of double standards the fact that the Georgian president is guilty of war crimes in ordering the attack on South Ossetia on August 2008, rigged elections, repressing the media and cracking down on dissent by shooting protesters with live ammunition in Tblisi in 2007.
The hypocrisy of EU leaders in not wanting to be seen shaking hands with Lukashenko whilst having no problem with inviting him in order to advance its economic interests in Belarus is somewhat repellent.
Worse still are those politicians and journalists who having bleated on about 'Russian aggression' against Georgia, thus inverting truth 360 degrees, now see the Prague summit as a chance to advance economic interests with the rhetoric of 'democracy, freedom and human rights'.
Lukashenko has maintained freedom for maneouvre and to assert Belarussian interests by not implementing the disastrous 'shock therapy' experiments that destroyed so many lives in other post-Soviet states.
The average income in Belarus is roughly similar to Bulgaria. It is higher than in militantly pro-Western states like Georgia. It is unfortunate that these post-Soviet republics are only to be seen through the lens of their use for 'us'.
The pipelines are a vital part of Belarus' strategic value and the flow of oil from the Central Asia and the Caucasus as part of the EU's "vital interests", though the word "oil" tends to be the great unmentionable.
Whilst true, there is little point in trying to pretend that states like Belarus are going to sever their ties with Russia: not least as Russia has recently lent Belarus $500millon.
Though the IMF lent some $2.5 billion, that is far less than has been given to other crisis ridden states in Central and Eastern Europe, the most obvious basket case being the Ukraine under Yushchenko.
Unlike the Baltic Republics, which have seen catastrophic collapse of their unstable rentier and debt financed economy, Belarus has not seen such "instability" which is why Lukashenko has been selling his "model" as an alternative in the region.
In fact, Belarus' rate of growth has been more sustained and based on real economic achievement that compares favourably with the Baltic states. Precisely because it rejected the IMF and 'shock therapy'. The same was true with China.
It has been in the position to get aid from both Russia and the IMF which now lauds Belarus' economic progress. This has been achieved without the EU and by rejecting incessant US attempts to fund oppositionist groups to remove Lukashenko.
That's why Charter97 opposes any dealing with Lukashenko with slogans like "No to dictatorial privatisation". As if privatisation plans had been especially democratic anywhere in Eastern Europe.
With regards the new strategy Simon Tisdall wrote,
...the biggest unknown remains the attitude of Russia, which already feels threatened by current trends and retains formidable wrecking power should it choose to wield it. Whether the issue is South Ossetia's "Passport to Pimlico" separatists, Ukraine's gas pipelines, Nato exercises in Georgia, the future of Moldova's Transdniestria region or Azerbaijan's and Armenia's geopolitical orientation, Russia will continue to have a major say in a region it still regards as within its sphere of influence.Its strange to speak of Russia's "wrecking power", when the EU and US have supported far right Greater Romanian nationalists with their absurd Moldovan 'Twitter Revolution' or nationalist demagogues like Saakashvili who initiate wars against South Ossetia.
Russia will continue to have "vital interests" no less than the EU. Why 'having a say' in opposing NATO expansion in Ukraine and Georgia is equivalent to "wrecking power" only makes sense for those wedded ideologically to NATO and Atlanticist doctrines.
Certainly, Russia has more business in having interests in the Caucusus and Central Asia than the USA does and it has not stopped the USA regarding Latin America as its backyard, as the continued attempts to remove the Venezuelan President Chavez prove.