Min Aung Hlaing is making his third trip to Russia since last year’s coup; he is scheduled to meet the Russian president during the Eastern Economic Forum on Wednesday.
Also this week, the regime revived a failed method for reining in gold prices and—with online propaganda channels getting harder to find—unveiled a homegrown ‘YouTube’.
Unlike the grand receptions afforded other visitors, Min Aung Hlaing met Noeleen Heyzer in the lowly parlor of his SAC Chairman’s Office.
After Noeleen Heyzer met Min Aung Hlaing on Wednesday, a junta spokesman quickly declared it an ‘official meeting’ between the UN official and the ‘Myanmar government’.
Cambodian Foreign Minister Prak Sokhonn is due to make his third visit to Myanmar next month but said it would be reconsidered if more political prisoners are executed.
Also this week, Min Aung Hlaing changed his tune on his recent Russia visit, and the regime parroted Beijing’s line on a controversial US visit to Taiwan.
Sergei Lavrov, who is visiting Myanmar, said Russia was in ‘solidarity’ with the junta during talks with regime officials in Naypyitaw.
He will hold talks with his regime counterpart and other junta leaders on defense and security cooperation among other topics, the Russian Foreign Ministry said.
Also this week, the junta saw an opportunity in Sri Lanka’s suffering, and its defense chief visited some of the monasteries in Sagaing his troops haven’t yet torched.
Monks Sitagu Sayadaw and Ashin Chekinda, who reportedly urged Min Aung Hlaing to seize power even before the 2020 election, have joined him on his current trip to Russia.
It may be Min Aung Hlaing’s main arms dealer and the only country willing to let him enter, but even Russia is reluctant to lend his presence much official weight.
As the regime signs an MoU with a Russian state nuclear energy corporation, The Irrawaddy revisits a 2009 commentary on the previous junta’s atomic aspirations.
Also this week, the regime’s No. 2 kept a straight face while calling for a ‘free and fair’ vote, and China’s visiting top diplomat kept his distance from the junta boss.
Wang Yi was in Naypyitaw for three days but failed to meet with Min Aung Hlaing, who craves visits from foreign dignitaries as a form of recognition for his junta.
Beijing appears to believe the regime still offers the best guarantee of security for its interests in Myanmar, but the threat posed by resistance forces is growing.