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Author: Michał Potocki

Behind the thaw

For over two decades Polish-Belarusian relations have been connected to Belarus’s relations with the West. There have been oscillations between years of warming relations and colder periods. Since Russia annexed Crimea and the Russian threat in Eastern Europe has become widely recognised, many European countries have re-evaluated their policies towards Belarus, which although authoritarian is not aggressive. Poland is one such country.

The foundations for a new opening towards Belarus were laid before Poland’s 2015 presidential and parliamentary elections. It was in April 2014, during the first weeks of Russia’s aggression against Ukraine, when President Alyaksandr Lukashenka asked the Polish government to join in a mediation of the Russian-Ukrainian conflict. Poland’s prime minister at the time, Donald Tusk, turned down the offer for fear that the Kremlin was behind the initiative. Based on information that I have gathered from sources, this proposal called for placing Belarusian peacekeeping forces in Donbas, thereby disregarding the Crimea issue as well as the guarantee of Ukraine’s neutrality.

November 5, 2018 - Michał Potocki

Donbas coal bonanza

The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics operate in line with mafia rules. The extraction, export and sale of coal – the region’s key resource – have helped the two para-states survive. It has also become a fuel for local power struggles, all under the blind eye of the European Union.

The self-proclaimed Donetsk and Luhansk People’s Republics (DNR, LNR) are often compared to Transnistria, another unrecognised quasi-state supported by Moscow and used as a tool to destabilise Moldova. Such a comparison, however, is a mistake. Transnistria – to put things simply – is organised around the Transnistrian business conglomerate Sheriff, which controls the majority of companies, some government agencies and local political parties. In contrast, the DNR and LNR, covering one-third of Ukraine’s Donets Black Coal Basin, operate according to mafia rules. This is an important point to keep in mind while analysing the functioning of the economy of the para-states.

April 26, 2018 - Michał Potocki

On Loans and Promises in Belarus

An Interview with Alexander Chubrik, Director IPM Centre in Belarus, Economist and Fellow with CASE – Centre for Social and Economic Research. Interviewer: Michał Potocki. NEW EASTERN EUROPE:  For how long can Belarus benefit from the loans it obtained from Russia last year and not go bankrupt? ALEXANDER CHUBRIK: There is no risk that Belarus will […]

March 23, 2012 - Michał Potocki

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