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Tag: belarus

Talk Eastern Europe Episode 20: Andrew Wilson on Belarus and Ukraine

Talk Eastern Europe celebrates its 20th episode with an interview with Andrew Wilson, author, expert and professor of Ukrainian studies at UCL.

September 30, 2019 - Adam Reichardt Maciej Makulski

Taking stock of the Eastern Partnership and perspectives for renewing the EU agenda in the East

A renewed Eastern Policy for the European Union should be bold with clear expectations on how to move forward. It needs to have clear aims that are reachable, flexible and also motivating.

July 1, 2019 - Adam Reichardt

Belarusian culture: Still a terra incognita

Review of Alhierd Bacharevič's Maje Dzievianostyja (My 1990s).

June 5, 2019 - Tomasz Kamusella

How Belarus fails its homeless

Belarus is the host of next month's European Games. This is bad news for the country's many homeless. Already facing a hostile bureaucracy and lacking decent shelters, the homeless will be targeted for 'street cleaning' by the authorities.

May 27, 2019 - Felix Light

Will Belarus be the next Crimea?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s approval ratings are declining in ways similar to the beginning of his previous presidential term. Then, Putin artificially boosted his own personal ratings and those of his government by illegally annexing Crimea; now, Putin may attempt yet another geopolitical power-play in Belarus.

April 8, 2019 - Vitali Shkliarov

Pragmatic Eurasianism. Four approaches for better understanding the Eurasian Economic Union

In May 2019 we will celebrate the fifth anniversary of the signing of the Treaty on the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the 25th anniversary of the idea of modern Eurasian integration. Since then, the Eurasian Economic Union established itself as a quite successfully developing, open and attractive integration block, which has indeed become the indisputable reality of the economic processes in Eurasia. Perhaps enough time has passed so that we might begin to think about a “theory of Eurasian integration” in itself, as well as to outline its potential contents.

March 15, 2019 - Yuri Kofner

Belarus in the multipolar world

Strong political and economic ties with Russia prevent Belarus from becoming a fully neutral and independent state. And any change of geopolitical orientation or integration with the West is out of the question. The only option Minsk has, if it wants to maintain sovereignty, is to find its place in the multipolar world, one that is now coming into view.

Recent talks about the possible incorporation of Belarus into the Russian Federation have brought wide attention to the country and its place in the changing world. It sparked a series of discussions on Belarus’s neutrality and multipolarity, which have been the foundation of the republic’s foreign policy since the collapse of the Soviet Union. First stipulated in Article 18 of the 1994 Constitution, it was repeated and further developed in official state documents. Yet for almost two decades, these two important principles were reduced to words on paper while the behaviour of the Belarusian authorities, especially President Alyaksandr Lukashenka, displayed a completely different approach. Indeed, almost since the beginning of his rule, Lukashenka was tightening co-operation with Russia. The milestone agreement in this regard, concluded in 1999, established the Union State of Russia and Belarus.

March 5, 2019 - Krzysztof Mrozek

Oiling the wheels of Belarus-Russia relations

Arguments about oil and gas prices have become a recurring feature of the Belarusian and Russian relationship. Is this year’s discord different from earlier bouts, and is there any merit to the speculation of potential changes to the Union State agreement between the two countries?

February 7, 2019 - Paul Hansbury

Belarus in a post-Crimean deadlock

The annexation of Crimea was planned as a response to the decrease in Vladimir Putin’s approval rating in Russia. Now, after the pension reform has been introduced, the president’s rating is lower than that of the military – for the first time ever. It may happen that Belarus becomes the next goal for the Kremlin’s revanchist policies.

During the Cold War, the Soviet Union’s foreign policy towards the countries of the socialist camp extensively followed a simple formula: loyalty of its satellites was bought with cheap natural gas and oil supplies. Today, it is widely implemented by Russia in relation to its post-Soviet neighbours, and its main client is Belarus.

November 5, 2018 - Igor Gretskiy

Pragmatic co-operation amid eroding security

Belarus and Ukraine need each other now perhaps more than ever before, both in terms of security and economics. Despite Belarus’s allied relations with Russia and their synchronised voting in the United Nations, Minsk has become an important platform for peace talks over the Russia-Ukraine conflict. Being anxious about a possible Crimean or Donbas scenario in Belarus, Minsk contributed to Ukraine’s overcoming of difficulties caused by Russian trade restrictions, including dual-use goods.

The Ukrainian Revolution of 2013-2014 and the subsequent Russian military and neo-imperialist activities on Ukrainian territory put Belarus in a challenging and awkward geopolitical situation.

November 5, 2018 - Maksym Khylko

Past as weakness or strength? The shared history, strained present and uncertain future of Belarus and Lithuania

How can barriers between two historically close countries like Belarus and Lithuania be lowered or eliminated? What are the prospects of improved relations between the two states? Ultimately, closer ties between ordinary Belarusians and Lithuanians could serve as the best guarantor of closer political relations.

During his September 2018 visit to Vilnius, Pope Francis quoted Lithuania’s national anthem and encouraged people to “draw strength from the past”. He reiterated what is often common knowledge: for one to look to the future, one must first know and make peace with the past. In theory the same logic could apply to Lithuania and Belarus, two neighbours that, over the centuries, have spent more time together – that is, belonging to (or being ruled by) the same state – than apart.

November 5, 2018 - Dovilė Šukytė

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

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