Issue 1-2/2024: Elections without choice
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This year marks the largest number of elections held worldwide in a single year, with over 60 countries holding elections throughout 2024. While the vast majority of these elections will be democratic, some, particularly in our region, may not be so free and fair. In March, for example, Vladimir Putin will undoubtedly remain in office following the “elections” in Russia.
This is also the case for Belarus, which will be holding its first elections since the fraudulent 2020 presidential election which led to massive protests and the regime crackdown. Even though the outcome of these upcoming parliamentary elections will surprise no one – and thus our title for this issue as “elections without choice” – it does provide a context for us to discuss Belarus in depth.
Our authors in this issue describe the trends currently unfolding in the country and the society and help us understand the growing divisions between those inside Belarus and the tens of thousands now living in exile. This includes the pro-democratic forces who are largely based in Vilnius and Warsaw and are continuing to prepare for an eventual change. Yet how that change will look or when it will come, no one is certain. Obviously one of the largest factors related to Belarus’s future is the outcome of Russia’s war in Ukraine.
Indeed, the ongoing war in Ukraine, now entering its third year, further underscores the importance of the upcoming elections worldwide. With the situation on the frontlines becoming even more tenuous the politics of western countries and elections this year will have significant consequences for Ukraine and the wider geopolitics of the region. Related to that is the ten-year anniversary of Ukraine’s Revolution of Dignity which unfolded on the Maidan Square in Kyiv in 2014. The revolution brought huge positive change to the country, but also set off a series events – including Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea.
Table of Contents
Belarus. Elections without choice
Belarus. New elections to preserve a tired dictatorship David R. Marples and Katsiaryna Lozka
The new dualism of Belarusian politics Maxim Rust
The paradox of Belarusian authoritarianism Anton Saifullayeu
The world according to BelTA Justyna Olędzka
Ukraine’s limited dialogue with Belarusian democratic forces Oleksandr Shevchenko
Andrei Kureichyk’s stubborn insistence on freedom Daniel Edison
Essays and analysis
Why Putin is the product of Russian democracy George Hajipavli
From dignity to victory Maria Gorska
War, inflation and central banks Kacper Wańczyk
The South Caucasus after Nagorno-Karabakh Jennifer S. Wistrand
What role can Romania play in facilitating Western Balkan integration? Miruna Butnaru Troncota and Marius Ghincea
From war propaganda to aggression. Recognizing a new crime Maksym Popovych
I am the peninsula, with all its colours An interview with Jamala
Lost Legacy? Georgia and the Rose Revolution twenty years later An interview with retired Ambassador Richard Miles
Stories and ideas
Estonia aims to help Europe’s rare earth supply chain Isabelle de Pommereau
Art, culture and society
A writer and war. Karahasan, the rebel Krzysztof Czyżewski
The (in)famous Dovbush. A robber of trust? Grzegorz Szymborski