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Issue 1-2/2024: Elections without choice

Is there hope for Belarus? Read the latest issue of New Eastern Europe now available

February 7, 2024 - New Eastern Europe - IssueIssue 1-2 2024Magazine

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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 between a difficult yesterday and an uncertain tomorrow Henryk Litwin

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

Post-Lukashism. Prospects for change in Belarus after regime collapse Pavel Usau

The world according to BelTA Justyna Olędzka

Ukraine’s limited dialogue with Belarusian democratic forces Oleksandr Shevchenko

Remote grieving. How Belarusian refugees face the death of someone close Darya Grishchuk

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

Serbian drug scandal exposes deep-seated ties between crime and security services Filip Mirilović

What role can Romania play in facilitating Western Balkan integration? Miruna Butnaru Troncota and Marius Ghincea

The spectre of Slobodan Milošević continues to haunt Serbia Stefan Mandic

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

Ukrainian refugees with HIV adjust to care abroad Lily Hyde

Abortion in Poland. What will Tusk’s new day for women bring? Katie Toth

Estonia aims to help Europe’s rare earth supply chain Isabelle de Pommereau

Breathing room. Poland’s minority communities after the elections Daniel Jarosak

Art, culture and society

A writer and war. Karahasan, the rebel Krzysztof Czyżewski

Through Lendvai’s eyes. A unique perspective on Austrian politics JP O’ MALLEY

The (in)famous Dovbush. A robber of trust? Grzegorz Szymborski


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