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Analysis

Three strategies of western support for Ukraine: intensification, modification and innovation

The geopolitical salience of the Russia–Ukraine War and the remoteness of Ukraine’s accession to the European Union or NATO call for intensification and modification of, and innovation in, current western approaches.

February 3, 2023 - Andreas Umland

Escaping Russian war: Central Asia pursues its own agenda

Russia’s ongoing war in Ukraine has encouraged Central Asian states to strengthen their multi-vector orientation of foreign policies. Looking to take advantage of this new reality, the EU and European states have now increased their engagement within the region and beyond. Despite the efforts, it is clear that the new environment will not be recalibrated and stabilised overnight.

December 22, 2022 - Anna Jordanova

Scenarios for the Russian Federation

The unforeseen consequence of the decisions made by Russia's power wielding elites could be the emergence of something entirely new.

December 21, 2022 - Dmytro Zolotukhin Oleg Magaletskyi Sviatoslav Hnizdovskyi Valerii Pekar

Poland’s Ukrainian refugee assistance as a transformational experience

Russia’s war in Ukraine has changed not only Ukraine but also nearby countries due to the massive influx of war refugees. Poland has become the major destination for people fleeing from the war and hosts the highest number of those seeking shelter. What does this new Ukrainian diaspora mean for Poland and what impact will it have on Polish politics, demography and society?

Immediately after Russia’s full-scale invasion started on February 24th 2022, war refugees began to stream into neighbouring countries, with Poland quickly becoming the main destination. The refugee influx found the Polish state unprepared for such a situation. There was no pre-existing infrastructure nor administrative experience that would be sufficient to comprehensively manage the crisis by state agencies and civil servants.

December 7, 2022 - Maciej Makulski

Strategies for the German Baltic Sea Council presidency during the Zeitenwende

Berlin's ongoing presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States could not have come at a more crucial time. Faced with increasing regional uncertainty in light of Russia’s aggression in Ukraine, Germany must now take decisive action to ensure continued high-level cooperation in the area.

On July 1st, Germany took over the presidency of the Council of the Baltic Sea States (CBSS). Cooperation among the states bordering the Baltic Sea has become more important in view of Russia’s war of aggression against Ukraine. Currently the CBSS has ten member states plus the European Commission. In March 2022, Russia’s membership, as well as the observer status of Belarus was suspended by the other member states from CBSS activities while in May it decided to withdraw from the council. Ukraine has an observer mandate with increasing strategic importance in the CBSS.

December 7, 2022 - Iris Kempe

A waste of energy

Turkmenistan has the potential to become an important energy source at the crossroads between Europe and Asia due to the drastic energy shift in European, Eurasian and Asian energy landscapes. Recent developments indicate Turkmenistan could change future energy flows due to the war in Ukraine, which could also help its over-reliance on China.

The ups and downs of the global hydrocarbons market strongly affect Turkmenistan, for its economy and exports are heavily dependent on natural gas. The COVID-19 pandemic battered the country, reduced energy demand and worsened domestic woes, such as reported food shortages, emigration and inflation. The economy appears to have struggled to recover from the 2014-15 drop in global energy prices, with IMF data indicating negative growth in 2016, 2019 and 2020. In seeking to recover, Ashgabat appears to be focusing on increasing its dependence on China by enlarging pipeline capacity.

December 7, 2022 - Alexander Malyarenko Dylan van de Ven Samuel Frerichs

From utopia to dystopia

In August 2020 the whole world learned that there are two “Belaruses”. One is the utopian imaginary of “Lukashism” headed by a soft dictator, and the other is a dystopian, oppressive state in which the greatest enemy of power is a society fighting for their rights. From the term "the dictatorship of prosperity", only "dictatorship" remained and "prosperity" was enjoyed only by members of the power elite who show absolute loyalty to the leader.

Alyaksandr Lukashenka's retention of power for 28 years was widely regarded – even considering the standards known from other post-Soviet states – as a phenomenon of its own. There is no place for any deep philosophy in his leadership because the only goal of this politician was to survive at any cost. For the story of Lukashenka is not the tale of a politician of great stature, whose political career is a streak of success translating into an increase in state power and the well-being of citizens.

December 7, 2022 - Justyna Olędzka

The re-Sovietisation of Belarus

The nature of the crisis in Belarus is the same as in other countries of the region, with the collapse of old Soviet structures in the economy, society, politics and ideology. Alyaksandr Lukashenka does not understand the urbanised modern society he is trying to rule. In order to re-establish control, his regime is trying to move the society backwards. Repressions will be extremely costly for Belarusian society, but Lukashenka’s goal is unlikely to be achieved.

The past two years saw growing pressure from western sanctions on the Belarusian regime. Each move Alyaksandr Lukashenka took since 2020 has further limited his room for manoeuvre. After each of his decisions – the brutal crackdown of the 2020 protests; the repressions that followed; the grounding of the Ryanair plane; and finally, the support for the Russian invasion of Ukraine – a new wave of sanctions was introduced.

December 7, 2022 - Aliaksandr Papko Kacper Wańczyk

Neo-totalitarianism as a new political reality in Belarus

The large shift that has taken place within Belarusian society has illustrated both a high demand for change and the loss of broad support for Alyaksandr Lukashenka. This has led the ruling elite to realise that the regime can no longer operate in the same conditions it had pre-2020. Serious restructuring was thus necessary to ensure that the regime maintains its overall control of the state and counters any form of anti-system civic activity.

The political system in Belarus has undergone a series of changes since Alyaksandr Lukashenka came to power in 1994. Over this period of 28 years it has evolved from a hybrid regime, which included elements of façade democracy, to a neo-totalitarian one. This transformation was possible because of changes that had taken place within society and the state, and which in the end allowed for the formation of new authoritarian institutions, practices and methods.

December 7, 2022 - Pavel Usov

In anticipation of a new world

Despite being neighbours, the societies of Ukraine and Belarus know very little about each other. The Kremlin’s use of Belarusian land in its invasion of Ukraine suggests that this divide may persist into the future. However, it is clear that the two countries’ democratic populations will have great potential for cooperation in the years ahead.

The analytical group “BELARUS-UKRAINE-REGION” was established at the end of 2020 at the University of Warsaw. At that moment it was already quite clear that the Belarusian revolution of 2020 would not lead to a quick change of power in Minsk. There was also not yet much talk of a full-scale war in Ukraine, which is Belarus’s neighbour. In fact, analysts and observers who spoke about such a threat in 2021, or even early 2022, would usually add a disclaimer that in their view, the breakout of a war was a very unlikely scenario.

December 7, 2022 - Oleksandr Shevchenko

Gudijos istorija for the 21st century

With regards to Belarus, it is difficult to ask Lithuanians, or actually any other neighbouring society, about how they perceive Belarusians. The truth is that in this country we are dealing with two entities: the official Belarus and the Belarus of the opposition.

At first glance, in the autumn of 2022, Vilnius has enjoyed a normal life. The capital of Lithuania has finally almost returned to its pre-pandemic pace of life. The majority of institutions are now working like they were before. The same can be said about small shops, coffee shops and restaurants. Even though the prices that you pay there are much higher. It is also not difficult to notice that some new places have been set up. For example, on Gediminas Avenue there is a bar called Pahonia, while Vilnius Street is now home to the Belarusian House, which is located near the main government building.

December 7, 2022 - Andrzej Pukszto

Momentum for change in the Romanian energy sector

With the start of Russia’s unprovoked military invasion of Ukraine, one of the main problems on the mind of every European became the insecurity and instability around energy supply. In a race to diversify their sources of supply, countries who are dependent on Russian energy began to explore options that had been previously avoided. As European countries struggle to cut ties with their unstable Eastern partner, Romania is increasingly seen as a future European energy hub.

December 5, 2022 - Alexandru Demianenco

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