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Author: Veranika Laputska

The power of internet as a game changer for Belarusian protests

The Telegram platform and online news outlets have succeeded in covering the events of 2020 and 2021 very well and they were used to announce demonstrations during the peak of the protests. Thanks to them, the sense of unity and solidarity disseminated quickly among Belarusians inside the country and the diaspora abroad.

When the 2020 presidential election campaign launched in Belarus, the government authorities did not pay much attention to the enormous popularity of the online media, especially social media. Being confident in his “elegant victory” (this was the term used by the long-term head of the Belarusian Central Election Commission, Lidziya Yarmoshyna), Alyaksandr Lukashenka did not invest much effort on any inventive campaign tools. His campaign team mainly relied on the monopolised television and radio channels, and state financed newspapers.

September 12, 2021 - Veranika Laputska

Failed Expectations? Belarus and the Eastern Partnership

When compared with other members of the Eastern Partnership, Belarus appears to be at the back of the line in terms of projects and endeavours. Belarus has not signed any partnership or co-operation agreements and the last attempt to restart bilateral relations disappeared in October 2019 when Frederica Mogherini’s visit was postponed indefinitely. Perhaps the current political situation in Belarus will provide the EU with an opportunity to reassess its policy towards Belarus and Belarus’s place in the Eastern Partnership.

When the first Eastern Partnership (EaP) Summit took place in Prague in 2009, Belarus seemed to be demonstrating more hope than despair in terms of its internal and external political development. Another wave of western sanctions had just been mitigated and bilateral relations with one of the two major proponents and initiators of the Eastern Partnership – Poland – were reaching a new level of mutual trust and co-operation. Despite the fact that Belarusian president Alyaksandr Lukashenka did not come to Prague himself, unlike his colleagues from Armenia, Azerbaijan, Georgia and Ukraine (Moldova was also not represented by the head of state), Belarusian media portrayed the Eastern Partnership Initiative as a success of Belarusian diplomacy.

September 4, 2020 - Veranika Laputska

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