- Siarhei Bohdan is a senior analyst of Ostrogorski Centre. He is an alumnus of the Belarus State University and European Humanities University in Lithuania. In 1999-2011, he worked with Nasha Niva, a Belarusian independent weekly. He is working on his PhD thesis at the Free University of Berlin. Siarhei comes from Maladechna, Belarus.
On 16 February, Dmitry Peskov, Vladimir Putin's press secretary, announced that the Kremlin does not plan to introduce a visa regime with Belarus. His statement comes in a context of increasingly harsh measures on behalf of Moscow towards Belarus over the past half year, beginning when Russia decided to partially reinstate its border with Belarus, which had been abolished in 1995.
On 31 October, several years after imports of non-Russian oil into Belarus ceased, the first cargo train carrying Azerbaijani oil reached a refinery in the Belarusian city of Mazyr.
Although the Belarusian government has so far imported only a limited amount of alternative oil, Minsk has nevertheless demonstrated to other nations that this is possible. This has changed the geopolitics...
On 13 October Belarusian border guards received EU-funded special equipment worth €2.5m. This will help Minsk control the Ukrainian border. There is an element of irony in this: although it works to remove borders within the EU, Brussels is helping to construct them in the rest of Europe.
If Belarus succeeds in...
Ostrogorski Centre releases the first major publication on neutrality in Belarusian foreign and national security policy authored by Siarhei Bohdan and Gumer Isaev.
This trend towards a real neutrality of Belarus increased in the past decade. For a long time it was misinterpreted as Minsk opportunistically moving back and forth between Moscow and the West. Yet by the mid-2010s, these...
On 14 October, Belarus became the chair of the Collective Security Treaty Organisation (CSTO). Taking over the chairmanship, Alexander Lukashenka stated that the CSTO needs to become “serious” in order to force the West to finally recognise the Russian-dominated organisation.
On the surface, Lukashenka promises to help bring about Moscow's dream of making the CSTO...
On 1 October the investigative platform Bellingcat reported that Russia has withdrawn its fighter jets from Belarus. After analysing satellite images, it found no Russian planes on the Baranavichy airbase. Bellingcat also found that they had not been redeployed to any other airfield in Belarus.
This report clarifies why Russia has finally agreed to sell Minsk new fighter jets...
On 26 September Belarusian defence minister Andrei Raukou met with Azerbaijani president Ilham Aliyev. Given the current security concerns of Baku, it's possible that Belarus may have rushed to offer it some means to help neutralise the Iskander missiles recently acquired by Azerbaijan's nemesis, Armenia.
Can Azerbaijan get systems from Belarus similar to those acquired...
On 22 August the Belarusian the defence ministry announced the purchase of trainer and light ground-attack aircraft and transport helicopters to modernise its Air Force. At first glance this unimpressive deal seems to contradict Minsk's recently announced ambitious plans to develop strategic deterrence capacities.
Belarus's military equipment procurement policy, however, is less...
On 11 August, the State Military Industrial Committee of Belarus announced that in the first half of this year its defence enterprises earned a net profit of $80m, thus over-fulfilling the assigned export plans by a quarter.
Foreign media have recently reported that new Belarusian military equipment or equipment modernised in Belarus is being used by the Turkmenistani and Kazakhstani...
Minsk wants to maintain its own position in the latest confrontation between NATO and Russia in the region. Various Belarusian officials state that they see no immediate threat to Belarus from NATO, but rather from a possible internal conflict like those that occurred in Ukraine and Arab countries.
The Belarusian government is more preoccupied with bringing the Ukrainian border under...
As NATO started to construct its European missile defence system, Moscow on 16 May held talks with Minsk on its planned response. “We have an identical approach to the missile defence system,” insisted Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. His government reportedly wants to deploy its missile units next to the system facilities, also in Belarus.
Yet Minsk is resisting...
On 25 April, Belarus ' State Military Industrial Committee announced that in the first quarter of 2016 its defence industrial enterprises had increased exports by 31 per cent compared to the previous year. Their net profit grew even more, by 1.6 times.
Remarkably, the Belarusian defence industry has succeeded even while Moscow continues its policy of restricting access to Russian...
On 14-15 April Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka took part in the Istanbul summit of the Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC).
This trip triggered another wave of derisory criticism in the Russian media. Even Kommersant, the liberal Russian daily, wrote about the 'demonstrative rapprochement of Ankara and Minsk' against the backdrop of deteriorating...
On 6 April Moscow declared that the agreement on establishment of a Single Air Defence System of Belarus and Russia had been implemented.
That announcement downplayed the contradictory situation around military cooperation between the two countries and the question of Belarus' international balancing.
First, the air defence agreement itself brings little new. It mostly...
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