03 May 2017
Belarus’s recent regression in the human rights field has failed to visibly affect the intensity of its contacts with Europe. However, European governments seem to have taken note of the criticism they received for their initially meek reaction and have been voicing their concerns both publicly and (more often) privately.
Lukashenka’s ‘indiscriminate and inappropriate...
29 March 2017
Ever since it released important political prisoners in August 2015, the Belarusian government has rarely resorted to outright violence against dissidents. This paradigm shift facilitated the removal or suspension of most Western sanctions against Belarus. The parties were able to move from confrontational rhetoric to positive dialogue.
The Belarusian authorities’ resolute return...
27 March 2017
Following the violent suppression of peaceful political protests in Belarus, many policy-makers Western capitals are at a loss. Should they re-impose sanctions? Ignore human rights violations for geopolitical concerns?
To resolve this quagmire, it is important to understand why the Belarusian authorities have resorted to violence.
Why are Belarusian authorities overreacting?...
10 March 2017
Recent statements by Belarusian officials have confirmed that the country's citizens should not expect a more liberal visa regime with Europe in the foreseeable future. Belarus's decision to introduce a conditional visa-free regime for nationals of eighty countries, many of them European, does not mean Europe has to reciprocate.
Georgia and Ukraine, Belarus’s fellow...
12 September 2016
Two representatives of the opposition and civil society will end up in the newly-appointed Belarusian Parliament.
This reflects not the true level of support of the opposition, but rather Aleksander Lukashenka’s willingness to demonstrate good will to the European Union. The West, however, should not get too excited about this progress.
Belarusian authorities have made...
- 16 August 2016
12 July 2016
In June the Investigatory Committee of Belarus confirmed that Eduard Paĺčys, the editor of the website 1863x.com, was extradited from Russia and is undergoing criminal investigation.
The website was known for its critical position towards Russian and Belarusian authorities, and its author had remained anonymous until his arrest.
Political activists have already recognised him as...
07 July 2016
The parliamentary election campaign has begun in Belarus.
There was little protest during the 2015 presidential elections. Elections are not elections as such, but became more a self-appointment of Lukashenka through an electoral façade. Yet the elections were peaceful and the opposition called for concord during the elections.
Peaceful elections and a democratic fa...
26 May 2016
Recently Belarus was considered a relative success story of the Eastern Partnership – no territorial disputes, no broken promises, only gradual positive dynamic in relations with the European Union (EU).
However, the intensity of Belarus-EU cooperation seems to have reached its limits. The lack of further progress in the human rights arena and dubious plans of Belarusians...
23 May 2016
After the 2015 October presidential elections Belarus gears up for a parliamentary one on September 11 with little expectations of democratic improvement.
Albeit authoritarian, Belarus is both a functional state and society. The EU is learning to live with this reality due to tensions in its Eastern neighbourhood, the fact that it has no reliable political allies within Belarus, and...
25 February 2016
Federika Mogherini, the EU's chief diplomat, has denied that Brussels lifted sanctions against Belarus on geopolitical grounds. Anonymously, EU officials, on the contrary, have confirmed that the decision embodied the victory of pragmatism in Brussels.
For the EU, democracy in Belarus has become less important than maintaining sustainable relations with the country. On the other...
04 December 2015
The economy of Belarus shows a long-term negative trend. The need for structural reforms looks obvious even within the elite, and this need for structural reforms is desired especially by international creditors. In the political and military realm, Minsk struggles with Russia's attempts to influence it.
As Alieś Aliachnovič...