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...
- 11 November 2015
02 November 2015
On Saturday the suspension of most European Union targeted sanctions against Belarus came into effect.
The sanctions were suspended “in response to the release of all Belarusian political prisoners on 22 August and in the context of improving EU-Belarus relations”. Ironically, the move comes a few weeks after the facade presidential election in October 2015.
14 October 2015
The 2015 presidential election in Belarus revealed three important controversies for the authorities, the opposition and the West.
First, the Belarusian authorities want to look more democratic to the West without allowing any real changes inside the country.
Second, the opposition has the difficulty of wanting to play a role in the political process in Belarus but at the same...
25 September 2015
Putin’s announcement of a Russian air base in Belarus dominated western media in September. Western media see the declaration as further support of Russian expansion.
Other significant news: The EU might lift sanctions after Lukashenka freed 6 political prisoners. A decision may lift Lukashenka’s travel ban and allow some Belarusian companies to trade with the EU.
17 September 2015
On 9 September the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini stated that the EU should "not to miss a new window of opportunity" in relations with Belarus after Alexander Lukashenka's decision to pardon six remaining political prisoners.
Although the West remains cautious, waiting for the outcome of the October presidential elections, this round of a...
24 August 2015
On 22 August, the state-run news agency Belta reported that “based on the principle of humanism” the President of Belarus decided to pardon and release from prison former presidential candidate Mikalaj Statkevich and five other opposition figures.
Lukashenka is trying to enter the same river twice - to repeat the ...
11 August 2015
Just as before the 2010 presidential elections the Belarusian authorities show certain signs of liberalisation. They do not use aggressive hostile propaganda on TV and have allowed the opposition to campaign without interference.
In addition, Alexander Lukashenka held a press-conference for three independent journalists, where he hinted on the possible release of the main political...
31 July 2015
On 13 July, the Council of the European Union once again removed restrictions against several Belarusian officials and entities subjected to an EU-wide travel ban and asset freeze.
That decision amended Belarus sanctions listings introduced after the failure of Belarus authorities to meet OSCE commitments to democratic elections in 2006 and 2010.
EU foreign ministers have already...
07 July 2015
Belarusian president Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s role as a mediator in the conflict in Ukraine has received high praise from European officials and partially ended the isolation of the republic. Recently the government has taken part in several high-level events, most notably the Eastern Partnership summit in Riga on 21-22 May.
But the potential impact of the collapse of the Minsk-2...
10 June 2015
This May, the Belarusian authorities increased pressure on a number of political prisoners, including former presidential candidate Mikalaj Statkievič, anarchist Mikalaj Dziadok and political activist Jury Rubcoŭ.
This move appears unreasonable when set against a backdrop of improving relations with the West, as the political prisoners issue has always been a major contributing factor...