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...
26 February 2016
The diplomatic exchange between Belarus and Europe got into full swing in February. Over a dozen visits took place within a few weeks either side of the European Union's decision to abrogate its sanctions. Greater involvement of “old Europe” in direct dialogue with Minsk is becoming a noteworthy trend.
Belarusian diplomacy scored a big victory by prompting the EU to lift...
28 December 2015
Belarus’ relations with Europe have found a new lease of life after the suspension of the EU sanctions against Minsk. The EU’s intends to double its financial assistance to Belarus in 2016.
The removal of sanctions allowed Belarus’ foreign minister Vladimir Makei to visit Germany, a trend-setting country for Belarusian-European cooperation. A month later, Makei met all...
25 February 2015
Shortly after welcoming French and German leaders to Minsk, Alexander Lukashenka received EU emissaries from Riga and Brussels. He reassured Latvian foreign minister Edgars Rinkēvičs of Belarus' interest in getting closer to Europe, primarily due to its technologies and resources.
Minsk and Paris have stepped up their economic cooperation. Several top-level French corporations, such...
11 February 2015
The leaders of France, Germany, Russia and Ukraine agreed to hold peace talks in Minsk on Wednesday, 11 February, in an effort to avert a full-scale war in Ukraine.
The last German and French leaders to visit Minsk were Adolph Hitler in 1941 and Georges Pompidou in 1973. In the twenty years of Alexander Lukashenka's reign in Belarus, only two European leaders (Silvio Berlusconi and...
19 August 2013
Last week, the German Boell Foundation invited the German Belarusian community to a Belarusian evening in Berlin. This event was organised by participants of a summer school who gathered all those who are interested in or dealing with Belarus in Germany.
In times of difficult official relations, German foundations maintain contact with Belarus and often can go further than the official...
08 May 2012
Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenka frequently refers to the Second World War in his quarrels with the West. Lukashenka added to the Soviet Victory Day celebrated on 9 May another official holiday, 3 July, the day when the Red Army took Minsk in 1944. In 2003 the government introduced the History of the Great Patriotic War as an obligatory and separate subject not only in schools but...
01 December 2011
Last Friday, after months of uncertainty, Alyaksandr Lukashenka decisively moved to guarantee his political survival for the foreseeable future by signing a series of agreements with Russia. This was the sequel to Belarus's earlier entry into the Russian-led Eurasian Economic Union.
The agreements came as a disappointment to Western politicians who had speculated that the isolation...
22 May 2011
While the European Union is yet again considering using sticks against the Belarus regime, it is unclear what carrots it can offer. Lukashenka's opponents often point to the de-facto exclusion of Belarus from the Eastern Partnership after the post-election crackdown. The question is whether Eastern Partnership has ever been of any value for Minsk - economic or political.
- 31 December 2010