31 January 2017
In 2016, Belarusian diplomats succeeded in getting rid of most Western sanctions, improving the international legitimacy of the national parliament, regularising dialogue with Europe, and converting Poland from a strong critic into a good partner.
Nevertheless, they failed to make Lukashenka fully presentable to his peers in Europe, alienated Ukraine’s political elite, botched...
09 January 2017
While the governments of Belarus and Lithuania continue to clash over the construction of the Astraviec nuclear power plant, Lithuanian investors in Belarus are continuing to operate normally. Lithuanian businessmen became the largest Western investors in Belarus, adding more than €80 mln to the Belarusian economy in 2015.
Investments remain at a high level, although several...
06 December 2016
In November, the Belarusian president held meetings with leaders of Azerbaijan, Russia, Slovakia, Turkey, and a high-level EU delegation.
The Slovakian Prime Minister's visit to Minsk ended a six-year long hiatus in bilateral visits of European leaders to Minsk. Alexander Lukashenka now seems to be more comfortable meeting with European emissaries than with Vladimir Putin.
23 September 2016
The results of the parliamentary elections on 11 September surprised many in Belarus. Few believed that Lukashenka’s regime would allow independent deputies in parliament, but these elections have shown that the Belarusian authorities are at least willing to appear to change.
Although this does provide optimism, Belarus and the West still need to create a new agenda to ensure that...
02 September 2016
In July and August, Belarusian diplomats kept busy reinforcing ties with the country’s partners in Central and Eastern Europe. These relationships may prove to be instrumental in bolstering Belarus's foreign policy positions.
Foreign minister Vladimir Makei travelled to Kyiv in the midst of another flare-up in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. His deputy Alena Kupchyna...
11 July 2016
Working-level contacts between Belarus and the European Union are thriving. However, this has been the case for a few years now. Brussels apparently expects much more from Minsk in order to proceed to the highest-level of dialogue with Belarus.
In the eight months since the initial suspension and subsequent removal of EU sanctions, no European head of state has visited Belarus....
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...
05 May 2016
In April, Belarus and Europe continued re-establishing contact at different levels. Belarus welcomed the Bulgarian foreign minister and senior diplomats from Sweden and Bosnia and Herzegovina. At the institutional level, Minsk and Brussels inaugurated their new dialogue format, the Coordination Group.
Belarus’ economic interests prompted the government to call for stronger...
15 April 2016
Over the past month analysts discussed continuing rapprochement of Belarus with the West and potential Russia’s responses to it. Meanwhile, influenced by Russian propaganda, Belarusians favour Eurasian integration over European, although official Minsk finds its result unsatisfactory.
Belarusian opposition changes its strategy in relations with the authorities and plans to push...
08 April 2016
In recent weeks, Belarus managed to noticeably upgrade the level of its relations with EU countries. However, the ministerial-level meetings have been limited to Belarus’ long-time sympathisers in Europe (Hungary and Slovenia) as well as its closest neighbours (Poland).
The relations with the United States have maintained their positive dynamics but remained at the expert level....
24 March 2016
In 2015, real wages declined everywhere in Belarus save Minsk, according to recently-published data from the Belarusian Statistical Committee. This easily explains why so many Belarusians are moving from the regions to the capital.
The role of Minsk in the demography and economy of Belarus keeps growing, while the periphery is falling into depression. People there live worse and for...
27 January 2016
On 6 January, the Belarusian foreign ministry published an annual review of Belarus’ foreign policy (in Russian only). The document, in bureaucratic lingo, tediously reports on the ministry’s achievements and activities in 2015.
Belarus Digest offers its own subjective summary of Belarusian diplomats’ most...