17 February 2017
From January to early February 2016, Belarus and Lithuania drifted further apart as their diplomats exchanged tart-tongued statements over the safety of the Astraviec NPP and Belarus’s sovereignty. Alexander Lukashenka, who remains unwelcome in the EU, travelled to more sympathetic Egypt and Sudan.
The Belarusian authorities continued with their efforts to restore the...
13 February 2017
On 23 – 26 January 2017 a Baltic security wargaming simulation took place in Warsaw. Two defence and security think tanks, the Potomac Foundation and the Casimir Pulaski Foundation, hosted the event.
The wargaming initiative focused on the scenario of a Russia-NATO conflict and analysed the nature of the Russian military threat to the Baltic States and Poland. As a result Belarus...
03 February 2017
On 3 January 2017, The Eurasian Development Bank announced that Belarus is the only economy among CIS countries with a forecasted GDP decline in 2017.
Meantime, the biggest problem of 2016 remains unresolved – on 28 January 2017, the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Arkady Dvorkovich once again raised the bill for Belarus's supposed oil-gas debt.
In this light, the...
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...
03 January 2017
As of 26 December 2016, the oil and gas dispute between Belarus and Russia remains unresolved.
Moreover, Russia persistently rejects any tradeoffs: this deprives Belarus of a substantial part its foreign exchange earnings from petroleum product sales, thus aggravating the economic recession in Belarus.
In turn, the growth of state debt points to the formation of stable insolvency...
01 December 2016
On 26 November Belarusian Deputy Prime Minister Vladimir Semashko announced that the recession in the Belarusian manufacturing sector has ended.
However, Belarusian banks strongly disagree with this statement. They yearn for more financially stable corporate borrowers, especially in the industrial sector.
Meantime, oil refining – currently the mainstay of Belarusian...
24 November 2016
On 15 November, at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, the Belarusian delegation voted against a draft resolution tabled by Ukraine on the human rights situation in Crimea.
This vote, along with Belarus’s failed attempt to adjourn debate on all country-specific texts, was perceived as a trick to torpedo Ukraine’s initiative and has angered many in Belarus and...
03 November 2016
With the summer holiday period finally over, Belarusian diplomacy has gone into overdrive.
In September – October, Belarusian officials spoke with representatives of over thirty nations, ranging from deputy foreign ministers to heads of state. Poland has transformed from being Belarus's staunchest critic to its main advocate in Europe.
The search for new export and...
02 November 2016
On 17 October 2016, new macroeconomic data from Belstat, Belarus's national statistical committee, indicated that this year's economic decline seems to have finally halted. The GDP stopped falling and foreign trade saw a slight revival.
However, on 21 September the IMF warned the Belarusian authorities about new threats to macroeconomic stability, namely the high level of bad...
20 October 2016
Belarus and Poland are moving closer towards a rapprochement, with Belarusian foreign minister Vladimir Makei paying a working visit to Warsaw on 10 October.
His Polish counterpart, Witold Waszczykowski, seems to have a personal affinity for Makei; Waszczykowski trusts that President Alexander Lukashenka’s intentions to mend bilateral ties between Minsk and Warsaw are sincere....
04 October 2016
At the UN General Assembly session in New York in late September, foreign minister Vladimir Makei and his deputy Valentin Rybakov worked to promote Belarus’s geopolitical philosophy alongside a few more concrete priorities.
The priorities included broader access to UN development assistance, protection of traditional family values, nuclear disarmament and development of trade...
03 October 2016
On 14 September 2016 First Deputy Prime Minister of Belarus Vladimir Semashka announced that negotiations on oil and gas relations between the Belarusian authorities and Russia's main economic players had failed.
Meanwhile, the oil crisis has cast further uncertainty on how long Belarus' economic recession will continue and whether the execution of the state budget for 2017 will...