American and German Experts on How To Deal with Belarus - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Belarus discussion in Washington. Photo: Carnegie Endowment

Last month was rich in international events and analytical materials discussing the situation in Belarus. On 25-26 October Belarus was discussed on both sides of the Atlantic - at the US-Central Europe Forum in Prague and at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington, DC. In addition, David Kramer and Hans-Georg Wieck unveiled their visions of how to deal with Belarus. 

20 Years of Belarusian Independence: Current Challenges and Future Development - Balázs Jarábik, Matthew Rojansky and a number of other experts discussed popular attitudes towards the Lukashenka regime, Belarus’s economy, and Belarus’s relations with the United States, European Union, and Russia at a two-panel discussion in Washington D.C. hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace. 

Do’s and Don’t’s on Belarus – David J. Kramer, President of Freedom House, has formulated 10 things for the West to do in dealing with Belarus. Kramer is sure that "Lukashenka’s departure would free the people of Belarus from Europe’s last dictator and lead to positive engagement from Europe and the West" so Lukashenka’s demise should be facilitated via "ten things the West should do and ten it should avoid".The proposed measures focus primarily on isolation of the Belarusian regime and additional economic and political sanctions. 

German Association "Human Rights in Belarus" strategy report – the document focused on the situation in Belarus with recommendations for action by the European Union and its members. The unveiled  report outlined its vision of European policy towards Belarus. The Head of the Association is Hans-Georg Wieck, former head of the OSCE mission in Belarus. The main message of the report is broader engagement of Belarusians into Europe as a whole. Visa exemptions and reduction of visa fees, large-scale expansion of employment and educational opportunities for young Belarusians, are among the proposed measures. 

Recovery, planning, consolidation: the development of political parties between elections – political scientist Yury Chavusau notes that today Belarusian political parties are engaged in the intra-party and coalition processes, rather than a struggle for power. Sharp deterioration in economic conditions and increasing dissent in society became an unexpected challenge for all opposition parties. It seems that today the political parties can only articulate alternatives but not aggregate political interests.

Belarus and Eastern Partnership: Civil Society Catches Initiative – Larisa Doroshenko analyzes the results of the Conference of the National Platform of EaP CSF (Minsk, October 29). The expert draws attention to the debates inside the civil society about the possible politicization of the Platform. She sees them as an example of dialogue within civil society aimed at achieving solidarity through democratic tools.

Analysis of Law Amendments Initiated to Be Introduced in Belarus - Belarusian Human Rights Defenders – Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs, Legal Transformation Center, BHC, Human Rights Centre "Viasna" – developed an analytical note on analysis of amendments initiated to be introduced into a range of laws of the Republic of Belarus in autumn 2011. In particular, the following Draft Laws were researched: “On Amending Certain Laws of the Republic of Belarus”; “On Amending the Law ‘On Mass Events in the Republic of Belarus’”; and “On Amending the Law ‘On State Security Bodies in the Republic of Belarus’”.

Public councils in Belarus: legal regulation and practice – an analytical paper isbeing prepared by Legal Transformation Center and Assembly of Pro-Democratic NGOs. The paper is aimed at improving the institutional and legal regulation of public councils, which operate under government bodies at various levels. The conclusions and recommendations, contained in the note, are based on the complex political and legal studies, conducted in June-August 2011. The study includes a compilation and analysis of domestic and foreign practice of legal regulation of public councils (the analysis of legal acts) as well as a series of in-depth interviews with members of the public councils.

Roundtable: The judiciary and political repression – Garry Pogonyaylo (Belarusian Helsinki Committee), Elena Tonkacheva (Legal Transformation Center), and Oleg Ageev (former lawyer of the Minsk City Bar) discuss the possibility of Belarus' independent judiciary. Experts conclude that today the situation is developing in a direction opposite to strengthening judicial independence so it is nearly impossible for the judiciary to resist tyranny.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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