Belarus as a “Failed State”? - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Siarhei Dubavets

Belarusian analysts discuss the implications of the economic crises in Belarus which shakes the foundations of the Belarusian regime. Other topics include the trial of April 11 terrorist suspects and the need for dialogue between the West and Belarusian authorities. 

The Konovalov-Kovalev trial will change public opinion on the death penalty - Publicist Siarhei Dubavets believes that the trial on the blast in the Minsk metro makes Belarusian society focus on the topic of death as something specific and personal. In circumstances when trust of governmental institutions, including courts, has been steadily decreasing, public opinion can change, and Belarusians will no longer support the death penalty.

Will Belarus be a “failed state”? - Georgy Plaschynski concludes that the Belarusian model of the welfare state appeared not to be viable. Its resources are too scarce to maintain an autonomous existence, which drastically differ from its neighbors. So the new government would not only have to deal with the consolidation of democracy, but also to respond to urgent social challenges.

Belarus: rebuilding canceled? - analyst Paval Usau believes that what is happening in Belarus is only a prelude to a long and painful process of political and socio-economic transformation. The authorities remain the dominant subject of the change. The opposition will, as always, remain a passive spectator of the processes. Its activity is reduced to the construction of new coalitions, disputes about the "dialogue" with the regime, participation or nonparticipation in the upcoming parliamentary elections, etc. Nevertheless, Usov is sure that revolution in Belarus is inevitable: “The only question is what it will be – the “velvet” or “iron”.

Continued pressure or an attempt to dialogue? - Roger Potocki, Director of the European Division of the National Endowment for Democracy, answers questions from Radio Free Europe. Potocki believes that dialogue between the West and Belarusian authorities is necessary. But the West should apply continuous pressure in order to contribute to this dialogue and develop a very concrete criteria to restore closer relations or financial support for the regime.

Belarus: an archaic society in the XXI century - Yuri Pshennik states that crisis in Belarus will not be overcome without real change. So it’s time to start and carry out structural reforms in the country, because measures such as devaluations or upgrading enterprises and even foreign borrowing will not save the country, but only prolong its agony.

Seventh issue of the BISS Trends - The Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) presented the seventh issue of BISS Trends - a quarterly monitoring of Belarus’s political, social and economic development. The resume is the following: the summer has failed to bring any good news, save for the pardon of some political prisoners. Nevertheless, there are prerequisites for normalization of the following trends: political liberalization and democratization, economic liberalization and geopolitical development in the next three months. Changes for the better are desparately needed due to the catastrophic economic situation in the country.

BISS: Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index №3 - a new issue of Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index covers all three summer months and analyzes five foreign policy vectors. The authors note that despite the traditional vacation season in the country, the foreign activity of Belarus was quite vigorous: the Customs Union started operating in full swing; the first steps were made towards a normalization of relations with the EU; an informal summit of the CSTO was held to address the future of the Collective Fast Response Forces. On the whole, relations in the framework of the foreign policy vectors that BISS analyzes have changed insignificantly. Nonetheless, there are serious prerequisites for changes in the first months of autumn.

What guarantees freedom of associations in Belarus? - Ulad Vialichka (EuroBelarus), Alena Tankachova (Center for Legal Transformation), Yury Chavusau (the NGO Assembly), and Volha Smalyanka (Center for Legal Transformation) discuss the conditions - the "road map" - for the promotion of the legal and political guarantees of freedom of association in Belarus. In addition, Alena Tonkacheva notes that today a third sector has the "political voice" to articulate the demands of civil society at the level of European institutions, which in their turn could send the demands back to Belarusian officials.

What education are Belarusians in need of? Dzmitry Karpievich, the representative of the organizing committee of the Week of Informal Education and Head of the Association of Long Life Education, states that the offer of educational programs for adults continues to be concentrated mainly in Minsk. However, the main problem is an undeveloped culture of life-long education in Belarus so there is no demand for education that is not directly related to professional development that could enhance the competitiveness of a person in the labor market. Karpievich is sure that NGOs are ready to meet the demand for high quality training programs, but difficult framework conditions do not allow them to develop.

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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