EU Policy Towards Belarus Questioned - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Anais Marin

Western and Belarusian analysts discuss Europe's policy towards Belarus, the forthcoming parliamentary elections, transformation from  the populism relying on the masses safeguarding the interests of the narrow interests of the Belarusian ruling elite.

Anais Marin: I am Shocked by the Cynicism of the EU Towards Belarus – Why ordinary Belarusians are getting nothing from the European Union, and whether there is a common position of European officials on the "partnership"? Anais Marin, an expert of the Finnish Institute of International Relations working on Eastern Partnership gives her answers. She points that the EU only thinks about its own interests and that the European External Action Service are rather cynical about Belarus. The EU only keeps insisting on the political prisoners release without offering anything to the population of Belarus.

Controversy Over the Use and Effectiveness of EU Sanctions Towards Belarus – Giselle Bosse of Maastricht University briefly addresses the issue of the effectiveness of EU sanctions towards Belarus and raises a concern that controversy over their use may further split Belarusian opposition.  She notes that if the EU changes its policy at this point in time towards more engagement, it would most likely be criticised for being inconsistent (again), which it is determined to avoid. However, she urges to engage with Belarusians at the multilateral level through technical cooperation, and also in cross-border cooperation projects.

Mechanism of Revolutions through Social Networks – web portal publishes the findings of an international research group, which revealed certain mechanisms of joining of social networks’ users to mass protests. In particular, locomotive of protests is a living offline community with a common goal. The success of online protests (and further preservation of protest moods) could take place only in cases where dissatisfaction had an offline format and real people came out to the streets.

Heritage of Vitaly Silitski: Elections in authoritarian regimes - a farce or a chance for change? - "Tell the Truth" website reprints an article by Vitaly Silitski, written in 2001 before the Parliamentary elections. In particular, Vitaly Silitski wrote that "it is possible to win an authoritarian regime playing by its rules... though ... this possibility is extremely limited by the circumstances." If the opposition is unable to impose on the regime its own rules of the game, it may be the only option for change, although the possibility of its implementation is extremely limited circumstances. He concluded that brushing away the elections (in whatever circumstances they may be carried out) as a possible variant of the struggle for democratic change is just unwise.

Elections or boycott as a zugzwang for the opposition – BISS analysts Alexei Pikulik and Denis Melyantsou talk about the format of participation or non-participation of the opposition in parliamentary elections in September. Experts believe that both a boycott and participation in elections are not winning scenarios. They suggest that to the opposition to unite, develop a common strategy for the development of the country, and get support from civil society and independent media.

Belarusian Political Science Review – the first issue of English-language journal "Belarusian Political Science Review" attempts to present to the reader outside of Belarus the most important academic studies in Belarusian politics and related areas. The Institute of Political Studies "Political Sphere" established the journal. The first issue contains the texts on various concepts of political and national development of Belarus in different historical periods (Oleg Dernovich, Andrei Kazakevich, Alexei Lastousky,Siarhei Bohdan, Mikhail Nyadvetski, Denis Melyantsou, Andrei Yegorov, etc.).

Belarusian Authoritarianism: Between Populism and Modernization – political analyst Dmitry Kukhlej notes that in recent years the Belarusian regime is showing more signs of a qualitative transformation of the populism relying on the masses, to a bureaucracy that safeguards the interests of the narrow interests of the Belarusian elite. The expert believes that Lukashenka to maintain his personal power will continue to seek alternate vectors and foreign policy manoeuvre between East and West.

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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