Forget Lukashenka – Remember Belarus - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Andrei Dmitriev

Over the last two weeks, Belarusian analysts devote much attention to Belarus-EU relations. A major Amnesty International report on Belarus came out. Analysts discuss privatisation and female politicians in the country. 

Forget Lukashenka - Remember Belarus – politician Andrei Dmitriev names Lukashenka a politician of the past and offers to stop using the legacy code "Lukashenka" - and start to create and use the new code: "We and Our country". Dmitriev calls to join the discourse of the new majority - the work on the national agenda of change which provides a social agreement about the changes, where the main principle is "not Who instead, but How after."

What is not Permitted is Prohibited: Silencing Civil Society in Belarus – Amnesty International’s report analyses the legislation governing freedom of peaceful assembly and association and documents violations of these rights faced by human rights defenders, trade unions, environmental campaigners and sexual minorities individuals. The report shows how the authorities in Belarus regularly deny the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly, association and expression, preventing people from speaking out in public, holding demonstrations or setting up civil organisations.

BISS Political Media Barometer #3 – BISS presents its report for October – December 2012 and offers the analysis of political media following the 2012 parliamentary campaign period in Belarus. The report notes growing differences between the forces inside and outside of Belarus.  The main topic of communication of those actors/forces outside of Belarus are repressions while those in Belarus focused on social sphere and internal questions of political parties. Meanwhile, media pay much more attention to stories of repression and political conflict.

What Do Belarusians think? - A video capturing the most interesting moments of the discussion What Do Belarusians Think? is available online. The discussion took place on April 12, in Vilnius, and focused at the newest results of national public opinion polls carried out by Belarus’ leading pollsters and analysts. The event was organized by the Eastern European Studies Center (EESC, Lithuania) and the Belarus Research Council (BRC).

PR1MUS: Yaraslaa Ramanchuk (audio) – Yaraslau Ramanchuk, head of Mises Research and Analysis Centre, sums up the development of the Belarusian economy for the first three months, analyses the two long-running privatisation deals - MTS and MAZ and argues that now the Belarusian government is carried away by the stimulation of the economy and just forgot the future.

Female Politician: Reality or Nonsense? – Tatiana Schurko notes that in the modern world, despite the declarative statements on gender equality, women are still faced with the barriers that hinder their promotion into the political sphere. Government leaders and all active women in politics are still not so much that connected with gender stereotypes and prejudices. The expert presents the history of women's political rights, gives the actual statistics of women in governance, and describes the stereotypes that exist in Belarus in this field.

Belarus-EU Relations 

The Holly War for a Water-Pump Station: Notes to the Latest Events – Andrei Yahorau, Centre for European Transformation, appeals to the recent conflict among the political members of the opposition when Alexander Milinkevich and Andrei Sannikau expressed different points of view if the EU should have a dialogue with the official Minsk. The expert considers the conflict "the highest point of absurdity" because the opposition was left aside the dialogue between the EU and Minsk long ago. Until the political opposition is in state of disorganisation and only gives useful pieces of advice, nobody will take it seriously, Yahorau summarises.

Three Levels of Misunderstanding – Uladzimir Matskevich, the head of International Consortium EuroBelarus, suggests his vision of the situation why the discussion of Belarus-Europe dialogue permanently provoke sharp conflicts within Belarusian political opposition. The analyst singles out three types of incomprehension: the level of ordinary people who are not initiated into the subtlety of international politics; the political level, when professionals don’t understand the essence of dialogue; and finally, the level of intraoppositional competition and struggle when every leader tries to get in the mainstream of European politics.

Prospects for EU Policy Towards Belarus During the Presidency of Lithuania – Kinga Dudzińska and Anna Maria Dyner, the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM), note an intensification of political and economic relations between Lithuania and Belarus and expect that Lithuania will use its presidency of the EU Council to resume a dialogue with the Belarusian authorities. The experts consider that this would be a great success for Lithuanian diplomacy.

Analysis of EU Instruments for the Development of Civil Society in Belarus – experts of Centre for European Transformation (CET) prepared working papers that analyze two thematic EU instruments – European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) and Non-State Actors and Local Authorities (NSA-LA). The papers consider the priorities of EU instruments and draw some conclusions on their capacity in the Belarusian context. The papers are a part of the CET study aimed to analyse effectiveness of EU programs for the development of civil society and democracy in Belarus.

Traps and Opportunities of the European Policy towards Belarus – Whether there is a shift in the EU dialogue with the official Minsk? What are the reasons of this shift, what are traps and possibilities there; what is the role in the process of civil society? Radio Svaboda discusses the mentioned issues with Pavol Demes, German Marshall Fund, Kamil Klysinsky, Polish Center for Eastern Studies, and Kirill Koktysh, the Moscow State Institute of International Relations.

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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