Moscow Behind Us And Before Us - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

The fresh conflict between the EU and Belarus kept the analytical community busy and organised civil society. Experts also analysed why Belarusian authorities prefer to be pro-Russian and whether the EU has any leverage against Belarusian authorities.

Moscow Behind Us! And Before Us - political analyst Andrei Fedorov talks about the possible actions of Russia towards Belarus after the recent Russian presidential elections. Expert notes that the Belarusian government chooses economic subordination to Moscow as a lesser evil compared to the highly probable collapse of the economy. Fedorov warns that the officials in Minsk should take into account that this option certainly will lead to further significant limitations of its political power.

We have Already Passed The Point of No Return in the Relationship with the EU – Piotr Martsau, editor-in-chief of Belorusskaya Delovaya Gazeta, answers on questions of European Radio for Belarus: Why the West trusts neither the Belarusian government nor the opposition, Why EU’s position does not satisfy him, and What Lukashenka is waiting for.

Discussion - responding to the recent diplomatic conflict between Belarus and the EU, TUT.by initiated a debate on the causes of conflict and its further development. The debate participants are Foreign Ministry spokesman Andrei Savinykh, political observer Alexander Klaskovsky, political analyst Vadim Gigin, and BISS academic director Alexei Pikulik.

Conflict with the EU: Lost in Translation – BISS analysts Alexei Pikulik and Dzianis Melyantsou analyse the causes of the diplomatic crisis and the possible steps and the limits of the escalation of the political EU-Belarus conflict. In their opinion, the parties must refrain from further actions that could result in conflict escalation, and to develop a clear and understandable road map for resolving the conflict.

Isolation and Engagement

For the Country or Against Lukashenka Yury Zisser publishes a short opinion, in which he suggests that notions “for the country” and “against Lukashenka” are mixed. He further elaborates that those against Lukashenko view events from the position of whether they are beneficial for Lukashenko, as they only care about vengeance against him disregarding the country and the people. The author opines that it would be more appropriate to assess events in terms of their benefit for the country, the people, the economy etc. The opinion resulted in the a range of comments from readers available in the corresponding section.    

Alexei Pikulik: Opportunities of EU Influence on the Situation in Belarus are Limited BISS Academic Director Alexei Pikulik in his interview to n-europe tells about EU sanctions against Belarus, and future strategies of electoral campaigns. In particular, the expert considers the ineffective policy of EU sanctions with regards to Belarus and offers to return to the «Realpolitik» - "to recreate the missing arm through the expansion of contacts, creating strong links both within civil society and opposition, and among the bureaucracy."

Elections and opposition

Emergency Election Commission – Alexei Medvetsky notes that the September parliamentary elections will be much more democratic than any of the three previous campaigns. The intrigue of the elections-2012 lies in the fact that only part of the existing MPs will be able to pass into the narrow framework articulated by the president of the 25 percent quota. The intrigue is complicated by the fact that this time the elections will be under a particularly close scrutiny of the KGB.

Waiting for the Thaw: Prospects for the Consolidation of Opposition – political analyst Yuri Chausov notes that the current political system in Belarus reserves for the political opposition only a role of a media construct. Aware of this situation, the political opposition should build their tactics based on achievable goals within the big game of real political actors. These goals can be either increased the survival of oppositional structures, or perhaps their transformation from a policy object into a subject, going beyond what is usually called "oppositional ghetto."

Unions and Media 

Are the Independent Democratic Trade Unions of Belarus the Engine of Social Reforms? Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC) presents its newest study on the present situation in the democratic trade union movement of Belarus. It outlines the ways to achieve the most efficient use of the potential of trade unions in the formation of public opinion of the country. The target group of the given public opinion survey are the members and leaders of the independent democratic trade unions of Belarus as well as the members of other NGO's created under them.

ByNet: Everyone Plays for Themselves – Blogger Ales Gorskiy discusses the situation in Belarusian independent online media, and suggests that some of the most popular independent media resources lack objectivity, practise censorship and engage in propaganda similar to government media. He concludes that current opposition media would lose popularity if a new resource, free from censorship and propaganda, appeared in Belarus. First reaction to the article is already available from Svetlana Kalinkina. 

Hymns of Hate – journalist Svetlana Kalinkina tries to answer the question why the Belarusian propaganda persistently attacks Poland. She comes to the conclusion that Poland is the only country in Europe which is trying to engage Belarus in the European Union, which contradicts the current geopolitical priorities of the Belarusian authorities.

No answers. Why I hate the Internet – In the TUT.BY studio Viktor Martinovich and Victor Malishevskiy reflect on the issues, if the Internet is an area of freedom or a "zombie box", a tool of unification or separation of people, and how to make the Internet "smarter" and "kinder".

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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