Sanctions Suspended, Belarusian Airlines, Warsaw Conference - Ostrogorski Centre Digest

Image: Polish Institute of International Affairs

In the past month, Belarus's authorities have continued to benefit from balancing between east and west.

The EU suspended sanctions against Belarus in response to the nonviolent presidential election, and in the east Belarus continues to enjoy the benefits of Russia-Ukraine tensions.

Igar Gubarevich analyzes the steps the foreign ministry took to use the presidential elections as a tool to strengthen the positive relations trend between Belarus and the West. In another article he shows how Belarus's national air carrier, Belavia​, tries to profit from the suspension of air traffic between Ukraine and Russia.

In his analysis of recent alcohol policies, Vadzim Smok shows that despite a huge problem with alcoholism in Belarus, the authorities seem unwilling to introduce consistent anti-alcohol measures. They effectively use it both as a tool to calm social discontent and a lucrative revenue source.

Comments for the Media

Ryhor Astapenia explains what the results of the Polish parliamentary elections mean to Belarus on TUT.by portal and Polish Radio. The new Polish government will focus on supporting the Polish minority in Belarus, but the financing for Belarusian civil society will remain at the same level.

French TV channel BFM Business highlights the article "Belarus and Russian Food Embargo: a Success Story" by Igar Gubarevich in its programme "La librairie de l'Eco". In the article Ihar Gubarevich explains that Belarus' success in becoming the primary beneficiary of the Russian food embargo has been a complex mixture of hard work, honest entrepreneurship and cunning scheming.

Ryhor Astapenia explains to Polish Radio divisions within the Belarusian nomenklatura. Although Soviet cadres loyal to Lukashenka will remain in the new government, he will need some reformists and well-educated people to balance the older generation.

Igar Gubarevich talks on Polish Radio about the foreign policy implications of the 2015 presidential elections in Belarus. The authorities offered to allow peaceful elections in exchange for some lifting of sanctions, and the west eventually accepted this compromise.

Igar Gubarevich published an article about the EU's decision to suspend sanctions against the Belarusian regime in Emerging Europe, a British online business portal. As the Belarusian government will seek the full withdrawal of sanctions, the European Union and the United States should use the current momentum to press the regime into implementing further measures of political and economic liberalisation, Igar suggests.

Ryhor Astapenia comments on the perspectives for economic reforms in Belarus for thinktanks.by web-site and Polish Radio. The authorities are unwilling to pursue reforms, yet if they wish to receive an IMF loan they will have to implement a number of them, the expert says.

The East Journal, an Italian publication focusing on Eastern Europe and Asia, quotes an article by Volha Charnysh. In the article Volha shows how authorities manipulate early voting to facilitate electoral fraud.

Belarus Profile

BelarusProfile.com database now includes the following personalities: Jury Šaŭcoŭ, Hleb Šymanovič, Aliaksej Lastoŭski, Arsień Sivicki, Aliaksandr Špakoŭski, Ivan Halavaty, Uladzimir Tracciakoŭ, Maksim Mirny, Anton Kušnir, Alhierd Bacharevič.

We have also updated the profiles of Sviatlana ​Alieksijevič, Aliaksandr Hura, Siarhiej Hajdukievič, Vadzim Hihin, Valiancin Holubieŭ, Siarhej Darafiejeŭ, Andrej Dzmitryjeŭ, Darja Domračava, Siarhej Dubkoŭ, Siarhej Dubaviec, Andrej Dyńko, Marat Žylinski, Uladzimir Zinoŭski, Valier Ivanoŭ, Andrej Kazakievič, Anatol Kalinin, Paviel Kalaur, Tacciana Karatkievič, Andrej Karol, Valier Karbalievič.

Belarus Policy

The Ostrogorski Centre continues to update the database of policy papers BelarusPolicy.com. The papers added this month include:

Other developments

Siarhei Bohdan, senior analyst at the Ostrogorski Centre, on 4 November 2015 spoke in Warsaw at the conference "25 Years of the Charter of Paris. How to Renew Commitment, Fulfil Expectations, and Revive the OSCE."

The high-level conference was organised by the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the German Federal Academy for Security Policy (BAKS) with the support of the Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the German Federal Foreign Office in Warsaw.

Other speakers included Grzegorz Schetyna, Štefan Füle, Michael Link, ambassadors and senior officials.

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