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Belarus – US Relations: Lukashenka No Longer Viewed as a Russian Puppet
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Following “peaceful” elections in Belarus, the United States sent two medium-level diplomats to Minsk on 4-5 November. Bridget Brink and Robert Berschinski came to reiterate America’s willingness to uphold the “virtuous cycle” in bilateral relations when one's positive steps...
2 November 2015
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Editorial: Why the EU Lifts Belarus Sanctions

On Saturday the suspension of most European Union targeted sanctions against Belarus came into effect. The sanctions were suspended ​“in response to the release of all Belarusian political prisoners on 22 August and in the context of improving EU-Belarus relations”....

27 October 2015
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Vote Counting and Election Assessment by Observers – Belarus Presidential Election Digest

Belarus held presidential election between 6 and 11 October 2015. Almost seven million voters were eligible to cast ballots at 6,129 polling stations during the five day early voting period and election day on 11 October. This update summarises...

23 October 2015
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Peaceful Elections as a Foreign Policy Tool

In October, the Belarusian foreign ministry worked hard to use the presidential elections as a tool to strengthen the positive trend in relations between Belarus and the West. Foreign minister Vladimir Makei managed not to miss this second chance,...

21 October 2015
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Who Will Get Positions in the New Government: Conservatives or Reformists?

On 20 September, Alexander Lukashenka stated that he knew who was going to enter the new government. The previous government resigned, under Belarusian legislation, after Lukashenka's victory in the October presidential elections. The new composition of the government will expose...

20 October 2015
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Can Belarus Stick to Neutrality Despite Russian Pressure?

Last week, pro-government Russian experts and media launched a new series of attacks on the Belarusian government. Minsk, they insisted, is going the way of Yanukovych's Ukraine. Russian commentators agree on that regardless of their ideological colours. Be it the...

14 October 2015
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Editorial: Three Election Controversies

The 2015 presidential election in Belarus revealed three important controversies for the authorities, the opposition and the West. First, the Belarusian authorities want to look more democratic to the West without allowing any real changes inside the country. Second, the opposition...

11 October 2015
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Belarus Presidential Elections 2015 – Live Updates from Minsk

On 9 - 12 October, Belarus Digest provided live online coverage of the presidential elections in Belarus and international and domestic reactions to it. Below, we feature a collection of stories from international and Belarusian media, videos, pictures, and comments...

9 October 2015
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Early Voting: the Secret to a Successful Authoritarian Election?

The official date for Belarus’s presidential election is 11 October. But if past elections are any guide, every third Belarusian will vote during the so-called “early voting” period, between 6 and 10 October. In fact, 30 percent of Belarusians cast...

9 October 2015
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Opinion: Polls and the Belarusian Reality

​On 11 October, Belarusians go to the polls in the fourth election in Belarus since Aliaksandr Lukashenka was voted president in 1994. The current campaign shares many of the features of its predecessors. As earlier, Western observers have focused...

7 October 2015
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Belarus Presidential Elections: Will They Actually Count the Votes?

On 11 October, Belarus will hold presidential elections. The Belarusian authorities try to create an image of democratic elections at a time when Alexander Lukashenka looks weak due to the economic recession. Realistically no one expects a fair vote count....

5 October 2015
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Lukashenka Defends Futile Causes, Showcases Young Son at the UN

Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka went to New York on 26–29 September to attend the world leaders' meetings at the United Nations. The country’s servile state-run media stubbornly called his trip a “working visit to the United States”. Meanwhile, the sojourn...

17 September 2015
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A Cautious Reset of Belarus-EU Relations in the Making?

On 9 September the EU High Commissioner for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini stated that the EU should "not to miss a new window of opportunity" in relations with Belarus after Alexander Lukashenka's decision to pardon six remaining political prisoners. Although...

9 September 2015
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Opinion: Russia’s Troublesome Ally

Belarus’ strained relationship with Russia illustrates the contradictory relationship between its leadership and that in Moscow during the presidential election campaign. The problematic areas include the war in Ukraine and the closely related issue of collaboration in the military-industrial complex. In...

4 September 2015
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Belarusian Combatants in Ukraine: Heroes or Criminals?

On 29 August, Ales Charkashyn, a member of tactical volunteer group Belarus Fighting in Donbas, died from combat wounds. This is the first known death of a Belarusian citizen fighting on the Ukrainian side. No Ukrainian diplomats attended Charkashyn’s funeral...