Live: Ostrogorski Forum 2017. Belarus in the new environment: challenges to foreign policy, security, and identity after 2014
On 19 June 2017 the Ostrogorski Centre is holding a conference on the challenges to the Belarusian political and economic model in the new international environment, possible ways to prevent further deterioration and find solutions to major problems. The issue will be considered in the three aspects: foreign policy, security and identity.
The conference promotes the development of professional and respectful dialogue between experts with different political views. Each panel includes experts from both pro-government and independent community with journalists of leading Belarusian mass media as moderators.
The conference offers live broadcast. Videos from the conference will be spread among the stakeholders, including state bodies, media, and civil society organisations.
Agenda of the 2017 Ostrogorski Forum:
Panel 1. Normalisation of relations between Belarus and the West after 2010: problems and results
Valier Karbalievič, Analytical centre 'Strategy'
Andrej Liachovič, Centre for Political Analysis
Siarhiej Kizima, Academy of Public Administration under the President of Belarus
Panel 2. National security and defence policy of Belarus in the conditions of economic crisis and rising international tension: achievements and failures
Aliaksandr Špakoŭski, "Cytadel" project
Dzianis Mieljancoŭ, Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (tbc)
Aliaksandr Hielahajeŭ, independent military analyst
Panel 3. The official policy of identity after 2014: was there a ‘soft Belarusianisation'?
Vadzim Mažejka, Liberal Club
Andrej Dyńko, Naša Niva newspaper
Piotra Piatroŭski, Nomos Centre
Belarus extracts its own oil – Belarus photo digest
Many in Belarus took the recent discovery of new oil fields in the country as a joke: president Alexander Lukashenka had demanded earlier that the government start searching for its own black gold. According to experts, however, these deposits were already known.
It was only the complexity of extraction that had prevented the mining of these deposits before. However, officials now claim that Belarusian oil costs five times less than Russian oil, and extraction will be profitable even with world oil prices at $20 per barrel.
Belarus extracts around 1.6m tonnes of oil on its territory annually. This is a tiny amount compared to world oil production leaders. Russia, for example, produces roughly the same amount daily. The capacities of Belarusian refineries, meanwhile, require an additional 24m tonnes per year, which the country traditionally buys from Russia.
Processing Russian oil and the export of oil products has guaranteed economic stability for Lukashenka for almost two decades. Oil production exports make up around one third of Belarus’s exports, which makes the country vulnerable to global market fluctuations.
However, the Putin era brought regular oil and gas tensions, which forced Belarus to seek alternative supplies. Belarus even resorted to importing oil from Azerbaijan and Venezuela in 2010-2011 and 2016, as well as re-examining its own reserves.
About the photographer: Siarhei Leskiec is a freelance photographer whose work focuses on everyday life, folk traditions, and rituals in the Belarusian countryside. Originally from Maladzeczna Region, he received a history degree from the Belarusian State Pedagogical University.