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Belarus Without Sanctions: What Now?
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Federika Mogherini, the EU's chief diplomat, has denied that Brussels lifted sanctions against Belarus on geopolitical grounds. Anonymously, EU officials, on the contrary, have confirmed that the decision embodied the victory of pragmatism in Brussels. For the EU, democracy in...
4 December 2015
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2015 Annual Report, Russian Airbase, Economic Reforms – Ostrogorski Centre Digest

The economy of Belarus shows a long-term negative trend. The need for structural reforms looks obvious even within the elite, and this need for structural reforms is desired especially by international creditors. In the political and military realm, Minsk...

11 November 2015
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Sanctions Suspended, Belarusian Airlines, Warsaw Conference – Ostrogorski Centre Digest

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...

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”....

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...

25 September 2015
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EU considers Lifting Sanctions, Putin’s Proposed Airbase – Western Press Digest

Putin’s announcement of a Russian air base in Belarus dominated western media in September. Western media see the declaration as further support of Russian expansion. Other significant news: The EU might lift sanctions after Lukashenka freed 6 political prisoners. A...

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...

24 August 2015
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Humanism or Political Calculation: Why Did Lukashenka Pardon Political Prisoners?

On 22 August, the state-run news agency Belta reported that “based on the principle of humanism” the President of Belarus decided to pardon and release from prison former presidential candidate Mikalaj Statkevich and five other opposition figures. Lukashenka is trying...

11 August 2015
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What Stands behind Another “Liberalisation” in Belarus?

Just as before the 2010 presidential elections the Belarusian authorities show certain signs of liberalisation. They do not use aggressive hostile propaganda on TV and have allowed the opposition to campaign without interference. In addition, Alexander Lukashenka held a press-conference...

31 July 2015
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Belarus-EU Thaw: Will It Last This Time?

On 13 July, the Council of the European Union once again removed restrictions against several Belarusian officials and entities subjected to an EU-wide travel ban and asset freeze. That decision amended Belarus sanctions listings introduced after the failure of Belarus...

7 July 2015
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Failure of Minsk-2 and the Belarusian Presidential Election

Belarusian president Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s role as a mediator in the conflict in Ukraine has received high praise from European officials and partially ended the isolation of the republic. Recently the government has taken part in several high-level events, most...

10 June 2015
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Political Prisoners – No Longer a Sticking Point in Belarus-EU Relations?

This May, the Belarusian authorities increased pressure on a number of political prisoners, including former presidential candidate Mikalaj Statkievič, anarchist Mikalaj Dziadok and political activist Jury Rubcoŭ. This move appears unreasonable when set against a backdrop of improving relations with...

6 May 2015
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From Sanctions to Summits: Belarus after the Ukraine Crisis

Belarus is returning to the international spotlight, but for once, not just as the “last dictatorship in Europe”. The two summits that Minsk hosted in the past year on the conflict in east Ukraine indicate a tentative shift in...

28 April 2015
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Subbotnik With Top Officials, Opposition And The Presidential Elections – Belarus State TV Digest

Did the Americans dismantle the Soviet Union? Did Belarusians benefit from the fall of the Soviet Union at all? These are some of the topics discussed by guests on the “Delo Principa” talk show on state-run ONT TV. A recent...

3 March 2015
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Is Belarus Coming Out of Isolation?

On March 3, in Moscow, Russian president Vladimir Putin presented his Belarusian counterpart Aliaksandr Lukashenka with the Order of Aleksandr Nevsky award. Ostensibly it marked his work in international cooperation in the service of the Russian Federation, linked perhaps...