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Brian Bennett on his Belarus Book, Sanctions and Talking to the Russians
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Belarus Digest continues to interview former ambassadors to Belarus on their work in Belarus.  Brian Bennett served as the ambassador to of the United Kingdom in 2003-2007. He recently published a book on the country "The Last Dictatorship...
14 May 2012
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Belarus Resists Privatisation of Large Enterprises

Lukashenka expressed on several occasions the hope that Russia would increase the volume of its subsidies to Belarus, taking into account that the West "wants to bend" him. Defence Minister Jury Zhadobin said that Russia should help through preferential supplies...

11 May 2012
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European Dialogue on Modernization: Last Chance to Reform Belarus?

Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka highlighted the need to modernise the Belarusian economy in his annual speech for the national Parliament on 8 May. These words coincide with a goal of the new EU project "Dialogue on Modernization for Belarus"....

2 May 2012
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EU Support, Modernisation and Russia’s Interests – Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Belarusians have become less interested in the pro-European vector of development as the influence of Russia in the country grows. Belarusian analysts hope that Stefen Fulle's European Dialogue on Modernisation with Belarus will soon become meaningful and that the...

27 April 2012
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Belarus Trapped Into Eurasian Integration

The Ambassadors of Poland, Lithuania and Sweden have returned to Minsk and their colleagues are on the way to the Belarusian capital. It seems that EU-Belarus relations have broken the deadlock, but they remain difficult and the EU has...

15 April 2012
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Political Prisoners in Belarus: How to Break the Vicious Circle

Former Belarusian presidential candidate Andrei Sannikov and his main campaign aide Dzmitry Bandarenka have been released from prison on the eve of the Christian Orthodox Easter. It looks like the first step in the de-escalation of the worst EU-Belarus...

10 April 2012
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Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz: The Need for Strategic Patience

Ambassador Kenneth Yalowitz served as the US ambassador to Belarus between 1994 and 1997. He arrived in Belarus a few months after Alexander Lukashenka was elected president and witnessed Belarus sliding from a relative democracy into authoritarianism. Ambassador Yalowitz...

8 April 2012
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Russia and the Travel Ban, EU Ambassadors Return, Political Prisoners – Politics and Civil Society Digest

​While Moscow has confirmed that those on the Belarus authorities' exit ban list will be unable to leave Russia either, official Minsk started to show willingness to release prisoners. It was also hinted that Belarusian Ambassadors to Brussels and...

24 March 2012
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A Letter to a European Friend – Digest of Belarusian Analytics

The Belarusian expert community vigorously debated three topics last week: the EU-Belarus diplomatic conflict, the deepening dependence of Belarus upon Russia and capital punishment. EU-Belarus Conflict A Letter to a European Friend – Siarhey Dubavets uses physics terminology to make the point that by pressuring a substance, one cannot destroy it, but rather push...

7 March 2012
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How Not to Be Cheated by Belarus Authorities

The incumbent Belarusian government has a long record of deceptive behaviour in its foreign relations. Both its major trading partners – Russia and the European Union – have more than once seen official Minsk let them down on its...

6 March 2012
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EU-Belarus Relations: Playing Hardball

EU travel ban against 21 Belarusian officials provoked extravagant behaviour by Belarusian authorities which analysts are still struggling to explain. On 28 February Belarus asked the Polish and EU delegation ambassadors to leave the country. The EU response was...

5 March 2012
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Military Cooperation for Sale

According to Tacciana Manionak, an independent energy expert, the Lukashenka regime will get $2.2bn in subsidies from Russia thanks to discounted natural gas prices in 2012 and at least $700m thanks to the refinement of Russian crude oil. Independent...

2 March 2012
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The Logic of Sanctions and Engagement

The recent pull-out of EU ambassadors from Minsk signals the deeply troubled relations between Belarus and the West. The amended and updated Belarus Democracy and Human Rights Act of 2011 that was signed by US President Barack Obama in...

20 February 2012
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Political Prisoners as Part of Belarus Electoral Process

Belarusian opposition activist Siarhei Kavalenka may soon die as a result of a 59-day hunger strike against his criminal prosecution. He and other 14 opposition and civil society activists remain in prisons for their political views. US and EU...

7 February 2012
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Russian Subsidies Are Not Enough: Belarus Seeks a New IMF Loan

Later this month Belarusian authorities plan to negotiate with the IMF a new $3.8bn loan to refinance its existing debt to the organization. With generous subsidies from Russia, the government managed to stabilize the situation in the Belarusian economy...