Office for a Democratic Belarus: where Belarus and Brussels meet.

Policy Briefs

26 Jun 2014 - 19:26

On 24 June Aliaksandr Lukashenka, on a visit to defence industry enterprises in Barysau, said that his personal major priority is maintaining the security of the state.

The Ukrainian crisis demonstrated that a state can preserve military security only if it has effective defence against informational threats.

However, in this area of national security Belarus seems virtually helpless against the deep penetration of Russian state propaganda into Belarusian media space.

Liberalising the media with an emphasis on promoting its national interests and identity may have at one time been the most feasible path to improve the situation. But the authorities fear the risks of changing the political status quo and avoid any reforms.

5 Jun 2014 - 14:29

By Vadzim Smok

On 20 May Aliaksandr Lukashenka gave an interview to independent Russian TV Rain, a station known for being critical of the Putin regime. The interviewer was Ksenia Sobchak, previously a well-known socialite and now opposition activist. Lukashenka demonstrated his independence of mind on the events that had been unfolding in the region. He criticised Russia for the Ukrainian turmoil and revealed some of his secret relations with big names like Berezovsky and Saakashvili.

3 Jun 2014 - 10:10

By Igar Gubarevich

Belarus has asserted its displeasure with Russia's new 'Russian world' policy while maintaining its solidarity with Ukraine. All of this unfolded against a background of strengthening ties with "New Europe".
The Foreign Ministry has resorted to Soviet-style meetings as a tool to promote Belarusian exports. While lacking any real leverage on the nation's foreign trade figures, diplomats have to obey Lukashenka's direct instructions.   President Alexander Lukashenka sent an official greeting to Petro Poroshenko, Ukraine's president-elect. In the absence of a similar step from Russia, this gesture proves Belarus' intention to work with the new Ukrainian authorities.

28 May 2014 - 12:40

By Yauheni Preiherman

On 25 May the final game between the teams of Russia and Finland brought the Ice Hockey World Cup in Minsk to an end. The biggest international event in Belarus’ sovereign history lasted for 17 days and turned Minsk into a different place. The normally calm and strictly disciplined city became one big party. The inflow of tourists created an aura of internationalism that blended and mixed in its own unique way with various local peculiarities. As a result, the colourful celebrations and record-breaking attendance of the matches went hand-in-hand with such egregious things as preventive arrests of opposition activists and a prohibition on selling imported beer. One of the most notable moments came at the end. The final night of the tournament saw an invasion of Minsk by Russian fans, which caused mixed feelings among the city’s inhabitants.

26 May 2014 - 12:48

The Belarusian authorities are preparing to counter by military means any possible attempts to destabilise the situation in Belarus under the scenario deployed in Eastern Ukraine.

The Belarusian Ministry of Interior plans to make the fight against drug trafficking more efficient and initiate tougher punishments for drug dealers.

The Belarusian authorities seek to use the crisis in Ukraine to elevate their own importance as the Kremlin's partner… and to put a little money in the bank while they are at it. Will they succeed?

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