A Containing Ally: Belarus’ Regional Role in the Context of the New Containment

Study by Yury Tsarik, GR-Director of Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies in Belarus, Minsk.

This paper is the result of the Think Visegrad Fellowship program, hosted by the Institute of Foreign Affairs and Trade (Hungary) in June-July of 2016.

The fallout of the Ukraine crisis has dramatically transformed the security and the wider international landscape in Central and Eastern Europe. A major confrontation between Russia and the Western countries made a number of institutional and strategic frameworks that had been in place before 2014 irrelevant.

Belarus has been one of the most active actors in this more dynamic environment since early 2014. The developments of 2014 and 2015 posed new threats and challenges to the country’s security, but also presented a number of strategic opportunities. Belarus’ agility in taking those opportunities led to a major transformation of its status and posture. The country being continuously dubbed “the last dictatorship of Europe” and viewed as nothing more than a satellite of Russia turned into a major negotiations venue for the Ukraine crisis, enjoyed the lift of EU’s sanctions and the freeze of US sanctions, has become increasingly considered as a reliable EU and NATO partner in the new security environment. Belarus’ authorities described the country’s new strategic role as “a donor of regional security and stability”.

Download the complete paper here.