On 7 November 2020, the president of Belarus, Aleksander Lukashenko, visited the Astravyets Nuclear Power Plant (Astravyets NPP) and dubbed its pending commissioning a “historic moment” for Belarus.
This report is part of the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index (BTI) 2020. It covers
the period from February 1, 2017 to January 31, 2019. The BTI assesses the transformation
toward democracy and a market economy as well as the quality of governance in 137 countries.
Since 2015 Kremlin consistently has reconsidered the terms and conditions of the strategic deal, cutting the level of integration subsidies and requiring deeper political, military, and economic integration from Belarus.
As of May 1, 2020, and in contrast to other investigated countries in this report (China, Russia, Hungary, Iran), Belarus hasn’t experienced either a peak of the COVID-19 epidemic or even approached it. Although Belarusian authorities have managed to contain the spread of the epidemic at the first stage without introduction of a nation-wide quarantine effort, the worst consequences are yet to come since the peak of the epidemic is expected in the beginning of June.
Yuri Tsarik on the Belarusian leadership’s faults and the role of Russia in the country’s election.
After Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka rejected the Kremlin’s so-called integration ultimatum at the end of 2019, and following Russian President Vladimir Putin’s announced constitutional changes, the following January, to effectively reset his presidential term tally to zero, some experts argued that a forced unification scenario between Belarus and Russia within the Union State had become significantly less likely.
In response to Russia's efforts, Minsk seeks to reassert and enhance its commitments to regional and international security, while preserving and expanding Belarus’s strategic autonomy within the alliance with Russia.
The domestic agenda remains focused on the upcoming election campaigns, while the government approach is growing tougher. In its foreign policy, Belarus bets on diversification and finds common ground with long-standing opponents.
Part six in the series ‘Russian Media: Moscow and Beyond Calling’: Russia’s information influence on Belarus
Last month saw the launch of campaigns for MPs in both chambers of Belarusian parliament, and the country’s continued active interaction with its partners in the international arena.
Analysis by Yuri Tsarik and László Vasa
Yuri Tsarik on the Kremlin’s strategy for “deepening integration” with Belarus
Belarus wants to expand constructive dialogue with the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) on the basis of trust, equality, transparency and mutual respect.
Belarus further tightens control over its domestic political field. Without Russia’s support, the outlook for its economy is gloomy. Meanwhile, the standoff with Moscow switches from open to positional.
In December, the tensions of the past years in relations between Russia and Belarus entered a new stage growing into an open conflict. The Kremlin openly declared its ambitions of integrating Belarus. It conditioned discounts for oil and gas on deeper integration between Russia and Belarus within the Union State.
Despite recent concerns from some security analysts that a new Military Doctrine of the Union State of Russia and Belarus will include provisions for the establishment of a Russian military base on Belarusian soil...
Parliamentary and presidential election campaigns are about to start in Belarus, so the authorities continue to “tighten the screws” in the domestic political field and bank on new appointments to the key positions.
The entire country is gradually focusing on the upcoming presidential election. The entire government and bureaucracy, the 2019 budget, and even international relations are all being used to polish up Aliaksandr Lukashenka’s image.
Within the given period the relations between Belarus and Russia have become a source of mostly negative news.
Belarus and Russia have held a string of recent high level bilateral talks. What have they achieved for relations between the two allies at a time of lingering apprehension?
The trade wars with Russia and the Moscow’s desire to limit the use of the European raw materials which are “under sanctions” can cost Belarus not only profits but also the trust of the Western partners.
Russian actions toward Belarus since 2015 show that Moscow is no longer pursuing the “union deal” it had established with Minsk earlier and instead has placed its bets on the forced integration of its western neighbor into a Russian-dominated state, according to Arseny Sivitsky
Since the collapse of the USSR, Belarus has not been transformed into a market economy with well-developed and strong democratic institutions and civil society, in contrast to most of the eastern and central European states, including the Baltics
Belarus authorities began preparations for the presidential and parliamentary elections and tried to ease the protest mood with the financial methods. In foreign policy, the trend of balancing between Russian, European, and Chinese directions is still preserved.
The Republic of Belarus has been a full-fledged member of the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) since 30 January 1992
If you are going to travel to Poland and the Baltic States in your car in the first half of June, prepare to let pass the huge military columns of NATO technology. The “Saber Strike” exercise begins there — regular, but largest in its history in terms of the number of participants. In the military sense, maneuvers do not pose a threat to Belarus, but in the political sense, Moscow will certainly take advantage of them.
Arseny Sivitski, Director of Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies contributed to the Bertelsmann Stiftung’s Transformation Index 2018 “Democracy under Pressure: Polarization and Repression Are Increasing Worldwide”.
Today European security in general and conventional arms control more specifically remain topics for specialists
In 2015, the Baltic states declared their intent to withdraw from the BRELL agreement and desynchronize their power grids from the IPS/UPS synchronous area to which they still belong as part of the legacy of Soviet occupation.