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Diplomacy CSS Blog

Why China Will Support Russia in Belarus

Image courtesy of Andrew Keymaster/Unsplash.

This article was originally published by The Diplomat on 31 August 2020.

The political crisis in Belarus that erupted following the August 9 presidential election continues to evolve unpredictably, posing a daunting challenge for Russia in fashioning a response. President Alexander Lukashenko faces mass demonstrations by protesters alleging that the official election results, which showed the president winning a landslide re-election victory, were fraudulent. The outcome of the crisis remains uncertain. As Russia observes the volatile situation, weighing its options for shaping the future of the country, it can expect to receive support from China, which has rapidly expanded its own interests in Belarus.

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International Relations Coronavirus CSS Blog

Belarusian Integration

Belarus’ importance as an independent actor in Eastern Europe is growing – a fact that is underlined by Swiss Foreign Minister Cassis’ attendance at the opening of the Swiss embassy in Minsk and meeting with Belarusian President Lukashenko in February 2020. This graphic illustrates four different integration projects, of which Belarus is a member. For more on Belarus’ foreign policies and strategies, read Benno Zogg’s addition to the CSS Analyses in Security Policy series ‘Belarus between East and West: The Art of the Deal‘.

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Politics Coronavirus CSS Blog

Europe’s Outlier: Belarus and Covid-19

Image courtesy of Benno Zogg.

This blog belongs to the CSS’ coronavirus blog series, which forms a part of the center’s analysis of the security policy implications of the coronavirus crisis. See the CSS special theme page on the coronavirus for more.

Instead of taking meaningful measures, the Belarusian government downplayed the threat of the coronavirus and suggested obscure cures. This is a dangerous bet by a regime afraid of economic downturn and appearing weak – similar to several other regimes with strongman leaders. Given Belarusians lack faith in the government’s response and official data, they are taking personal responsibility for their fate. This goes against the grain of the political culture in the country and underscores that authoritarian regimes’ habitual methods may reach their limits during such a crisis.

Categories
International Relations CSS Blog

Belarusian Integration

Belarusian Integration

Belarus’ importance as an independent actor in Eastern Europe is growing – a fact that is underlined by Swiss Foreign Minister Cassis’ attendance of the opening of the Swiss embassy in Minsk and meeting with Belarusian President Lukashenko on 13 February 2020. This graphic illustrates four different integration projects, of which Belarus is a member. For more on Belarus’ foreign policies and strategies, read Benno Zogg’s addition to the CSS Analyses in Security Policy series ‘Belarus between East and West: The Art of the Deal‘.

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Elections

The Path to Politics: Belarus Prepares for Double Elections

Image courtesy of Cencillería del Ecuador/Flickr. (CC BY-SA 2.0)

This article was originally published by the Carnegie Moscow Center on 20 August 2019.

Elections in Belarus are traditionally administrative rituals. However, amid growing tensions with Russia and increased discussion of a future presidential transition in Minsk, the upcoming Belarusian parliamentary and presidential votes may be the start of cautious political change in the country.