ISP Working Paper | Political Crisis in Belarus: Sources, Evolution, and International Implications

In recent years, Belarus seemed to be coming in from the cold internationally. After about two decades as a European outcast, Minsk started to emerge as an important regional security actor and as a place that had a lot more to offer than had been thought previously. In an attempt to normalise relations with the West and diversify its foreign and economic policies, the country gradually began to open up. While its political system remained authoritarian, Belarus still compared favourably with other East European nations, especially after the war in Donbas shook the continent. Belarus’s stability seemed to look attractive for both its own population and foreign partners. Given the country’s critical geopolitical position, its stability was seen increasingly as an international asset. Since the presidential election on 9 August Belarus has entered the most dramatic political crisis in its history. For more than a month now, mass protests against the official election results and post-election police brutality have been taking place across the whole country, while the capital city of Minsk has seen opposition rallies of unprecedented scales. The crisis appears to be far from over and numerous uncertainties lie ahead. However, ongoing developments have already undermined many of Belarus’s achievements in recent years. This working paper analyzes the rationale and the international implications of the current events.

 

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ISP Working Paper | Yauheni PREIHERMAN_Political Crisis in Belarus: Sources, Evolution and International Implications