NEWSWATCH: “Why Belarus Can’t Afford to Be the New Ukraine; Is it too late for Lukashenko to defy Russia?” – The National Interest/Nikolay Pakhomov

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo

“On February 3 Belarusian president Aleksandr Lukashenko launched the fiercest of his rhetorical attacks against Russia  …. moderate estimates show that Belarus has received approximately $100 billion of various Russian investments, preferences and support. … Politically, the Union State of Russia and Belarus that was formed in December 1999 never fully materialized. Furthermore, despite the geopolitical showdown between Russia and […]

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Border regime with Belarus was not introduced, at issue are border zones to regulate trips by citizens of third countries – Kremlin

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

MOSCOW. Feb 3 (Interfax) – #Moscow has pointed it out to #Minsk that no decisions on the introduction of a border regime on the #Russian-#Belarusian border have been made and the Federal Security Service director’s order on the creation of border zones is aimed at regulating trips by citizens of third countries. “Belarusian President Alexander #Lukashenko [on Friday] made critical […]

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NEWSWATCH: “Belarus reportedly mulls leaving Eurasian Economic Union as relations with Russia worsen” – bne Intellinews

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“#Belarus wants to leave the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU), the Collective Security Treaty Organisation and possibly the union state of #Russia and Belarus, the Russian online news service Regnum controversially reported on February 2, citing an anonymous source in Moscow. The information has not been confirmed by either Minsk or Moscow, but over the last few months tensions have risen […]

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Eastern Europe Arming Itself because ‘No One Wants to Be the Next Ukraine’

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, September 28, 2016) In what many are calling “the Putin effect,” countries across Eastern Europe, including even #Belarus, nominally Russia’s closest ally, are now arming themselves even when they have to cut social welfare spending because, in the words of one commentator, “no one wants to be the next Ukraine.” This sacrifice […]

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Whose side is Belarus on anyway? Belarusians generally feel closer to Russia than Ukraine, but refuse to get involved in the conflict between them. It is, they insist, “not our war”.

(opendemocracy.net – Yury Drakakhrust – May 12, 2016) Yury Drakakhrust is a Belarusian journalist. He is the author of a number of Russian-language publications on Belarusian and Russian politics, most notably (co-written with Dmitry Furman) Russia and Belarus: States and Societies. The validity of opinion polls in countries with authoritarian regimes is often questioned: how strong is the fear factor […]

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TRANSCRIPT: DNI – Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community [excerpt re: Russia] – Statement for the Record

U.S. Capitol in Bright Sunlight

(Senate Armed Services Committee – James R. Clapper, Director of National Intelligence – February 9, 2016) Leading Threat Actors Russia. Russia is assuming a more assertive cyber posture based on its willingness to target critical infrastructure systems and conduct espionage operations even when detected and under increased public scrutiny. Russian cyber operations are likely to target US interests to support […]

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Putin Needs a Victory and Annexing Belarus on the Cheap Could Give Him One, Oreshkin Says

Belarus Map

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, November 10, 2015) Having suffered increasingly obvious “fiascos” in Ukraine and Syria, Vladimir Putin now needs “a victory,” Dmitry Oreskhin says. “And it turns out that Belarus and Lukashenka are the most suitable variant whom he could defeat with minimal costs” because “Belarus could not hold out for two weeks” if Moscow […]

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Moscow laying groundwork to annex Belarus, open second front against Ukraine next year

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Paul Goble – November 9, 2015) For Vladimir Putin, Viktor Kaspruk argues, “Ukraine is the key to a future Russia or more precisely a future Russian Empire,” and consequently, even if he has lowered the temperature in the Donbas in recent weeks, the Kremlin leader is likely to renew his attacks on Ukraine next year having first moved to annex […]

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EU said close to lifting sanctions on Belarus as Lukashenko’s landslide win satisfies

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(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – October 13, 2015) The EU is close to lifting sanctions on Belarus after its authoritarian president, Alexander Lukashenko, won a fifth term in polls on October 11 with 83% of the vote, making some concessions to the political opposition in the process. While there hasn’t yet been any formal announcement of […]

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Lukashenko Victory Set to Stoke EU Rapprochement, Moscow Unease

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Howard Amos – October 12, 2015) Autocratic Belarussian leader Alexander Lukashenko looked set to win a fifth term as president Sunday in a largely uncontested and protest-free election that is likely to pave the way for a thaw in relations with European countries and a possible confrontation with neighboring Russia, traditionally a staunch ally. Exit […]

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U.S. Envoy Tells Russia’s Neighbors: Having Putin As Your Only Friend Not A Good Idea

Europe Map

(RFE/RL – rferl.org – Pete Baumgartner – PRAGUE, September 15, 2015) The U.S. ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE) says there is a very important lesson for former Soviet republics to have learned from the devastating conflict in eastern Ukraine: Don’t be too reliant on Russia. “Having [Russian] President [Vladimir] Putin as your only friend […]

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Interfax: “Russian world” not political, wider than Russia, includes Ukraine – church head

Patriarch Kirill file photo

(Interfax – Moscow, July 20, 2015) Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia has expressed concern over attempts to politicize the notion of the Russian world. “Unfortunately, our opponents use the words ‘Russian world’ as a kind of bogey, as a scarecrow, as they allege that it is a kind of doctrine which serves exclusively the interests of the Russian […]

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Interfax: Russians like Belarus and China, have aversion to U.S., EU and Ukraine – poll

Mercator Projection Satellite Image of Earth

(Interfax – June 8, 2015) Most Russians speak ill of the United States, the European Union and Ukraine and see Belarus, China and Kazakhstan as friends, the Levada Center has told Interfax. Seventy-three percent of 1,700 respondents polled in 134 populated localities on May 22-25 expressed negative feelings for the U.S., 15 percent said the opposite, and 12 percent were […]

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Belarus Leader Urges U.S. Involvement in Ukraine Peace Process

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo

(Bloomberg – bloomberg.com – Aliaksandr Kudrytski, Ryan Chilcote – March 31, 2015) Belarusian President Aleksandr Lukashenko urged the U.S. to play a bigger role in the Ukrainian peace process and said a lasting solution will be impossible without its help. “The most worrying thing is that the U.S. hasn’t been openly involved in this process,” Lukashenko said in the new […]

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Where will Putin Strike Next?

Vladimir Putin file photo with VOA logo; screen shot from video still

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, March 5, 2015) The purpose of terrorism is to terrorize, to suggest that old rules and old expectations no longer apply and thereby increase uncertainty and fear. That explains why someone like Kseniya Sochak has suggested that she is next on Putin’s list now that the Kremlin has killed Boris Nemtsov and […]

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Meet the EEU family (Eurasian Economic Union)

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – bne IntelliNews – January 5, 2015) Members: Belarus, Kazakhstan, Russia Prospective member: Armenia Potential members: Kyrgyzstan (likely), Tajikistan (unlikely) Population: 173mn (Russia, including Crimea, 146mn; Kazakhstan, 17mn; Belarus, 10mn) Total GDP: $2.7tn Share of world gas reserves: 20% Share of world oil reserves: 15% On January 1, the Eurasian Economic Union Treaty governing what […]

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Playing its own game: Belarus as a peacemaker between Russia and the West

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(Russia Beyond the Headlines – rbth.ru – Alexander Iskandaryan, special to RBTH – October 20, 2014) Alexander Iskandaryan is a political scientist and director of the Caucasus Institute in Yerevan, Armenia. The leadership in Minsk seems to be taking advantage of the crisis in Ukraine to improve its image Relations between the West and Belarus have taken a curious and […]

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Even Lukashenka is Worried about What Putin May Do

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo

(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, April 22, 2014) It is a measure of just how worried the leaders of countries bordering Russia are about the possibility that Vladimir Putin will build on his Crimean Anschluss by moving against their states that even Alyaksandr Lukashenka feels the need to deny that Mensk is oppressing ethnic Russians and to […]

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Lukashenka as Machiavelli

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(opendemocracy.net/PONARS – Arkady Moshes – January 9, 2014) Arkady Moshes is Director of The EU Eastern Neighbourhood and Russia Programme at the Finnish Institute of International Affairs For those who assume that the Belarus strongman Alexander Lukashenka long ago lost his freedom of action vis-a-vis Moscow, his recent bout of assertive behaviour was unexpected. It delivered the desired result, though. […]

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Belarusians Want to Join EU Rather than Russia, Poll Shows

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(Window on Eurasia – Paul Goble – Staunton, January 3, 2013) Ukrainians and Moldovans are not the only nations between Moscow and the European Union who would prefer to be part of the EU than any Moscow-dominated entity and certainly don’t want their country to be absorbed by the Russian Federation.  A new poll shows that Belarusians have the same […]

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Russia Strikes Back at Belarus in New Trade War

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(RIA Novosti – MOSCOW/MINSK, August 29, 2013) ­ Russia hit back at two mainstays of the Belarusian economy this week after Minsk arrested the head of Russia’s largest fertilizer company, imposing cuts on oil exports and threatening food imports in moves that it insists have no connection to the arrest. Russian oil pipeline monopoly Transneft announced plans Wednesday to cut […]

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Uralkali Arrest Ratchets Up Moscow-Minsk Tension

Belarus Map

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Irina Filatova – August 28, 2013) The Russian Foreign Ministry warned Tuesday that detention of the chief executive of potash giant Uralkali in Minsk could cause Moscow’s relations with Belarus to deteriorate as the conflict takes on political overtones. Putting Vladislav Baumgertner in a pretrial detention facility is “unacceptable” and “doesn’t comply with friendly relations […]

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Russia and Belarus Facing Demographic Disasters, Experts Say

File Photo of Crowd of Russians with One Waving Russian Flag

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, June 21, 2013) The Russian Federation has only five years [to[ take steps to prevent “a demographic catastrophe” there,  according to a group of the government’s own expert aadvisors on this issue; and its neighbor, Belarus, specialists in Mensk say, may have even less time to avoid an even more severe population […]

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COLD WAR II: Russia sets up airbase in Minsk, sells missile system

Belarus Map

(Business New Europe – bne.eu – April 30, 2013) Russia is beefing up its western border’s defence with plans for a new airbase in Belarus and sales to the government there of one of its most sophisticated surface-to-air missile systems. Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu announced April 23 a new deal with Minsk that will see Russia deploy fighter jets […]

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Russians less favorable to U.S., EU, Ukraine, Belarus, more to Georgia – poll

Map of Russia

(Interfax – MOSCOW, April 9, 2013) A recent poll has shown that Russian citizens had less favorable opinions towards the United States and European Union as well as to Ukraine and Belarus. Currently, 48% of Russians give generally positive comments about the United States, against 53% in January. Thus, the share of those opposed to the United States grew from […]

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Russians becoming more favorable to Georgia, Ukraine and Belarus – poll

Map of European Portion of Former Soviet Union

MOSCOW. Jan 30 (Interfax) – The attempts of the new Georgian authorities to improve relations with Russia have affected the attitudes of Russians toward that country, sociological studies indicate. Presently, the number of positive comments on Georgia exceeds the number of negative, sociologists from the Levada Center told Interfax on Wednesday. Thus, while in January last year 36% of Russians […]

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