JRL NEWSWATCH: “Ukraine Is Only One Small Part of Putin’s Plans” – New York Times

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“… The immediate aim, to be sure, is to return Ukraine to Russia’s orbit. But …. Putin’s design is grand: to refashion the post-Cold War settlement, in the process guaranteeing … Russia’s personalized power system. … Today, Ukraine is the jewel to fight for. But it won’t end there: Belarus, whose embattled leader relies on Russia’s support, could be the […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Foreign Policy Experts Map Russia’s Plans for 2022” – Moscow Times

Satellite

The Moscow Times asked 10 commentators for their predictions for the coming year […]

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Kremlin Lashes Out At West, Defends Troop Movements, As It Boosts Role In Belarus-EU Border Crisis

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

The Kremlin has vowed to safeguard its borders in the face of actions by countries it accused of trying to “contain” Russia and sought to walk back a Belarusian threat of a cutoff of Russian natural gas to Western markets […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Russia’s Aeroflot Denies Transporting Migrants to Belarus” – Moscow Times

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

Russia’s flagship airline Aeroflot has denied helping migrants and refugees from the Middle East travel to Belarus as European leaders scramble to deal with a migrant crisis on the Polish border […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Lukashenko threatens to cut gas supplies to Yamal-Europe gas pipeline if EU imposes new sanctions, promises to send refugees dry firewood” – bne Intellinews

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Lukashenko has threatened to cut off [Belarusian] gas transit to Europe  … shutting down the Yamal-Europe pipeline if the EU imposes new sanctions …. The Yamal-Europe pipeline is part of the northern route that also includes … Nord Stream 1 and 2 … and transits gas from Russia’s Arctic Yamal fields via Belarus to Poland and on to Germany. […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia, Belarus Agree on Economic Integration Pacts; The agreements, which cover trade, labor, currencies, taxes and energy, will deepen Moscow’s sway over its neighbor” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“… Putin … [said] that in the end all 28 integration programs were approved. [Putin said that] [t]hey include the integration of currency systems, the principles of levying indirect taxes … the fight against terrorism … [and] the pricing of Russian energy resources, … that a document would be signed by Dec. 1, 2023, to create a single gas market […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus Revokes U.S. Ambassador’s Appointment in Retaliatory Move to Sanctions” – Wall Street Journal

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“Minsk also tells U.S. Embassy to cut staff after new sanctions against Alexander Lukashenko’s government.” “… the U.S. Embassy in Minsk blamed Belarus for souring relations … citing what it called the regime’s ‘inability to allow independent voices to emerge in Belarus as well as its unwillingness to meet its international commitments.’ Steps toward resolving the country’s internal crisis, the […]

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Unpalatable Truths About Belarus’s Political Crisis

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

(Jamestown Foundation – jamestown.org – Eurasia Daily Monitor: Volume 18, Issue 99 – Grigory Ioffe – June 22, 2021) On June 14, Belarus’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MFA) organized a 74-minute briefing to the press (YouTube, June 14). Two out of the three major topics touched upon were 1) the alleged deportation to Poland of three activists of the Polish […]

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Belarus Could Become a Normal European Country with Far Less Difficulty than Ukraine, Inozemtsev Says

(Paul Goble – Window On Eurasia – Staunton, May 31, 2021) Once Alyaksandr Lukashenka is ousted from power, Belarus would find it far easier to become a normal European country than Ukraine seeking the same thing has, Vladislav Inozemtsev says, something that restrains Moscow from seeking his ouster precisely because it would give the West such an enormous opportunity. The […]

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AUDIO: JRL NEWSWATCH: “What Russia Stands To Gain By Backing Belarus [Fiona Hill interview]” – NPR

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“A growing number of European countries are blocking access to Belarusian airlines. … after Belarus intercepted a commercial flight and removed and arrested Roman Protasevich, an opposition journalist who was on board. … While Western democracies try to sanction Belarus, Russia’s president, Vladimir Putin, seems to support Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko. … Fiona Hill … spoke to NPR’s All Things […]

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RUSSIALINK: “After Plane Crisis, Is Belarusian President Lukashenko Becoming a Troublesome Partner for Russia?” – Moscow Times

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

Analysts say Moscow’s muted reaction to the diversion to Minsk of a Ryanair flight speaks to the Kremlin’s ambivalent view of the strongman. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Felix Light – May 24, 2021) In the hours after Belarus shocked the world by forcing a Ryanair plane flying from Athens to Vilnius to land in Minsk and arresting prominent opposition […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “We fund Russian democracy protesters, boasts U.S. group” – The Times (UK)

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

“Senior officials at a U.S. government-funded organisation have been tricked into boasting about helping … pro-democracy movements in Russia and … a ‘modest but significant’ contribution to … protests in Belarus …. [S]tatements by … National Endowment for Democracy (NED) [officials,] … funded by … Congress, are expected to be seized upon by officials in Belarus and Russia as proof […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Multinational firms under pressure to break ties with Belarus” – bne Intellinews

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“The West has imposed sanctions on Belarus’ elite, but they are not enough to oust President Alexander Lukashenko. Increasingly the opposition and its supporters are targeting international companies doing business with Belarus.” “International multinational firms are coming under increased pressure to break business ties with Belarus as opposition leaders apply a ‘name and shame’ campaign …. Belarus has been wracked […]

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U.S. Lawmakers Call For New Sanctions If Russia Moves Forward With Fines On RFE/RL

American Flag and Partial View of U.S. Capitol Dome, adapted from image at aoc.gov

… Republican and Democratic lawmakers called for new sanctions against Moscow if the Kremlin moves to enforce stringent restrictions and punishing fines that threaten RFE/RL’s news operations in Russia […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Energy deals point to thawing of Belarus-Russia relations” – Financial Times

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“Moscow’s attitude towards Minsk had cooled in wake of protests against Lukashenko” “… Lukashenko[,] … rul[ing] Belarus since 1994, has faced massive street protests and unprecedented public anger since … [a] presidential election … [that] western countries said was falsified. His regime’s brutal crackdown … prompted … U.S., EU and UK … sanctions … and even sparked [Kremlin] anger …. […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Foreign Policy Experts Map Russia’s Plans for 2021” – Moscow Times

Satellite Image of Earth in Style of Mercator Map, adapted from image at nasa.gov

We asked 10 experts to predict what Russia has in store for the world next year. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Pjotr Sauer – Jan. 4, 2021) Russia had to tread a fine foreign policy line in 2020. The country’s near abroad was rocked by unprecedented unrest as uprisings in Kremlin-friendly Kyrgyzstan and Belarus and war in the Caucasus challenged […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Former presidential candidate Tikhanovskaya wants to be Belarusian interim president for 45 days” – Interfax

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

Former Belarusian presidential candidate Svetlana Tikhanovskaya has said that she is willing to lead the country in the transitional period […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Tikhanovskaya’s People’s Ultimatum deadline expires, general strike due to start” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“Opposition leader Svetlana Tikhanovskaya set a deadline of October 25 for Lukashenko to leave office or face a general strike that will bring the country to its knees. Lukashenko has not quit.” “The [Sunday] deadline … expired … set by … nominal victor in Belarus’ presidential election Svetlana Tikhanovskaya as part of the ‘People’s Ultimatum.’ … demand[ing] … self-appointed President […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “With unrest on all sides, Russia’s regional muscle is being tested” – Washington Post/ Isabelle Khurshudyan

Map of Commonwealth of Independent States, European Portion

“… As Russia’s interests abroad have focused on building the country’s standing as a player on the global stage – including malicious operations such as trying to influence U.S. presidential elections – the Kremlin’s grip has weakened closer to home. Competition from Turkey, China and the West is increasingly challenging Moscow’s onetime dominance in the former Soviet space. … [and] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Alexander Lukashenko changes tack in Belarus stand-off” – Financial Times/ James Shotter, Max Seddon

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“Meeting imprisoned opposition leaders is departure from previous hardline approach” “After … weeks in the Belarusian KGB prison, tech executive Dmitry Rabtsevich and a dozen opposition activists … [were visited by] embattled strongman … Lukashenko … [in] an unannounced roundtable with his jailed opponents. The jail then quickly released … Rabtsevich …. The bizarre four-and-a-half-hour jail meeting … was … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Putin Loses His Footing in Russia’s Backyard” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

File Photo of Vladimir Putin at Podium with United Russia Logo, Gesturing

“Washington has watched Russia expand its global influence, but along its borders, Moscow is losing its monopoly on power.” “… Putin has long tried to strengthen economic and defense relations across Eastern Europe and Central Asia …. Russia still has military bases in Central Asia and the South Caucasus … [T]here are strong commercial and cultural ties …. But … […]

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Belarus Crisis Highlights Europe’s Energy Problem

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

(Oilprice.com – Vanand Meliksetian – Sept. 24, 2020) The ongoing demonstrations in Belarus and the looming instability are a threat to both Russia and the EU. Moscow prefers the continuation of Lukashenko’s regime due to political reasons. Europe, on the other hand, faces an energy crisis if the situation escalates which could lead to a disruption of supplies. Belarus’ geographic […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “A dozen countries refuse to recognise Lukashenko’s inauguration; Spontaneous protests broke out in the evening following Alexander Lukashenko’s secret inauguration for a sixth term” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“A dozen countries refused to recognise … Lukashenko as … legitimate president of Belarus after he secretly inaugurated himself … September 23. Tensions were high in Minsk after the news broke, with protesters in Minsk flooding the streets and clashing with police trying to disperse them. The only leader that sent a message to congratulate Lukashenko was Turkmen President Gurbanguly […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Lukashenko inaugurates himself in secret” – bne Intellinews/ Ben Aris

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“Fearing mass protests, Belarus’ self-appointed President Alexander Lukashenko held an inauguration for himself in secret to complete the legal process of winning the disputed August 9 presidential election. … [T]he entire perimeter surrounding the presidential palace … was closed to traffic. Some companies told their employees not to come in, as … roads were closed. Police trucks and army vehicles […]

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RUSSIALINK: “‘Harsh Times Ahead’: Russia’s Emergency Loan to Belarus Changes Little for Embattled Lukashenko” – Moscow Times

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

The $1.5 billion will largely go towards refinancing debt owed to Russia, and is only a fraction of what Belarus needs to avoid a crash in living standards. (Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Jake Cordell – Sept. 17, 2020) Russia’s emergency $1.5 billion loan will do little to help Belarus’ embattled President Alexander Lukashenko prevent his economy from spiraling into […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Russia says Belarus leader plans to change constitution; President Lukashenko began raising the question of changing Belarus’s constitution several years ago.” – Al Jazeera

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“Russia said … Lukashenko … confirmed … plans to change the constitution as the two leaders held talks in Sochi …. Lukashenko faces mass protests at home …. Lukashenko, who has been in power for 26 years … previously changed the constitution to increase his presidential powers. The opposition wants to change the constitution back to its original form … […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “After Weeks of Pressure in Belarus, Protesters and Lukashenko Locked in Dangerous Stalemate” – Wall Street Journal/ Thomas Grove

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“More than 100,000 people protest; country’s longtime leader set to meet Putin on Monday.” “More than 100,000 … poured into the streets of … Minsk [Sunday], sparking a show of force and mass detentions by riot police[,] … one of the largest in a string of demonstrations aimed at keeping pressure on … Lukashenko[] [i]n the month since [an election] […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarusian leader set to visit Russia as protests continue” – AP

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“… Protesters in Belarus have spent a month denouncing the results of the country’s Aug. 9 presidential election as rigged and demanding the resignation of President Alexander Lukashenko from the sixth term he won. Facing criticism from the West, Lukashenko has worked to cement ties with his main ally and sponsor, Russia. … set to head to Russia … Monday […]

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Tsikhanouskaya Urges Belarusian Opposition To ‘Remain Peaceful’ Amid Fears Another Leader Detained

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

(Article text ©2020 RFE/RL, Inc., Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty – rferl.org – Sept. 9, 2020 – article text also appeared at rferl.org/a/belarusian-opposition-fears-one-of-last-presidium-members-detained/30828668.html) The exiled leader of Belarus’s reinvigorated opposition to five-term President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has urged protesters at home to “remain peaceful” despite an intensifying crackdown that featured another suspected abduction by regime forces on September 9. Svyatlana Tsikhanouskaya’s latest […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Travel Ban, Oil Supplies on Russia-Belarus Agenda” – Moscow Times

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

(Moscow Times – themoscowtimes.com – Sept. 4, 2020) Russia and Belarus are preparing to reopen borders that were closed because of the coronavirus pandemic and are discussing rerouting Belarusian oil exports through Russia, news outlets reported after high-level talks Thursday. Russian Prime Minister Mikhail Mishustin and his delegation met Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his government in Minsk amid continuing […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus Leader Proposes Vote on Constitution Reforms” – AFP

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

“… Lukashenko on Monday discussed plans for a referendum on constitutional reforms …. The 66-year-old … fac[es] his greatest challenge yet [in his 26-year rule,] following three weekends of giant protests in Minsk over a disputed August 9 [election] where he claimed victory over … popular opposition candidate[] Svetlana Tikhanovskaya. Lukashenko has twice before held such referendums, pushing through changes […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus’ Soviet-era economy still propped up by Moscow” – Deutsche Welle/ Nik Martin

Cash, Calculator, Pen

“Belarus has one of the lowest poverty rates in Europe, but economic growth is anemic due to archaic state-run industries and the ending of Russian energy subsidies. Its biggest political crisis is even more of a threat.” “… Belarus’ dependence on energy-rich Russia is ever more evident …. Moscow has already offered to help bolster security [amidst the current crisis] […]

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RUSSIALINK: “Lukashenko declares readiness for dialogue with ‘reasonable’ opposition members” – Interfax

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

MINSK. Aug 27 (Interfax) – Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko has announced that he is ready to establish a dialogue with labor collectives, students, and “reasonable” members of the opposition, but said that won’t happen under the pressure of street protests. “Let us sit down, representatives of all labor collectives, student collectives (these are the future elites of our country, and […]

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As Lukashenka Turns To Geopolitics, The West Faces Learning Curve In Belarus

Alyaksandr Lukeshenko file photo, adapted from image at usembassy.gov

… The embattled strongman has been back-footed by the massive, unprecedented demonstrations demanding he resign in the wake of the August 9 presidential election the protesters view as fixed […]

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Belarusians Expected a Maidan but Instead have a Revolution, Kagarlitsky Says

Belarus city file photo, adapted from image at state.gov

(Paul Goble – Window on Eurasia – Staunton, August 19, 2020) Belarusians expected a Maidan like in Ukraine with a dispute about falsification of election results leading to the ouster of a dictator; but what has occurred, as a result of Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s earlier successes and recent failures, is the beginning of a revolution with many more far-reaching consequences, Boris […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Biegun Says U.S. Sees No Indication of Russian Military Plans in Belarus” – Reuters

Cropped File Photo of Stephen Biegun, adapted from image featured at state.gov

“Deputy Secretary of State Stephen Biegun [was in Lithuania,] signal[ing] a greater U.S. role … trying to settle … strife … erupt[ing] when Belarussian President Alexander Lukashenko cracked down on peaceful protesters … reject[ing] his claim of a landslide election victory [claiming it was rigged]. … Asked about possible Russian military intervention … [Biegun] said: ‘Of course that would be […]

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JRL NEWSWATCH: “Belarus’ defence minister tells military elite: ‘It is necessary to fight. And if necessary with weapons’ as Lukashenko’s counteroffensive gathers momentum” – bne Intellinews

Map of Belarus and Environs, adapted from images at cia.gov

“Belarus’ Defence Minister Viktor Khrenin told the country’s military elite that there may be a military conflict and they may be called on to use their weapons …. ‘Yes, we may have a civil war …. There’s a chance we’ll have a military conflict … Criminal order, not criminal – we are soldiers, we execute orders!’ Khrenin said …. Lukashenko […]

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