Belarus – lost chance for change?

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Despite the political system in Belarus being far from democratic, consecutive elections awaken hope of democratic standards being introduced and of the Belarusian opposition becoming stronger.

Prior to the elections, the general situation was full of contradictory signals – on the one hand we observed signs of the authoritarian system loosening its hold, such as the freeing of political prisoners, but on the other, the opposition forces experienced rising repression. Without Moscow’s political and financial support (which could have negative and even catastrophic consequences for the Belarusian economy), President Lukashenko has changed direction to a gradual (or perhaps illusory) opening up to the European Union.

In reply, the EU is considering lifting the sanctions against Belarus. The first ministerial level meetings have also taken place between Poland and Belarus. The Georgia conflict changed the West’s outlook on the whole post-soviet region, and the EU’s (and the USA’s) foreign policy will be influenced by the outcome of the Caucasus conflict.

The parliamentary elections of 28 September, their outcome and consequences for Belarusian society and for the development of EU – Belarus relations were at the centre of our debate with Vitali Silitsky, Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies, Andrew Wilson, European Council on Foreign Relations and Paweł Wołowski, Centre for Eastern Studies and the chairman Prof. Wawrzyniec Konarski, Warsaw School of Social Sciences and Humanities and University of Warsaw.

As a starting point, the debate will take the analyses of V.Silitsky and A.Wilson concerning the state of Belarusian internal and foreign policy, which have been commissioned by the Heinrich Böll Foundation.

Program  (pdf, 1 p., 77kB)
Report (pdf, 4 pages, 109 kB)
Analysis: Belarus post Georgia Elections, by A.Wilson (pdf, 6 pages, 94 kB)
Analysis: Parliamentary NonElection, by V.Silitsky (pdf, 7 pages, 65 kB)