Belarus: No Easy Answers

Western assistance need not be aimed directly at national politics and should certainly not seek large-scale “regime change” to be delivered by opposition activists. Rather, it should offer small- and medium-sized grants to grassroots organizations, especially those outside of Minsk, treating social problems like drug and alcohol abuse and domestic violence, as well as groups that track reforms, monitor corruption, and help connect people and NGOs. Efforts like these can prove to Belarusians that ordinary people can organize to help themselves and even combat corruption in state services. Information is, of course, the key to this psychological transformation, so Western aid should be especially geared toward enhancing the capacity of Belarusian independent media to reach audiences throughout the country.

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