Belarus Headlines VI

 Belarus Headlines  6"Belarus Headlines", issue VI, February 2012

The sixth issue of Belarus Headlines features a review of the most important political and social developments in Belarus and covers a debate by various experts on the current policies that the EU implements in respect to the country.

First pages of the bulletin are dedicated to recently unfolding discussion over existing EU policy towards Belarus and, in particular, the pro and contra arguments regarding restrictive measures in the form of visa ban list and targeted economic sanctions. Belarusian and international experts express their views on the current policies and debate possible recommendations that would potentially be more effective in reaching the goal of democratisation and transformation of Belarus.

In their article on the upcoming parliamentary election BISS academic director Alexei Pikulik and senior expert Dzianis Melyantsou discuss the (non)participation of the opposition in this campaign. They argue that a nationwide campaign by the latter with the use of legal instruments but conducted under the opposition's own initiative and with clearly defined objectives will be the only chance for the latter to struggle out of the "ghetto" where it finds itself for years.

The Belarusian nuclear programme is dangerous, says Siarhei Bohdan, author of the article on the decision by the Belarus' government to build a nuclear power plant using Russian money and Russian services. This project threatens Belarusians with catastrophic indebtedness and destruction of the country’s environment for the profits of a Russian corporation and some regime insiders.

The research section of the Headlines offers material by BISS and the Agency for Policy Expertise showing that a new majority is being formed in Belarus who stay "in the middle", being represented neither by the incumbent government, nor by the opposition.

In addition, Yaraslau Kryvoi provides an overview of the most popular articles on the Belarus Digest web-site.

Finally, the Unknown Belarus section tells you about Vitsebsk, one of the largest Belarusian cities and a stronghold of Belarusian culture and tradition. We hope you will enjoy reading this issue of the Belarus Headlines and, as always, we would very much appreciate your feedback.

Summary of the News

News in short

EU and Belarus

EU Policy towards Belarus: Is There Need for Change?

Politics and Society

Elections or Boycott as Elements of the Opposition Zugzwang

In this section the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies and the Agency for Policy Expertise present a digest of their new studies, publications and expert opinions on the most burning issues of political, economic, and social life in Belarus.

Polling Memo: Occupy the Middle

Common Economic Space and the WTO: Too Late to Argue?

How will Arrival of Foreign Companies in Belarus Influence Workers?

Unknown Belarus

Vitsebsk: the City of Dreams

In Fact