What to Expect in EU-Belarus Relations - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Analysts focus on the effect of recent elections on the politic landscape of Belarus and whether the European Union can do anything to improve the situation in Belarus.

The EU and Belarus: Perpetual Tango All Over Again? Giselle Bosse, European Policy Centre, analyses EU-Belarus relations to identify where next for EU policy towards Belarus. The expert makes some recommendations for the situation's improving.

In particular, the EU could be more specific about the goals of its policy and respectively knows the answers on some key questions, for instance, what is the EU longer term goal: to push Lukashenka to introduce reforms, or regime change?

Belarus Plays Cat and Mouse with EU – EUobserver fixes the fact of the recent releasing of two Belarusian political prisons - Siarhei Kavalenka and Pavel Syromolotov - and considers about the reasons of the authorities’ step. The edition quotes Belarusian Tribunal, a Dutch-based NGO, which claims that Kavalenka's release is an attempt to bargain with the EU to ease the sanctions.

Powerless Over Belarus – Euronews tries to find an answer whether Brussels will toughen its stance against Minsk following the latest result of the parliamentary elections. To get more insight on the political state of affairs in Belarus, the reporter spoke to Olga Stuzhinskaya, the Director of the Office for Democratic Belarus based in Brussels.

EU Poised to Extend Sanctions Against Belarus After Elections (for subscribers only) - The European Voice reports that the EU will be watching parliamentary elections in Belarus on Sunday (23 September) with a sense of uncertainty about how to adjust its policy towards its eastern neighbour after another year of clashes with the regime of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. The EV also gives reference to the think-tanks Carnegie Europe, IISEPS, and BISS quoting their vision of the current situation, as well as, mentions the Brussels-based Office for Democratic Belarus burglary.

Europe does Not Want a Revolution, but a Soft Transformation in Belarus – Kamil Klysinski, analyst of the Center for Eastern Studies (Warsaw), a specialist in Belarus, shares his reflections on the political situation in Belarus. In particular, the expert sees a strong authority and a weak opposition, which can not even properly communicate with the public and force the ruling class to the negotiations. At the same time, both for the European Union and Belarus the most appropriate scenario is soft reforms (dialogue), the only way to prevent chaos.

Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index, #9, July-August 2012 – Belarusian Institue for Strategic Studies presents a new issue of the Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index, covering the developments of July and August 2012. This period is marked by a serious drop in the intensity of relations. In the Russian sector the experts point a nearly two-fold drop in the Index; the development of relations with the European Union is again in the negative part of the chart.

Diary of Dale Cooper, or How I spent the Last Month Watching ONT – Yanina Melnikava, mediakritika.by, during the month daily watched programs of the state TV channel ONT with a purpose to understand its specifics. The expert analyzes separately entertainment dwell, advertising, news and concludes that the modern Belarusian television journalism is "a dangerous mix of "news parquet dance" and the burning state propaganda".

Belarus. Accents. #56 – Liberal club released its weekly information-analytical monitoring of Belarusian and foreign electronic media during the period September 10-16. Monitoring covers the main topics of cultural, economic, legal, business spheres as well as public administration. In particular, the authors note that inflationary potential of the country remains at a high level. In the case of a new round of economic crisis, inflation can quickly outstrip the planned 19%.

Bulletin PISM No 87, September 20, 2012 – The monthly bulletin of the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) is dedicated to Belarus, specifically to pre-election situation and named "Election without choice". The experts note that the campaign in the run up to the parliamentary elections highlighted the lack of dialogue between the authorities and society. It also underlined the problems of the Belarusian opposition, i.e., the internal divisions and the lack of resources required to conduct political agitation.

It is high time to replace selfish and short-sighted opposition leaders – Vladimir Matskevich, Chair of the EuroBelarus Consortium Board, argues that the main reason for the continuing feud between supporters of the boycott and the parliamentary elections’ participation is the low political culture of the Belarusian opposition.  

Will Belarusian NGOs’ leaders go to the polls? – On the eve of the parliamentary elections,  EuroBelarus Information Service addressed to a number of NGOs’ representatives to know whether they are going to go to the polls for the upcoming parliamentary elections and what do they justify their actions with. Among respondents there are Andrei Kazakevich, "Palіtychnaya sphera"; Dzianis Melyantsou, BISS, Enira Bronitskaya, the Office on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities; Sergey Mackiewicz, the Assembly of NGOs, etc.

Working Papers of the First International Congress. Working materials of the First International Congress of Belarusian researchers were published at the website of Political Sphere. Remind the Congress took place ​​on September 23-25, 2011 in Kaunas (Lithuania) and was attended by about 200 scientists from different countries. This year, II Congress of Belarusian researchers which was held on September 28-30, in Kaunas and was attended by over 300 people.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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