Policy briefs

Thu, 2014-11-06 16:28

This memo was prepared by Pact on the basis of September 2012- September 2014 polling data collected by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Research (IISEPS). Full text of the memo is available at this link

Wed, 2014-09-24 19:15

This summer’s crisis in eastern Ukraine has made the European Union and Belarus keen to develop a more constructive relationship with each other. Although there are still major obstacles to meaningful rapprochement, Belarus is not nearly as immobile or isolated from the West as most analysts think.

Mon, 2014-09-15 09:41

High-tech outsourcing is one of the most dominant trends in today’s economy, but few would associate it with Belarus, better known for its heavy machinery exports than IT experts. This appears to finally be changing. RnR Market Research projects Belarus’ IT outsourcing market to grow at an annual rate of 17.8% by 2018. Its proximity to the EU, the availability of skilled labour and technical infrastructure, all make Belarus an attractive outsourcing partner.

Wed, 2014-08-20 00:03

Earlier this month, Russia introduced a full embargo on imports of meat, fish, dairy, fruit and vegetables from the European Union (EU), United States, Australia, Canada and Norway. Belarus, itself no stranger to Western sanctions, took the news in stride, promising to increase Belarusian food exports to Russia.

Tue, 2014-08-05 18:15

Late in the evening on 29 July Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko phoned his Belarusian counterpart and proposed him to host a meeting of a tripartite contact group on Ukraine. The negotiations' format included OSCE, Russia and Ukraine. Alexander Lukashenka agreed and the talks were scheduled on 31 July. The contact group talks took place in Lukashenka's residence Zaslaūje near Minsk behind the closed doors.

Mon, 2014-08-04 08:58

Any reform brings about a disruption in the system of checks and balances, winners and losers. Therefore, it is the (un)willingness of society to endure the difficulties associated with reforms that determines the tactics chosen by reformers, namely, the choice of the pace and depth of reforms.


Wed, 2014-04-30 10:05

It starts at the moment of passport control on the Belarusian side. A disbelief and suspicion on the border officer’s face when hearing a foreigner replying in Belarusian to routine questioning in Russian is priceless. Soon it becomes apparent that this is a state bilingualism à la Belarus. Whereas Russian remains predominantly the language of politics, education and the media, Belarusian appears in Minsk underground, some TV advertisements, street names and the Catholic Church. Certainly, the vast majority of Belarusians are bilingual, but Russian remains today the lingua franca for almost all of them. That happens with a tacit support from the authorities, state institutions and most electronic state-controlled media. On April 22nd 2014, Alexander Lukashenka said that without the Belarusian language the nation would not survive. But in practice the state is paying little interest to the promotion of Belarusian and civil society activists took the matter into their own hands. They came up with a few interesting initiatives of teaching Belarusian in a form of free group language courses. Mova ci kava and Mova nanova have ushered in a new era for the popularisation of Belarusian and respond to an increasing demand for the language.

Mon, 2014-04-28 12:36


In 2014, the Belarusian authorities started preparations for a new demographic security program. The problems facing Belarus are not unique in Europe, but in many ways they look worse than in most EU countries. Belarus continues to face a trend of depopulation, and with a birth rate of 1.6, there appears to be no chance for it to sustain its current level, much less grow. Demographic pressures will force the government to raise the age of retirement, at least for women, from 55 to 60. In neighbouring Poland the authorities have already raised the retirement age up to 67 in attempt to deal with its own demographic issues.

Wed, 2014-04-16 12:30

By Igar Hubarevich

Belarus Digest is launching Belarus Foreign Policy Digest which will overview the most important foreign policy developments related to Belarus. Igar Gubarevich, who served as Counsellor at the Belarusian embassy in Paris in 2003 - 2006 and held several other positions of responsibility at the Belarusian Foreign Ministry will prepare the digest.​ The first issue will deal with the Belarusian authorities' attempts to walk a fine line during the Ukrainian crisis. Minsk managed to take the side of both parties without really offending or alienating either of them and endangering the country's immediate economic and political interests. However, the regime's top priority in its foreign policy remains obtaining hard currency from its exports, by any means possible. Ambassador Latushka received a strong rebuke from President Lukashenka for casting doubt on the quality of Belarusian goods and the efficiency of the nation's existing foreign trade mechanisms.

Thu, 2014-04-10 11:45

By Jax Jacobsen

To many, Russia’s – and more pointedly, Putin’s – incursion into Ukraine revealed a desire to reclaim the lands that ‘got away’ during the dissolution of the Soviet Union in 1991. However, this blunt-force, defy-all-international-norms takeover of Crimea might have done quite a bit to weaken and potentially destabilize Russia’s relations with Belarus and Kazakhstan, arguably the two post-Soviet states most open to any sort of reconfiguring of the post-Soviet space that might mirror Soviet foreign policy. But first, some background. For the past few years, Putin has been advancing a project to reconstruct the economic network which formally existed between Moscow and its satellite states by launching negotiations to create a ‘customs union’ which would abolish tariffs and visas between participating countries and fortify inter-nation trade.