Policy briefs

Mon, 2007-12-10 14:37

By Jury Chavusau, invited expert

Belarusian authorities did make certain steps in reply to the 12 conditions of the European Union; however, this reaction was inconsistent and was unlikely to be motivated by the intention to respect the European standards. In spite of modest results, the document "What European Union Can Bring to Belarus"  had already set the agenda for Belarus-EU relations, and became a benchmark in assessment of the progress in the dialogue with the Belarusian government.

Fri, 2007-12-07 10:28
By John Bachtell

MINSK, Belarus - The mood was upbeat as representatives from communist and workers' parties around the world gathered here Nov. 3-5 to exchange experiences and observe the 90th anniversary of the Great October Revolution and its relevance for today.

Mon, 2007-12-03 10:28
Russia's recent decision to supply Belarus with Iskander missile systems comes in response to the deployment of a US antimissile system in the Czech Republic and Poland.
Fri, 2007-11-30 12:04
On November 14, the United States Treasury announced financial sanctions on the Belnaftakhim gas and chemical conglomerate and its subsidiaries outside the country. With this maneuver, Washington expressed its dissatisfaction with the Belarusian government's failure to improve the human rights' situation within the country. It follows other moves directed against the Lukashenka government by the EU and the United Nations.
Fri, 2007-11-09 17:35
BISS public policy statement

Participants of the conference ‘Towards a New Vision of Belarus’ acknowledged the formation of a political consensus in the Belarusian society spreading towards the ruling elite, the political opposition and the society as a whole. For the first time since gaining independence, a broad agreement in the Belarusian society on the necessity to preserve independence of the Belarusian state had been achieved. The building of this agreement was a complicated process that was completed under the influence of new circumstances, first of all, the energy conflict with Russia. The existence of the consensus on independence sets a broad platform for a new public accord on the European path of development for Belarus.

Fri, 2007-11-09 17:02

On October 29, the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies organized a discussion panel on the question of privatization in Belarus:

  • Is large-scale privatization possible in Belarus in the near future? Will the authorities accept privatization as a way to raise much-needed foreign cash?
  • If a privatization program gets under way, who may be its potential participants? Will it be a "bureaucratic" privatization, or the government will try to involve foreign companies, for instance through initial public offering?
  • What companies can it sell? Will it be major or smaller companies?

Participants of the monthly expert panel:

Tatsiana Manenak, observer with the Belorusy i Rynok weekly,

Dzmitry Kruk, expert of the IPM Research Center,

Valeryja Kosciuhava, an independent expert, a member of the Nashe Mneniye analytical group.

Mon, 2007-10-15 15:10
The Pontis Foundation recently released its 2007 summer survey on current trends and development in Belarus entitled "The Regime Change(s)". The survey, prepared by our researchers based on in-depth interviews with Belarusian opinion makers throughout the summer 2007 in Belarus, provides a deeper look into the changes that have been taking place in the country recently.

As the political opposition to the regime of Lukashenka continues to face challenges of reaching out to the broader public, the survey especially focuses on the changes that take place within the ruling elite and also outlines new- potentially influential- actors, but also covers the current relations of Belarus with the European Union as well as Russia.
Thu, 2007-10-04 17:41
The future of Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus, states lying between the European Union and Russia, to a large extent depends on how they resolve their energy-related problems. The are in the special situation because, on the one hand, they are the principle transit countries for Russian resources (gas and oil) that makes their way to the EU market, on the other hand, they greatly depend on the supplies of gas from Russia, which is of key importance to them, for example, because of their economies’ high level of energy consumption.
Thu, 2007-10-04 09:58

Nina Akhmeteli

Just a year ago, ties between Minsk and Tbilisi were antagonistic. Now, united by common frustrations with Russia's regional energy and economic policies, Georgia and Belarus appear to be trying to make a new start of things.

Mon, 2007-10-01 18:22
The Catholic Church is unsure about the implications of remarks by Belarusian Vice-premier Aleksandr Kosinets about foreign clergy. With about 190 foreign priests plus more than 100 nuns, the Catholic Church is by far the religious community in Belarus which relies most heavily on foreign clergy. Kosinets told a 19 September round table with Belarus' religious leaders that the Catholic Church should end the use of foreign clergy over the next few years. However, Forum 18 News Service has been unable to clarify whether this is a recommendation or an order. "The Vice-premier's words arouse questions and perplexities rather than outright concern," a senior Catholic told Forum 18. Religious affairs official Aleksandr Kalinov, who was also present at the round table, refused to tell Forum 18 if action will be taken if the Catholic Church does not end the use of foreign priests, but insisted: "No-one is preparing to expel them." The Catholic Church - like the Orthodox Church - also has a number of foreign-born bishops, while other religious communities - including Jews - have foreign religious leaders.