On May 31st, at 12.00 o’clock in Radisson Blu Ridzene Hotel the Centre for East European Policy studies will be presenting its newest book “Belarusian Foreign Policy: 360°”.
In what ways have relations changed between Belarus and Russia after the annexation of Crimea? How serious is Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s criticism for Russia? Is Minsk interested and capable of manoeuvring enough in order to change the basic vectors of its foreign policy? How should the improvement of relations between Minsk and Kyiv after the annexation of Crimea be treated? What is likely to happen during the military exercise Zapad 2017 and beyond? The answers to these questions will be given by a team of international scholars from Latvia, Lithuania, Belarus, Ukraine and Russia.
The new book will be presented by its editor – CEEPS’s Executive director Andis Kudors and co-authors of the book – Dr. sc.pol. Nora Vanaga, senior researcher at the Centre for Security and Strategic Research at the National Defence Academy of Latvia, Andrei Yeliseyeu, social scientist and investigative journalist, co-founder and a Research Fellow of the Eurasian States in Transition (EAST) Research Centre, Alena Artsiomenka, lecturer at the Social Communication Department, BSU, and Political and Social Sciences Department of EHU, works at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies. Also, present at the presentation will be Artsiom Shraibman – the political editor of Belarusian portal TUT.BY. Presentation will be moderated by – Māris Cepuritis, researcher at the Centre for East European Policy Studies, co-author of the book.
The aim of this volume is to give an inclusive look at the factors that have influenced the foreign policy position of Belarus in regard to neighbouring countries (with special attention to Russia), EU and NATO, after the annexation of Crimea in 2014.
In the introduction to the book, editor Andis Kudors outlines the positions that Belarus has taken upon in recent years. Straight after the illegitimate annexation of Crimea in 2014 the internal and external policy of Belarus experienced a renewed, focused attention by foreign experts and politicians. Belarus suddenly realized that the idea of sister nations, destined to “stay together forever” – Ukrainians and Russians, did not protect the former from aggression by the latter. Therefore, the negative attitude of the president of Belarus – when mentioning ‘the Russian world’ – is understandable. Special emphasis is being put on the need to respect the sovereignty and independence of Belarus. Although Lukashenka has taken steps towards ‘soft Belarusization’ after the annexation of Crimea, and sharply criticised Russia’s price-forming policy on energy resources, the West should have no illusions about the real space of manoeuvre for the foreign policy of Belarus. The unreformed Belarussian economy is very dependent on Russia’s benevolence, therefore the space of manoeuvre for Mr. Lukashenka is indeed quite limited.
Russian military expert Aleksander Golts is arguing in his article that “[..] Moscow’s expansionism and revanchism calls into question the sovereignty of Belarus, as well as the right of Lukashenka to make all the decisions regarding his state by himself. It can be assumed that in the future it will be increasingly harder for Moscow to link the economic benefits for Belarus with the participation of Minsk in military preparations. While Belarus, in turn, will seek to avoid such participation.”
The presentations working language will be English.
This book is being published with the financial support of the Friedrich Ebert foundation.
The program of the event available here.