Belarus’ Lukashenko rejects calls for reforms
Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko at his swearing-in ceremony has rejected calls for economic reforms.
Lukashenko, who has ruled Belarus since 1994, was elected for his fifth term in office last month in a vote boycotted by the opposition. He said on Friday he will not pursue structural reforms because they are fraught with "revolution or a civil war."
Despite raised hopes, a full turn toward Europe seems unlikely.
Do recent events indicate that Belarus could fully turn towards Europe and pull away from Russia politically? In the last few months, a number of developments have excited observers in international media and revitalised old debates about the former Soviet country’s future. But despite positive indications, a broader view suggests that this prediction may be overly optimistic.
In the judgment of most media freedom or democracy indexes, the Eastern European country is labelled as one of the worst in Europe and in recent years Belarus has shown no tangible progress towards establishing a free media atmosphere.