Presidential candidate Karatkevich campaigns against foreign military bases in Belarus
Presidential candidate Tatsyana Karatkevich staged an hour-long campaign event in downtown Minsk on Tuesday, during which she and members of her team demonstrated against foreign military bases in Belarus.
Passers-by could read the candidate’s election platform, which says that foreign military presence in Belarus runs counter to the constitutional principle of neutrality.
According to the platform, Ms. Karatkevich believes that membership in any military blocs may involve the country in foreign armed conflicts. She pledges to pursue a "truly multi-vector foreign policy" and remove all foreign military facilities from the territory of Belarus.
“You know that Russia plans to establish an airbase in Belarus,” Ms. Karatkevich said. “It is bad that they are apparently going to make a decision on this issue without asking for our opinion. We believe that authorities should take people’s opinion into consideration while making such decisions. That is why we launched the People’s Referendum campaign two years ago.”
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.