Sanctions Suspended, Belarusian Airlines, Warsaw Conference - Ostrogorski Centre Digest
In the past month, Belarus’s authorities have continued to benefit from balancing between east and west.
The EU suspended sanctions against Belarus in response to the nonviolent presidential election, and in the east Belarus continues to enjoy the benefits of Russia-Ukraine tensions.
Igar Gubarevich analyzes the steps the foreign ministry took to use the presidential elections as a tool to strengthen the positive relations trend between Belarus and the West. In another article he shows how Belarus’s national air carrier, Belavia, tries to profit from the suspension of air traffic between Ukraine and Russia.
In his analysis of recent alcohol policies, Vadzim Smok shows that despite a huge problem with alcoholism in Belarus, the authorities seem unwilling to introduce consistent anti-alcohol measures. They effectively use it both as a tool to calm social discontent and a lucrative revenue source.
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.