Belarus’ foreign policy under stress: current and future challenges

April 22, 2016 19:37

SEMINAR INVITATION

Collegium Civitas and the Centre for Eastern Studies invite you to an academic-diplomatic seminar

Belarus’ foreign policy under stress: current and future challenges

Collegium Civitas, Friday 11 December, 15-17h, Aula 1222 

What determines the foreign policy interests, priorities and practices of a post-Soviet republic such as Belarus? A landlocked country economically dependent on Russian subsidies and energy transit, Belarus has been striving for the past 25 years to maintain its independence, while also defending its authoritarian governance model against the contagion of colour revolutions and democratisation. In spite of Moscow’s continuous support to Aliaksander Lukashenka’s regime, bilateral relations with Russia are not conflict-free.

Formally a neutral, non-aligned country eager to preserve peaceful relations with all its neighbours, Belarus is, in fact, closely integrating with Russia, and plays the role of a buffer state pivotal to the security architecture of the Eurasian space as it is currently being reshaped by the Kremlin. Yet the stiffening of Russian policies towards Ukraine has put Belarusian diplomacy under considerable pressure. In condemning the Russian annexation of Crimea Lukashenka tried to preserve Belarus’s relationship with Ukraine and to improve his image in the West by offering his mediation in the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Even if it is not interested in accession to the European Union, the Belarusian regime has not fully turned its back on Brussels either. Instead, Belarus as an Eastern Partner is trying to normalise relations with the EU on its own terms, hoping for a pragmatic turn towards cooperation void of democratic conditionality. How to assess this diplomatic strategy? What challenges lie ahead?

This seminar will examine Belarus’s “multi-vector” foreign policy priorities in a long term perspective with a view at identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the regime’s international survival strategy in a fast changing geopolitical environment. Looking at the structural determinants of Belarus’s foreign policy behaviour, speakers will highlight the specificities of Minsk’s foreign relations (with Russia/the Eurasian Union, Ukraine, Poland and the EU, among others) and discuss the future prospects of Belarus’s international subjectivity and actorness. 

Programme 

Chair: Anaïs Marin, Assistant Professor, Marie Curie Fellow, Collegium Civitas (Warsaw) 

Speakers:

Arseni Sivitski, Director of the Centre for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies (CSFPS, Minsk)

Shifts in the foreign policy and military doctrine of Belarus

 

Anaïs Marin, Assistant Professor, Marie Curie Fellow, Collegium Civitas (Warsaw)

External means of authoritarian regime-survival: President Lukashenka’s “dictaplomacy”

 

Anna Maria Dyner, Eastern Europe Programme Coordinator, Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM, Warsaw)

Poland and Belarus – time of technical relations

 

Discussant: Wojciech Konończuk, Researcher, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW, Warsaw)

 

Working language: English. This is an open event, but prior registration is required: please send an e-mail to agata.olbrycht@civitas.edu.pl before 10 December to register.

 

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 659083 piloted by Dr Anaïs Marin

 (http://cordis.europa.eu/project/rcn/195717_en.html)