Belarus will proceed with policy of balancing
Belarus hopes to reduce regional security threats with a new negotiation process, since the policy of balancing between the warring parties is close to exhaustion, as the West-2017 military exercises have demonstrated.
The West-2017 exercises have been held without significant excesses in terms of regional security, and confirmed that Belarus, even in alliance with Russia, was not a regional threat. The Belarusian authorities controlled the number of troops and weapons, the order and location of the exercises in Belarus and the compliance with the approved and promulgated scenario. Conventionally, Belarus has failed in providing adequate information coverage for the exercises.
However, these shortcomings had little impact on the overall outcome of the exercises for the region: Russia held an intimidation action and demonstrated its ability to create regional military threats around the perimeter - at training facilities in the Kaliningrad, Leningrad and Pskov regions and in Belarus in the framework of the West-2017 exercises; in the Astrakhan region within the framework of Combat Commonwealth-2017; at the troops training facilities in their permanent deployment areas, and, according to NATO spokesman O. Lungescu, in the Arctic, the Far East, the Black Sea near the border with Ukraine, and also in Abkhazia.
The growing hostility between Russia and all other Belarus’ neighbours has prompted the latter to look for ways to relax tension in the region. Foreign Minister Makey at the UN General Assembly last week attempted to promote the idea of negotiations in Minsk between Russia, the EU, China and the US, to work out common approaches to regional security and consolidate mutual commitments. Minsk is likely to continue the policy of balancing, strengthening mutual trust with the EU, the US and China, while continuing close cooperation with Russia.
During searches of social and "green" activists and anarchists, law enforcement has seized computers, mobile phones and publications. The authorities have also exerted additional pressure on supporters of unauthorized street protests and independent lawyers, who represented defendants in the White Legion case. The security services have stepped up the persecution of opponents before the street protests announced by the opposition. Apparently, the Belarusian authorities aspire that participants in street protests would reduce in number and that the low interest of the population to socio-political agenda before the local election campaign would retain.