Minsk confident of positive dynamics in relations with EU regardless of dialogue on human rights
Human rights activists have supported the continuation of the EU-Belarus dialogue on human rights, however, they have marked "the lack of significant progress and systemic changes in the field of human rights and freedoms in Belarus”. The state is not interested in strengthening the influence of human rights defenders on the Belarusian-European agenda and their inclusion in the dialogue with the EU on human rights. After the lifting of sanctions, Minsk has been satisfied with the frequency of contacts with Western capitals, including at the highest level. The Belarusian leadership is ready to continue the dialogue with the EU on human rights issues, however without assuming any obligation to systemic changes in the human rights field. Minsk will block the Belarusian human rights community’s initiative to become a full member in the EU-Belarus human rights dialogue.
President Lukashenka has met with the head of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov, who visited Minsk and the Minsk Automobile Plant. Minsk has always sought to have independent links with Russian regional elites, partially, to compensate for the Kremlin's diminishing interest in Belarus. In recent years, Belarus’ contacts with the Russian regions have been extremely intense. However, with some leaders of Russian regions, primarily heads of large republics, communication was more difficult to build. As many analysts in Minsk suggested, Minsk could regard contacts between President Lukashenka and the head of Chechnya as an additional communication channel for relieving tension in relations with the Kremlin. However, most likely, a trusting relationship with Kadyrov is a value for Minsk as such, provided Kadyrov’s broad business and political interests, and a high degree of autonomy for the Chechen leader from the Kremlin.