The recent economic crisis affecting Belarus is seen as one of the harshest the country has ever been through. The government is covered in debts and has difficulties in paying for its imports, as its currency is constantly devalued. Consequently, it is forced to negotiate several economic and financial aid deals. Moreover, degrading relations with the West and unstable relations with Russia show the fragility of the country. Such a situation raises the question of the stability and longevity of the government. How to stay in power in such unfavourable conditions? Lukashenko has found parts of the answer: to reinforce relations with countries like China, Iran or Venezuela that have a similar vision of the world and international relations.
Russia / Caucasia
The radical right in the coalition, protests in the East of the country, crisis with the sister state Russia: the provisional government has lost control over the situation in Ukraine. Helplessness and a lack of transparency seem to have replaced reconciliation and pacification under Arseniy Yatsenyuk's government.
After the fall of the Soviet Union, populism emerged in the Belarusian political context as an effective instrument to come to power and to retain it. A democratically elected president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been governing since 1994; his unique leadership style continuously attracts the attention of the international community, not least because of its populist character.
The past and present of EU-Moldova relations can be framed between two main periods: February 2005, when the joint ENP Action Plan was launched to trigger the first stage of cooperation; and January 2010, when the EU and Moldova started negotiations on an Association Agreement. In this timeline the European Union has continually increased the volume of assistance provided to Moldova, with numbers reaching about 100 million Euros annually until 2013, according to the data provided by the Moldovan Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration. Nevertheless, the real perspectives of EU integration of Moldova are just as unclear now as they were six years ago. How did these perspectives develop over time and to what extent were the reforms truly implemented in Moldova? And, generally speaking, is the EU integration of the country a feasible idea in the near or far future ?
Throughout Belarus nowadays, mass protests are organized through social media. The organizers of these protests might however never be successful. This once again confirms that the opposition in Belarus enjoys minimal support among the population.
According to the Constitution, Belarus is a democratic state. The reality is however somewhat different. The opposition’s representatives define the current Belarusian regime as authoritarian and the national government also admits that Belarusian 'democracy' is significantly different from the western concept. What are the causes of these differences?
In the aftermath of the Orange Revolution of 2004 and following the Ukraine-Russia energy crises of 2005-09, the country’s ‘Western shift’ towards the EU appeared to be a mere question of time. Five years later, these expectations turned out to be too optimistic. How to explain the ‘enlargement fatigue’ on both sides of the frontier between Ukraine and the EU? And what influence can the UK have on the process?
Many remember the European Union presidency of French leader Sarkozy and its strong management of the Russia-Georgia conflict in August 2008. During one summer, the EU seemed at last to act like a global player. Yet some analysts suggest that the influence of France and the EU on the solution of the crisis was clearly overrated.