Key Developments in Belarus and the 2020 Presidential Election
- This event has passed.
Key Developments in Belarus and the 2020 Presidential Election
3 April @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Belarus has received increased international attention over recent years, much of which has focused on Russia’s ambitions towards the country. While Belarus remains a Soviet-style authoritarian state, authorities have loosened their grip on power, a sign many analysts see as an attempt to stay on good terms with the West. Minsk’s own intentions and capabilities remain unclear, and there is uncertainty over what will happen in next year’s presidential election when Alexander Lukashenko looks likely to stand for his sixth consecutive presidential term. This event will look at recent developments in Belarus’ domestic and foreign affairs.
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to welcome you to join Andrei Sannikov for a discussion about the current developments in Belarus and next year’s presidential elections.
Andrei Sannikov is a Belarusian politician and activist. In the early 1990s, he headed the Belarusian delegation on Nuclear and Conventional Weapons Armament Negotiations, also serving as the Belarusian diplomat to Switzerland. From 1995 to 1996, he served as Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus, resigning as a form of political protest. He co-founded the civil action Charter 97, and was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize in 2005. Sannikov was a candidate at the 2010 presidential election in Belarus, and had the second highest percentage of the popular votes after incumbent Alexander Lukashenko.
Dr. Andrew Foxall has been Director of the Russia and Eurasia Studies Centre at the Henry Jackson Society since 2013 and in 2017 became Director of Research. Previously, Andrew held academic positions at the University of Oxford and Queen’s University Belfast. Andrew’s research focuses on economic, political and security trends in Russia and the former Soviet Union. He is the author of Ethnic Relations in Post-Soviet Russia (Routledge, 2014) and numerous academic articles. He has written for publications including the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Telegraph, Times, Foreign Affairs, TIME, Foreign Policy and the Moscow Times, as well as several other journals and newspapers. Andrew has also had his commentary carried in the Washington Post, the Observer and elsewhere. He regularly appears on international media outlets, including the BBC, CNBC, CNN and Sky News. Andrew holds a DPhil from the University of Oxford.
On the 3rd April, the Henry Jackson Society was delighted to host our latest event, “Key Developments in Belarus and the 2020 Presidential Election.” Andrei Sannikov, a Belarussian activist and politician who was the runner up in the 2010 Belarussian presidential elections, spoke with Dr. Andrew Foxall, Director of the Henry Jackson Society’s Russia and Eurasia Studies Centre, regarding the latest developments in Belarussian politics.
In introducing the event, Dr. Foxall described Belarus as ‘Europe’s Last Dictatorship,’ an epithet which it is commonly referred to as. In particular, Dr. Foxall pointed to the rising concerns of Russian influences in Belarus. Recent conversations regarding the relationship between Belarus and NATO potentially strengthening were also mentioned, further giving reason to focus on Belarus’ location within Eastern European politics.
Sannikov began by emphasizing that there was only a recent shift towards focusing on Belarus; in fact, for most of its time the country was relatively ignored or overlooked. In light of recent reports by both Western media and NGOs concerned with the relationship with Russia, Sannikov stated that these reports were not an exaggeration. In fact, he went on to hypothesize that Russian President Putin would make some sort of advance towards Belarus in 2-3 years’ time. Because Alexander Lukashenko had established his regime on a repression of national identity and claims to be a ‘Soviet internationalist,’ it is difficult to garner support abroad for Belarussian issues. Additionally, Sannikov highlighted the fact that there is no such thing as a ‘lesser evil’ in the former Soviet sphere; you cannot support one dictator over another because the fundamental issues still remain.
In speaking about the relationship between Belarus and Russia, Sannikov brought up the fact that Belarus is a hub for smuggling Western food items into Russia after the country was sanctioned. He gave the example of seeing clams and mussels ‘imported from Belarus’ in Russian shops, despite the fact that Belarus is an entirely landlocked country. Belarus has also served as a training ground for Russian military exercises, indicating the fact that Belarus is a part of Russia’s strategic military plans.
Sannikov then moved on to discuss the human rights issues in Belarus. He spoke of his own incarceration after the 2010 Belarussian elections, but also emphasized that it was not only activists who were being imprisoned for political reasons, but also average citizens who occasionally expressed their opinions. Sannikov stated that President Lukashenko was afraid of both political and economic reform, which was part of the reason that both the government and the people of Belarus were suffering economically.
In concluding, Sannikov warned that protests like those that took place in 2010 were likely to happen again. He emphasized the need for real elections and freedom of speech in Belarus. Finally, Sannikov warned that the next two years would see a growth in the opposition, remarking that the lead up to the 2020 elections would be interesting times.
Twenty years after NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia, the Western Balkans countries are beset by economic, political, and social uncertainty. The … Continued
The relationship between Russia and the West is once again deep in crisis. A major reason is that Western leaders … Continued
In late 2013, the People’s Republic of China began building and fortifying islands across a number of reefs in the … Continued
The Wealth Effect: How the Great Expectations of the Middle Class Have Changed the Politics of Banking Crises
The rising wealth of middle class households and voters has transformed the politics of banking crises. At this event, Jeffrey … Continued
In the state elections in December 2018, the big loser was the BJP, which had won 62 of 65 Lok … Continued
Belarus has received increased international attention over recent years, much of which has focused on Russia’s ambitions towards the country. … Continued
With returning IS fighters and uncertainty over Brexit, concerns surrounding human rights, civil liberties and national security have never been … Continued
Putin’s Hostages: Ukrainian Political Prisoners of the Kremlin is a documentary about the roughly 70 Ukrainians political prisoners incarcerated … Continued
In the eyes of many, the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is diminishing. With peace talks … Continued
Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s 29th Prime Minister, on ‘Preserving the Freedom of the Asia Pacific’
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to host Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Former Australian Prime Minister, for a special event chaired … Continued
Five years ago next month, Russia annexed Crimea in the first forcible annexation of the territory of a European country … Continued
Western liberalism is under attack, not only at home also but from newly-emboldened authoritarian states abroad. Across the West, states … Continued
Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies: thriving cities versus the provinces, the … Continued
Though mankind has traded tangible goods for millennia, recent technology has changed the fundamentals of trade, in both legitimate and … Continued
China’s Belt and Road strategy is acknowledged to be the most ambitious geopolitical initiative of the age. Covering almost seventy countries by land … Continued
Why Middle Eastern Jewish Refugees Are Key to Understanding and Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Jews lived continuously in the Middle East and North Africa for almost 3,000 years. But in just 50 years, indigenous communities … Continued
India and Turkey were the two exemplars of twentieth-century ‘secular states’ outside of the West. Professor Sumantra Bose believes that … Continued
The political events of recent years have sent shockwaves throughout the established order of Western liberal democracies. Election after election … Continued
Prof. Andrew Lambert’s new book, Seapower States examines how Britain and four other seapowers used their special identities to inform … Continued
Dave Rich’s updated edition of The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Antisemitism (2018) contends that antisemitism is a … Continued
Moneyland is the secret country of the wealthy and unscrupulous, the place where they put their assets, their children and … Continued
The Afghanistan War has now lasted for 17 years, and estimates suggest has cost the US government upwards of $750 … Continued
The Middle East remains one of the most tumultuous regions in the world today, with its many ethnic and religious … Continued
The past 18 months have seen an immense amount of economic, diplomatic, and even military activity relating to the Korean … Continued
As one of al-Qaeda's most respected bomb-makers, Aimen Dean rubbed shoulders with the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and swore … Continued
The most dangerous threat we face today is no longer military, but rather the increasingly pervasive exposure of our personal … Continued
SPEAKER: Professor Carl Minzner, author, End of an Era China’s reform era is ending. Core factors that characterised its political stability, … Continued
SPEAKERS: His Excellency Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisano - The Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom; Dr. Shimon Samuels - … Continued
SPEAKERS: Dr Michael Green - Author of By More Than Providence and Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair … Continued
In the midst of some great changes in the international system, countries have been left with the qaundry of how … Continued
SPEAKER: Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat The destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 shocked the … Continued
SPEAKERS: Humphrey Hawksley, author of Asian Waters: The Struggle Over the Asia-Pacific and the Strategy of Chinese Expansion ; Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow … Continued
PROFESSOR NIGEL BIGGAR, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford University, in conversation with Douglas Murray The nation-state is … Continued
SPEAKER: EHUD OLMERT, former Prime Minister of Israel It’s been 10 years since the last meaningful peace deal was put … Continued
Whatever one’s feelings toward the outcome of the 2016 US elections, there can be no doubting the historic impact and … Continued
As Britain considers its relationship with Europe, European security has never been more precarious, with Russian revanchism on the rise … Continued
As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, geopolitics is returning to the European continent. Germany and France are squabbling … Continued