Political Trends in the New Eastern Europe: Ukraine and Belarus

  • June 01, 2007
  • Dr Arkady Moshes, Dr Vitali Silitski

This monograph contains two individual reports: Belarus and Russia: Comradeship-in-Arms in Preempting Democracy by Dr. Vitali Silitski and Ukraine: Domestic Changes and Foreign Policy Reconfiguration by Dr. Arkady Moshes. Belarus remains the last true dictatorship in Europe, and as such, its internal and external security agenda is an abiding matter of concern to the European and Western communities. But its trajectory is of equal concern to Moscow, which has been the prime external supporter and subsidizer of the Belarussian government under President Alyaksandr’ Lukashenka. But despite this support, tensions between Moscow and Minsk are growing. The brief energy cutoffs imposed by Moscow at the start of the year and Belarus’ retaliation shows that not all is well in that relationship. Not surprisingly, Lukashenka has now turned back to the West for foreign support, but it will not be forthcoming without significant domestic reform which is quite unlikely. Ukraine presents a different series of puzzles and challenges to Western leaders and audiences. It too has suffered from Russian energy coercion, but its political system is utterly different from Belarus and in a state of profound turmoil. Therefore, precise analysis of what has occurred and what is currently happening in Ukraine is essential to a correct understanding of trends there that can then inform sound policymaking.