In Eastern Europe, Slow Change Can Have a Big Impact

Three seemingly unconnected developments offer a peek into the region’s future.

|April 26, 2018

By Jacob L. Shapiro

In Eastern Europe, events that may seem disconnected are often intertwined, even ones that at first glance don’t seem that important. This week, there were three developments that together are signs of changes that, over time, will reshape this region and beyond. In Belarus, President Alexander Lukashenko said in his annual address to the nation that the country was not ready for a more equitable distribution of power and would not follow the path of Armenia, where the prime minister resigned this week following protests. In Turkey, pro-government newspaper Yeni Safak reported that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will hold a campaign rally in Sarajevo, the capital of Bosnia-Herzegovina, on May 20. And in Poland and Lithuania, a two-day economic forum was held and included participants from both governments.

Let’s start with the remarks from the Belarusian president. Belarus is Russia’s only remaining reliable partner in Eastern Europe, and eve

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