If Belarus Falls

Russian military control of Belarus would be an existential threat to Poland.

In recent years, Russia’s hand has stretched farther and farther – into Georgia, Ossetia, Abkhazia, Crimea, Donbass, Armenia, the Black Sea, Syria and Libya. But Belarus, a country about the size of Kansas, has deftly maintained its strategic autonomy through 26 years under President Alexander Lukashenko. Now, however, Lukashenko’s leadership – and Belarus’ independence – is in doubt after months of protests following the country’s disputed presidential election. If Belarus were to fall to Russia, the impact on the countries between the Baltic and Black seas – especially Poland – would be on par with Germany’s absorption and partition of Czechoslovakia before World War II. To put it bluntly, there is a fundamental difference if Russian combat units, particularly the 1st Guards Tank Army, are stationed in Belarus, with all the necessary heavy logistics units, versus the status quo where they can only “rotate into” allied maneuvers, have unreliable air defenses, and are reliant on long-range reconnaissance. Such a transformation on Poland’s eastern front would force Warsaw to change its force posture, its contingency planning and possibly its force modernization plans. A Precedented Threat Warsaw has seen threats like this before. In the interwar period, until the fall of Czechoslovakia, Germany could […]

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Jacek Bartosiak
Jacek Bartosiak is an expert in geopolitics and geostrategy and a senior analyst with Geopolitical Futures. He is founder and owner of Strategy & Future. Dr. Bartosiak is the author of three books: Pacific and Eurasia: About the war (2016), dealing with the upcoming rivalry of great powers in Eurasia and about the potential war in the western Pacific; The Commonwealth between land and sea: On war and peace (2018), on the geostrategic situation of Poland and Europe in the era of rivalry between powers in Eurasia; and The Past is a Prologue on geopolitical changes in the modern world. In addition he is Director of the War Games and Simulation Program of the Pulaski Foundation; Senior Fellow at The Potomac Foundation in Washington, co-founder of "Play of Battle", which prepares military simulations; associate of the New Confederation and the New Generation Warfare Center in Washington; member of the advisory team of the Government Plenipotentiary for Central Communication Port (2017-2018), president of the board of the company Centralny Port Komunikacyjny Sp. z o. o. (2018–2019). Dr. Bartosiak speaks at conferences on the strategic situation in Central and Eastern Europe, The Western Pacific and Asia. He graduated from the Faculty of Law and Administration at the University of Warsaw, and is a managing partner at a law firm dealing with business services since 2004.