Russia Plays It Cool With Belarus

The only actor that is confident about the future of the election drama is Moscow.

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On Sept. 23, Alexander Lukashenko officially took office as president of Belarus again. It wasn’t your typical inauguration ceremony, the date of which was kept secret until recently and which was attended by only 700 or so government officials. Anti-government protesters, already upset about what they consider a sham election, are even angrier. Protests this Sunday are expected to be even larger than the previous Sunday’s, which boasted 100,000 people. It’s unclear how exactly this will shake out. On the one hand, Lukashenko hasn’t completely cracked down on the protests, and efforts to do so may fail. On the other hand, the opposition has yet to overwhelm the president – either through labor strikes or by crippling the government. No matter what happens, the Belarusian people will have to count on the good graces of Russia – which is exactly what Russia wants. That’s because neither the inauguration nor protests have solved Belarus’ problems. Lukashenko may stay, or he may go, but either outcome will be inclined to maintain good ties with Moscow. Another Lukashenko term certainly means that he will continue relations with Russia. Relations between Minsk and Moscow are periodically overshadowed by trade and economic disputes, but Lukashenko […]

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Ekaterina Zolotova
Ekaterina Zolotova is an analyst for Geopolitical Futures. Prior to Geopolitical Futures, Ms. Zolotova participated in several research projects devoted to problems and prospects of Russia’s integration into the world economy. Ms. Zolotova has a specialist degree in international economic relations from Plekhanov Russian University of Economics. In addition, Ms. Zolotova studied international trade and international integration processes. Her thesis was on features of economic development of Venezuela. She speaks native Russian and is fluent in English.