The Presidential Elections in Belarus

The opposition is divided, and that's a good thing for President Alexander Lukashenko.

On Aug. 9, Belarus will hold presidential elections at a time when the country has never faced so many threats from so many directions. That’s according to incumbent President Alexander Lukashenko, who has held office since 1994. Self-serving as that may be, he may also have a point. Belarus is divided between opposition groups that want to bring it closer to Europe, and thus away from Russia, and groups that want the opposite. For Lukashenko, who has generally sided with Russia in his time in office, confronting the public divide means grappling with the geopolitical issues critical to Belarus’ future. In that sense, he has two objectives: one, to maintain the country’s sovereignty by balancing between Russia and the West, and two, to stay in power long enough to do it. Short of a Western-backed revolution – which doesn’t appear to be on the table – his position is secure. Stuck in the Middle Lukashenko understands his country’s dilemma, stuck as it is between Russia and Europe, and he knows the conflict in Ukraine only makes it worse. He’s gone so far as to warn that Belarus could revert back to its 1921 borders. Territorial loss is extremely unlikely, but […]

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Ridvan Bari Urcosta
Mr. Urcosta joins Geopolitical Futures as an analyst with wide experience in the Black Sea region, Russia and the Middle East, Ukraine and Crimea as a geopolitical region and Eastern Europe. He is a PhD Candidate at the Centre for Strategic Studies, University of Warsaw and he also teaches an independent ERASMUS course: “Russia and the Middle East: Geopolitics and Diplomacy.” He was born in Abkhazia, Georgia where he lived until the onset of the Civil War. In the early 1990’s he moved to Crimea where he lived until its annexation by Russia. At the moment of annexation he worked in the Sevastopol State Administration. Right after annexation he worked as a Human Rights Officer in Odessa, Ukraine in the UN Human Rights Monitoring Mission. Mr. Urcosta graduated from the Estonian Diplomatic Academy in 2015 and completed The Indigenous Fellowship Programme (IFP) in 2017, a comprehensive human rights training program, that was established by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Geneva. In 2018 he gave a speech at the UN Human Rights Council about the human rights situation in annexed by Russian Federation Crimea. Previously Mr. Urcosta has provided insights to different analytical centers including the European Council on Foreign Relations, Jamestown Foundation, War Room (U.S. War College) The Proceedings (U.S. Naval Institute), Jerusalem Post and others. He previously worked as an assistant to the Head of the Mejlis of the Crimean Tatar people, a single supreme plenipotentiary representative and executive body of the Crimean Tatar people. He speaks Polish, Russian, English, Ukrainian, Crimean Tatar and Turkish. Moreover, Ridvan works as Senior analyst at the Polish think tank "Strategy&Future" with Jacek Bartosiak (Warsaw, Poland).