Belarus’s parliamentary elections, held on 17 November, were predictably non-transparent, with numerous violations. The regime of Alexander Lukasheka allowed no opposition candidates as members of parliament – in contrast to the previous parliament, in which there were two opposition MPs. While this might seem to be a return to ‘business as usual’, three key takeaways from the elections highlight a shifting political and social landscape.
1. Lukashenka is appeasing his ruling cadre by promising to increase their role in the political system.
With several influential officials becoming new MPs, it is more likely that parliament will be more involved in any forthcoming discussion of a new constitution.… Seguir leyendo »
Will Russia try to occupy Belarus?
Earlier this year, several public figures sounded that alarm, including former NATO general secretary Anders Rasmussen and Washington Post columnist Anne Applebaum. That concern clashes with the idea that Belarus is Russia’s closest ally.
So where did they get that idea? Over the past four months, the Kremlin has been proposing closer ties within the Union State of Russia and Belarus, an agreement that aims toward deeper integration between the two. That treaty was signed in 1997 — but has had few tangible results. Some Russian elites are rumoring that creating a fully functioning union might enable Vladimir Putin to stay in power after he reaches his term limit as president in 2024.… Seguir leyendo »