EU confronted with too many candidacies

By Nina Bachkatov

Since the beginning of the war in Ukraine, Europeans have never left any doubts about their support for the victim of an aggression by a country already identified as the main threat to the continent’s security and to the Western values. Now, in a couple of weeks, this support has, and will be, tested. In an acceleration initiated from Brussels, EU found itself facing a decisive step in his development. It has to decide by the end of June to grant, or not, the status of candidates to EU membership to Ukraine, lately extended to Georgia and Moldova. This normally very slow process changed gear on 8 April. During her visit in Kiev, the EU Commission president Ursula von der Leyen handed to “dear Volodymyr” the questionnaire his country had to complete it if wants to receive EU candidate status. It consists in 2 parts: one contains political and economic criteria and the second one includes an evaluation of the compliance of Ukrainian legislation with the legal acts of the European Union.

Please continue reading page 2

The latest gamble of president Lukashenko

By Nina Bachkatov

The vagaries of present international relations were highlighted on 24 May, when the agenda of the EU summit was highjacked by the forced landing of a Ryanair flight bound from Athens to Vilnius, at Minsk airport, to arrest an anti-Lukashenko’s blogger. EU leaders were expected to discuss EU relations with “aggressive” Russia and “post-Brexit” United Kingdom during the opening dinner; then, the following day, to move to key issues affecting European lives, such as climate changes and fighting the Covid epidemy. The manoeuvre of President Lukashenko cannot have been left without response, but it provided EU with the unexpected opportunity to demonstrate its decisiveness and unity, at very short notice. Continue reading “The latest gamble of president Lukashenko”

The religious touch in Belarus

By Nina Bachkatov

Since August, Belarus looks like a ‘semi-frozen’ conflict zone. The country is deeply divided, between resilient but resolute opposition, rigid and brutal authorities, competition between opponents who are in exile and those who stayed in the country. In consequence, a political vacuum had developed that is calling for foreign and national troublemakers to step in. Continue reading “The religious touch in Belarus”

Belarus lessons

By Nina Bachkatov

Whatever might happen in Belarus, the crisis that shacked the country is teaching lessons about the limits of antidemocratic regimes and the limits of outsiders’ influence. Weeks after his disputed reelection, Alexandr Lukashenko, president since 1994, is still confronted to an unusual form of contestation while his opponents face a president unwilling to follow the path of former Ukrainian president Yanukovich. Continue reading “Belarus lessons”

The new regional axis Minsk-Kiev

By Nina Bachkatov and Andrew Wilson

Belarus president does not want the world to forget that the first agreements on Donbass were signed in its capital, Minsk, in February 2015, and that it represented a diplomatic success for the man still qualified at the time by Westerners as “the last dictator of Europe”. It led indeed to a thaw in the relations between Belarus, the European Union and Washington without antagonising Moscow. Continue reading “The new regional axis Minsk-Kiev”