October 5 – October 11, 2015

Plan for Russian Air Base Adds Twist to Belarus Election

The situation has not changed
Plan for Russian Air Base Adds Twist to Belarus Election

Elections in this country of 10 million people sandwiched between Russia and the European Union are typically a boring affair: President Alexander Lukashenko, a close ally of Moscow, has won every contest since 1994 and is the clear favorite again ahead of Sunday’s vote.

But this year, Russian ambitions to open an air base in the former Soviet republic amid escalating tensions with the West have injected a surprising twist into the campaign.

Last Sunday, a few hundred people took to the streets of Minsk to protest the planned base—a rare move in an authoritarian country that has violently suppressed political demonstrations and jailed opposition party members.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of prominent Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries on the most topical and relevant issues, including the behind-the-scenes processes occurring in Belarus. These commentaries are available in Belarusian, Russian, and English.

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