March 4 – March 10, 2024
Belarus-West relations

“Blessed is he who believes?” The regime claims to have adapted to Western pressure

The situation has not changed
“Blessed is he who believes?” The regime claims to have adapted to Western pressure

Belarusian officials assert successful adaptation to Western sanctions. However, constant complaints about transportation and financial blockades aimed at destabilizing the situation within the country indicate the instability of this process.

On March 6th, a meeting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Belarus was held, dedicated to the results of foreign policy and economic activities in 2023, as well as tasks for the current year. The Prime Minister stated: Belarus has adapted its economy to operate under “illegal and harsh restrictions,” by reformatting its export direction.

According to the results of 2023, the volumes of deliveries to friendly countries exceeded the losses of exports to Western, Ukrainian, and other markets by USD 1.8 billion. Nevertheless, the task for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to increase export flows was named the main priority for 2024. This is despite the official Minsk’s boast of maintaining trade relations with more than 200 countries (there are officially 197 countries in the world – ed.) and territories, and exporting to 160 states.

In turn, the head of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Sergey Aleinik, focused on the fact that Belarus is going through a difficult stage of full transformation of international relations, starting from the complete breakdown of the old and the formation of a new reality in the world. The architecture of global and regional security is practically destroyed: the factor of force has been put at the forefront. According to him, the reasons for this are in the forming multipolar and more equitable world order, categorically unacceptable for the collective West.

Western countries are trying to maintain political and financial-economic dominance by any means and at any cost. And therefore, they allegedly no longer restrain themselves in aggressive actions, use all possible pressure tools, neglecting the basic human rights – including their own citizens.

Therefore, in 2023, the Belarusian Ministry of Foreign Affairs continued its work and achieved positive results in protecting and strengthening national positions on the international stage, developing interaction with tested and new partners, expanding exports with an emphasis on diversification. This primarily concerns relations with countries of the “far arc” and the Global South (interaction with China, the UAE, Iran, Zimbabwe, Equatorial Guinea, Kenya, Vietnam was intensified).

Despite optimism regarding adaptation to Western sanctions, the transportation and financial blockade of Belarus raises serious concern at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. At the same time, Aleinik states: Minsk will strongly seek the resumption of free movement of vital, primarily humanitarian goods. The diplomat believes that through sanction pressure, the West directly aims to provoke a deep socio-economic crisis in Belarus with further political consequences.

Apparently, such a nervous reaction from Minsk is related to the initiative of Poland and the Baltic states to introduce an embargo on the supply of agricultural products from Belarus and Russia and its transit through the territory of the EU. Although Belarus’s losses in this case are estimated at only USD 100 million a year, mirror coordinated actions with Russia could significantly destabilize the situation on the internal markets of these countries.

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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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