April 1 – April 7, 2019
Belarus-West relations

A lull in relations with the West

The situation got worse
A lull in relations with the West

Last week was unusually quiet for Belarus’ western policy direction. However, it should not be associated with qualitative changes, rather with a pause after a series of high-level visits and numerous events of the past weeks and months.

The dismantling of crosses in Kurapaty by the Belarusian authorities has prompted a broad negative media coverage, including by Western media: BBC, the Associated Press, The Washington Post and others.

Polish Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz condemned the dismantling of crosses and urged the Belarusian authorities “to honor the memory of the victims of Stalinist repressions with dignity”. Probably, his statement could also be interpreted as a kind of Polish response to the recent Polish-Belarusian aggravation over the Romuald Rajs case.

Simultaneously, the Polish Foreign Ministry proposed new initiatives within the Eastern Partnership, which marks 10 years’ anniversary this year. Polish Foreign Minister Czaputowicz proposed to establish an institution of chairmanship within the Eastern Partnership and invite EaP countries to participate in some EU meetings, for example, on trade matters.

On the one hand, there is a lull in high-level communication between Minsk and Western states, but on the other, the parties send each other rather conflicting signals: either related to negative domestic policies or to making attempts to appeal to the Belarusian authorities with potentially deeper interaction with the EU.

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Once a week, in coordination with a group of leading Belarusian analysts, we provide analytical commentaries to the most topical and relevant issues, including on behind the scenes processes ongoing in Belarus, in Russian and English.

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