September 5 – September 11, 2016

Minsk hopes to use Tbilisi lobbying capacity

The situation has not changed
Minsk hopes to use Tbilisi lobbying capacity

In late August, the Belarusian KGB leadership made their first visit ever to Tbilisi. The Belarusian secret service and the State Security Service of Georgia signed the cooperation agreement. Neither the state media, nor the KGB reported about this. Minsk is interested in building political cooperation with Georgia, which is a part of the strategy to restore relations with the West without changing the political system in Belarus.

The special services of the two countries aim to cooperate in fighting against terrorism, corruption, international crime and combat crimes against state security. That said, in October 2016, the parliamentary elections will be held in Georgia and the chances for the party of former president Mikhail Saakashvili to form a government are rather high. Minsk has positive cooperation experience with Saakashvili. In addition, the Belarusian authorities are very interested in having lobbying opportunities in Washington, where the former Georgian president apparently has strong positions.

The undemocratic nature of the ruling regime in Belarus is clearly an obstacle for the full-scale cooperation with the West. In the given circumstances, the Belarusian authorities are seeking so to say ‘guarantors’ in relations with Brussels and Washington among post-soviet states, with which they could have both, value-based and pragmatic (including on regional security) cooperation.

The Belarusian authorities have the intention to preserve the existing political regime intact. In the process of improving relations with the US and the EU, Minsk is seeking to gain maximum benefits with minimal reciprocal steps, including through contacts and lobbying capabilities of some countries in the region, which could promote Belarus’ interests in the West. Minsk is likely to boost cooperation with Poland, Ukraine, Georgia and the Baltic States on economy, politics and security issues.

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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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