Belarus

  • Between Russia and the West: Belarus as a Challenge for European Stability and Security

    This paper aims to explain that the stable situation of Belarus is important for Western Europe and why any fluctuations may present a challenge for European integrity and stability. Belarus, since the beginning of its independence in 1991 seems to show a great willingness to cooperate closely with Russia, claiming Western Europe and NATO as a potential enemy. In reality, the Belarusian position is much more complicated and ambiguous. Despite it’s close military cooperation with Russia, different tensions between Minsk and Moscow regularly happen and Belarusian authorities are still looking for new foreign partners and new energy suppliers (what was clearly visible in the last months of 2016 and the first period of 2017). Russia, old Belarusian partner, may actually even pose a threat for Belarus, so the country’s authorities have a hard challenge to maintain its stability. Western countries may be open for a new chapter of cooperation with Minsk but any rapid changes in Belarusian foreign preferences may result in unpredictable results and Moscow reaction that – in turn – would be very challenging for the whole European stability and security. 

  • Itogi rossijjsko-belorusskikh otnoshenijj: 2000–2016

    The essence of Russia’s relations with Belarus after the end of the 20th century boils down to a specific kind of balance. Thanks to its presence in the institutional forms of close cooperation such as the CSTO, the Union State or the Eurasian Economic Union Minsk enjoys the openness of Russian market and very low prices of imported resources (especially crude oil and gas). What Moscow receives in return can be classified as a sort of intangible goods: greater prestige and a „friendly hegemonic” position in international relations. The balance of the game falls in favor of Lukashenko who takes advantage of his country’s location between the Russian Federation and the EU: Moscow is permanently blackmailed with the possibility of Minsk’s hypothetical turn toward the Western partners.

  • Belorussko-rossijjskie otnoshenija s perspektivy Minska: formalnyjj sojuz i fakticheskaja dezintegracija

    This article is devoted to the analysis of integration and disintegration processes that occurred between Belarus and Russia after the signing the 1996 Treaty establishing the Community of the two countries. Particular attention is paid to the state of relations in 2014-2015 – after the beginning of the military conflict in Ukraine and the economic crisis in Belarus and Russia. The author points to several trends on three levels of cooperation. Politically, the countries disintegrate, as they become aware of the difference between their interests in bilateral relations and on the international arena. Economic cooperation remains at a high level, but deep integration is impossible, as the economic crisis forced Belarus to seek opportunities for economic development elsewhere. Military cooperation, in turn, reaches the limit of integration that Minsk is willing to accept: its manifestation was a refusal of Belarus to place a Russian military base on its territory. Moreover, Belarus has taken several steps to reduce its military dependence on Russia. Thus, the dynamics of the Belarusian-Russian relations allows to say that in the near future the country will continue formal integration, while in practice that means maintaining the “status quo” or even further disintegration.

  • Nowe otwarcie w polityce Litwy wobec Białorusi? Relacje litewsko-białoruskie po 2006 r.

    In the first half of 1990s, Lithuanian–Belarusian relationships were characterised by their low intensity. This situation remained unchanged also when Alexander Lukashenko came to power in Belarus in 1994. Lithuania and Belarus followed a completely different course in their political, economic and military integration. The European and Atlantic course won in the Lithuanian politics, while in the Belarusian politics the Eastern direction prevailed. After presidential elections in 2001, bilateral relations in Belarus were frozen. Only in 2007 there was a convergence of Lithuanian and Belarusian interests, when increasing Russian influence started to pose a threat to their sovereignty. There was a new opening in Lithuanian policy towards Belarus. Political and economic cooperation tightened. An extent of Lithuanian investments in Belarus also increased. Belarus has played an increasingly important role in Lithuanian politics. Lithuania also acts as a mediator in a conflict between Belarus and EU. Both countries also criticised Russian involvement in the Ukrainian conflict. In the nearest future, further development of economic and political cooperation between these two countries should be expected.

  • Rozwój lokalnych i odnawialnych źródeł energii na Białorusi stan obecny i perspektywy

    In 2010, Byelorussia undertook an ambitious plan to reduce dependence of its energy sector on supplies of Russian energy sources. In accordance with the adapter concept, participation of local fuels in the country’s energy balance is to increase from 20.7% in 2010 to 32% in 2020. Implementation of the strategy for increasing participation of local and renewable energy sources in the country’s energy and fuel balance encounters numerous problems. Insufficient financial resources, corruption scandals in the background, and problems with finding foreign investors seem to jeopardise chances for implementation of the government strategy concerning the renewable energy sources. Thus, Byelorussia will still remain a country strongly dependant on supplies of Russian natural gas.

  • Perspektywy modernizacji białoruskiej energetyki w latach 2011–2016

    The paper attempts to estimate chances for modernisation of the Byelorussian Energy system in the years 2011–2016. In accordance with the government strategy, in 2015 Byelorussia is to become an energy independent country. The ambitious government plan provides for modernisation of several tens of power facilities. It also aims at reducing the dependence of the domestic energy sector on Russian energy sources. However, the modernisation plans of the energy system include a significant risk, as their financing largely depends on obtaining foreign loans. The current implementation rate of the government strategy indicates that chances for modernising the outdated Byelorussian energy system are small. Only commissioning of a nuclear power plant will end Byelorussian problems with electric power shortages.

  • The Chinese People’s Republic Investment Engagement in Belarus and Ukraine after 2010

    The purpose of this article is to present and compare China’s economic, political and military involvement in Ukraine and Belarus, with particular emphasis on their role in the global expansion of the PRC. China after the opening of the economy to the world in the early 1980s, immediately became one of the most important elements of the global economy. The article will attempt an analysis of Chinese investments on the Dnieper, but also the political and military aspects of this cooperation.

  • Kresy Wschodnie w białoruskiej szkolnej narracji

    Problemem podjętym w artykule jest sposób przekazu przez system edukacji szkolnej Republiki Białoruś wiedzy dotyczącej znajdowania się części ziem Białorusi w granicach II Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej. Głównym uzasadnieniem wyboru tematu jest to, iż odpowiednio sformułowany program nauczania może wpływać na kształtowanie świadomości narodowej. Praca oparta jest na oryginalnych wynikach badań materiałów szkolnych używanych w systemie szkolnictwa Republiki Białoruś. W ramach rozprawy został opracowany model teoretyczny przedstawienia kresów w okresie międzywojennym w literaturze szkolnej Białorusi. Znaczącym elementem w badaniu jest uwzględnienie autorskich intencji zawartych w tekście oraz celowo stworzonego przez białoruskich historyków wizerunku Polaków oraz Rzeczpospolitej Polskiej. W wyniku przeprowadzonego opracowania został wyszczególniony charakterystyczny sposób postrzegania przez system białoruskiej edukacji II Rzeczypospolitej Polskiej, a także procesów odbywających się w tym okresie na ziemiach Zachodniej Białorusi. W rozprawie przyjęto tezę, zgodnie z którą Republika Białoruś w podręcznikach dla uczniów stwarza obraz wroga zewnętrznego, którego rolę w jej przypadku pełni Polska oraz Polacy.

  • Poczucie tożsamości oraz funkcjonowanie w wymiarze społecznym studentów pochodzących z Białorusi, Ukrainy i Rosji studiujących na polskich uczelniach

    Coraz więcej studentów z Europy Wschodniej studiuje w polskich uczelniach. Polska jest dla nich krajem bliskim kulturowo, w którym mogą zdobyć dyplomy uznawane w Europie przy niskich kosztach utrzymania. Wymiar tożsamościowy jest niezwykle ważny, wręcz kluczowy, warunkuje bowiem pojawienie się postaw otwartości lub zamknięcia się na kulturę przyjmującą i replikację tejże postawy wobec języka kraju gospodarza, aktywności na rynku pracy i gotowości wchodzenia w grupy wtórne w społeczeństwie przyjmującym. Przeprowadzone badania wykazały, ze studenci z Białorusi, Ukrainy i Rosji chcą integrować się z polskim społeczeństwem, pozostają jednak bierni i rzadko włączają się życie społeczne uczelni i środowiska lokalnego, nie promują też swojej kultury ojczystej. Społeczeństwo polskie nie jest bowiem otwarte na Innego. W grupie badanej zaobserwowano częste wskazania na uczucie przygnębienia, jakie towarzyszy studentom podczas pobytu w Polsce – jest to spowodowane niewydolnością systemu administracji państwowej, która odpowiada za legalizację pobytu cudzoziemców w Polsce. Postuluje się potrzebę stworzenia stanowisk uczelnianych i wydziałowych koordynatorów do spraw studentów cudzoziemskich, którzy pomagaliby w adaptacji i funkcjonowaniu tych studentów w uczelni i środowisku lokalnym. Za zasadne uznaje się wprowadzenie wolontariackiej instytucji studenta opiekuna, który pomagałby nowo przyjętym studentom w pierwszych miesiącach studiów (kulturowo, językowo i społecznie).

  • Electoral System of the Republic of Belarus after 25 Years of Independence

    This paper aims to present a case study analysis of the condition of the electoral system in the Republic of Belarus after more than a quarter of a century of independence. The main purpose of the paper is to explain the discrepancies between legislation and practice. The author intended to note a real situation that dominates the country’s political scene in comparison to theoretical establishments. A Constitution of the Republic (created in 1994, with minor changes in 1996 and 2004) is the legal ground of the electoral system, however, procedural details were drawn up in the Electoral Code. The principles of Belarusian electoral code consist of some statements known from democratic models, such as universal suffrage, direct suffrage, secret ballot and equality. There are different types of elections in Belarus but the most important ones are presidential and parliamentary elections. Despite the detailed legal rules for conducting these elections, in fact, the principles of democracy, as well as the internal rules in Belarus, are not respected. Both presidential and parliamentary elections have shown this in recent years. Independent observers for a long time have been alarming about worrying electoral practices in Belarus. It is also worth emphasizing that since 1994, one man has been in power uninterruptedly, and Parliament has in fact a symbolic function. In the source materials, the author used Belarusian legal acts, analyses and reports, press notes as well as scientific papers.

  • Relacje białorusko-unijne w latach 2011–2013: od eskalacji konfliktu do polityki krytycznego zaangażowania

    Po wyborach prezydenckich w 2010 r. na Białorusi relacje białorusko-unijne weszły w fazę ostrego konfliktu politycznego. UE przyjęła sankcje wizowe i gospodarcze wobec Białorusi. UE zawiesiła również udział Białorusi w programie Partnerstwa Wschodniego. Do eskalacji konfliktu doszło na początku 2012 r., gdy ambasadorowie UE wyjechali z Białorusi. W kolejnych miesiącach UE przeszła do polityki krytycznego zaangażowania wobec Białorusi, która przejawiała się utrzymywaniem kontaktów z reżimem na poziomie technicznym. W drugiej połowie 2013 r. nastąpiła niewielka poprawa obustronnych relacji. Szczyt Partnerstwa Wschodniego w 2013 r. nie przyniósł wyraźnego przełomu na linii Bruksela–Mińsk.

  • Польские рады Белорусских земель: из истории борьбы за союз с Польской республикой (1918–1920)

    The author describes activity of Poles who lived in Belarusian territories in 1918–1920. They were a group of cultural and economic importance who promoted the idea of maintaining Lithuania and Belarus in the Polish sphere of influence. They organized councils and committees and, later on, armed groups, wrote memorials and called upon the Polish government to save Belarus from the Bolsheviks. In their opinion, the entire region had to either be a part of Poland or an independent allied state. According to them, the Treaty of Riga which divided Belarus was a failure of Poland’s foreign policy.

  • International Monitoring of the Human Rights Situation in Belarus through the Universal Periodic Review: Lights and Shadows of the UN Human Rights Council Mechanism

    The Universal Periodic Review (UPR) of the United Nations Human Rights Council is an international monitoring mechanism established within the frames of the universal human rights protection system, which involves systematic assessment of the performance of all member states of the UN with respect to a broad range of their human rights obligations and international humanitarian law standards. Since Belarus does not participate in the regional human rights protection system operating under the auspices of the Council of Europe, the application of the UPR in relation to that country gains particular importance. So far Belarus has been under review twice – in 2010 and 2015. The aim of the paper is to describe the rules of the mechanism and the process of the UPR concerning Belarus, to present the results of the review, including main human rights issues identified and the recommendations received by Belarus in the course of the UPR, as well as to explain the position of Belarusian authorities on such recommendations. The paper also attempts to discuss the drawbacks and the advantages of the UPR, using the perspective of the review undergone by Belarus.

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