Moscow faces the question of how to respond to procrastination over reform in Belarus. On the one hand, it might seem that the crisis there has passed, leaving no leverage over Lukashenko. On the other hand, he is going to need more money.
Lukashenko’s post-August turn away from the West and toward Russia is no guarantee that Belarus will not return to a multi-vector foreign policy sometime soon.
For the Baltic states, a good Russia policy is one that creates distance between them and their neighbor to the east while maintaining some ties with it. Yet the few areas of cooperation that remain could easily become casualties of political battles.
Frustrated maximalism may present a window for rapprochement. The Baltic states will be more likely to look at Russia as it is, not as they want it to be. One day Russia might also look at the Baltic states as just neighbors: not as an amputated part of the Soviet Union, or Washington’s hostile lapdog.
Russia and its Baltic Sea neighbors could start repairing their badly broken relationship on a common basis of neighborliness. This would fall far short of partnership, but it would end unchecked hostility.
For all the talk of Beijing’s growing presence in the former Soviet Union, the fruits of Ukraine, Belarus, and Moldova’s efforts to deepen cooperation with China have been underwhelming
Danish Ambassador Per Carlsen was recently commissioned by Dmitri Trenin, head of the Carnegie Moscow Center, to provide his view on the developments in the Baltic Sea region in a blog format. Tragically, Per Carlsen passed away a day after he finalized this blog post.
Russia’s association with Lukashenko’s crackdown may persuade Belarusians that it is impossible to be a pro-Russian democrat: that one can only be one or the other. Support for authoritarianism is going out of fashion in Belarus; pro-Russianness may, too.
Security in the Baltic Sea region is a major element in the European politico-military landscape. The region demands special attention as it is where NATO and Russia are direct neighbors, sharing land borders. Where does the region fit in Russia’s foreign and security policy? How to preserve a minimum of security in the region? Join Ambassador Vygaudas Ušackas and Dmitri Trenin to explore these and other issues.
The Belarusian revolution is far from over, and there are at least three scenarios in which the EU and Russia won’t be able to keep their differences over Belarus from escalating from the current moderate competition into an open geopolitical crisis like that seen in Ukraine.