Security and Defence

Belarus – A hot summer ahead?
14 Jul 2020 13:30 - 14:30
Source: Kremlin

This webinar has been streamed live on YouTube

In recent months the political situation in Belarus has heated up, with ‘slipper protests’ breaking out following the handling of the COVID-19 outbreak by the authorities and the controversial decision of President Lukashenka to go ahead with the 9 May parade in Minsk. He now faces unprecedented levels of domestic political opposition in the run-up to the Presidential elections on 9 August and has clamped down on several opposition candidates, with risks of a further escalation like the protests of 2010. Meanwhile, the already complex relationship with Moscow has become more tense as Russia has ramped up the pressure on its fellow Union State member in recent years and has even closed its border with Belarus in response to COVID-19. And finally, Belarus remains an uneasy member of the EU’s Eastern Partnership; while engagement to date has been limited, voices within Belarus nonetheless call for closer relations with the European Union.


To cast some light on political developments in one of Eastern Europe’s lesser-covered countries, Bob Deen (co-ordinator of the Clingendael Russia and Eastern Europe Centre) will discuss the political situation in Belarus and its relations with Russia and the European Union with experts:

  • Ryhor Astapenia (Robert Bosch Stiftung Academy Fellow at Chatham House)
  • Tony van der Togt (Senior Research Associate at the Clingendael Institute)
  • Olga Dryndova (editor of ‘Belarus-Analysen’, at the Research Centre for East European Studies, University of Bremen).

Key questions include:

  • In light of recent protests and the upcoming Presidential elections, how stable is the rule of Aliaksandr Lukashenka? And what does this mean for political future of Belarus?
  • How have Minsk-Moscow relations evolved in recent years and what can we expect for the near future?
  • How does Belarus fit within the next phase of the Eastern Partnership, as currently under consideration by the European Union? What options for engagement exist and how should the EU respond to a crackdown on the opposition?

Clingendael Russia & Eastern Europe Centre (CREEC)

This webinar is the third in a series hosted by the new Clingendael Russia & Eastern Europe Centre (CREEC). In a letter to Parliament, the Dutch Minister of Foreign Affairs recently noted that “knowledge in the Netherlands regarding Russia, the Russian people and Russian language has decreased in the past years”. By establishing the CREEC we bring our expertise together and aim to increase knowledge about Russia and Eastern Europe among Dutch government agencies, businesses and the broader public.