Ninth issue of the BISS Trends (January-March 2012)

Printer-friendly versionPDF version

BISS presents the ninth issue of the BISS Trends - quarterly monitoring of the Belarus’s political, social and economic development. The first quarter of 2012 can be regarded as a pause before Belarus finally has to address a crucial geopolitical challenge. The end of this period saw the country in a position of considerable uncertainty, which is largely due to the impending geopolitical choice of its administration: Belarus will either embark on a multi-vector policy, or aim exclusively at further integration with Russia.

The first quarter of 2012 can be regarded as a pause before  Belarus finally has to address a crucial geopolitical challenge. We  have repeatedly brought to your attention that internal processes  ongoing in Belarus often derive from modifications in its external  policy; therefore, the end of the first quarter saw this country in a  position of considerable uncertainty, which is largely due to the  impending geopolitical choice of its administration: Belarus will  either embark on a multi-vector policy, or aim exclusively at further  integration with Russia.

In the domain of political liberalization/political democratization,  we record the absence of any significant changes. The decreasing  number of administrative cases coincides in time with the new wave of  repression.

In the two interconnected areas - economic liberalization and quality  of governance and rule of law, we also record the absence of any  serious changes.

The geopolitical trend is defined by the strengthening of Belarus'  dependence on the Russian vector amid somewhat catastrophic  deterioration of Belarus' relationship with Europe.

Finally, the cultural trend demonstrates gradual yet consistent  de-liberalization in the Belarusian culture sector.

In which direction the Belarusian pendulum will swing depends on how  soon Minsk and Brussels will be able to de-escalate their conflict,  and how Moscow will respond to these attempts. All the trends  indicated above may show either positive or negative dynamics.

Read the full version of the monitoring in pdf format