On January 30, 2019, at the invitation of the British Embassy, a meeting was held between BISS experts and the diplomatic corps. The meeting was titled Time for Strategy. BISS on Current and Future Trends in Belarus.
The BISS team was represented by Piotr Rudkouski and Vadim Mojeiko and Mila Bertosh. The diplomatic corps was represented by Her Majesty's Ambassador Fionna Gibb, Ambassador of the Republic of Austria Aloisia Wörgetter, as well as counsellors, analysts and desk officers of the Italian, Polish, Brazilian, Dutch and other embassies. There were also representatives of Belarusian NGOs.
After the welcome by Ambassador Fiona Gibb, BISS experts made a 20-minute presentation. It consisted of four parts: “Three Notable Tendencies,” “Two Discontinuities,” “One Postulate,” and “BISS's Response”. As the notable tendencies the speakers named economic liberalization, rapprochement with the West, and soft Belarusianization. Two discontinuities are the following: (1) a change in the rhetoric of the Belarusian authorities about the West from negative to positive; (2) a shift in the attitudes of the average Belarusian towards the EU from sympathy to criticism. Thence the postulate sprang up: It's time for strategy. It was meant that there is need for the assessment of current processes in a long-term perspective. To this end, the institute has developed three programmes of research and analysis: “Value Transformations,” “Strategic Expertise”, and “Identity Index.” The speakers briefly told about the expected results of these researches.
In the dicussion part, the participants were especially interested in the depth of the changes that are currently occurring in Belarus, the drivers of these changes, the nature of Russian soft power, as well as some methodological issues related to the results of public opinion surveys.
The presentation is available here.