detail - Auslandsbüro Belarus
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The annexation of Crimea by Russia in 2014 and the breakout of the war in Donbas have left European security in tatters. Due to its geographic position, Eastern Europe has been an epicentre of uncertainties and growing geopolitical tensions. In response to these developments, East European nations have pursued different, often conflicting, strategies in order to ensure their own security.
The reactions of Belarus to regional turbulence have been most striking but yet least discussed internationally. Minsk has reviewed various elements of its defense and security policy and strengthened attempts at diversifying its foreign policy. However, unlike other regional actors, structural conditions of Belarus require a specific type of foreign policy. Combined with Minsk’s problematic legacy of relations with the West, this results in foreign policy behaviour which is often contradictory and difficult to interpret. It is telling in this respect that in recent years Belarus received increased international attention, first as the host of the Ukraine peace talks and then as a co-host of the Zapad military exercises with Russia in September 2017.
The event will look at recent trends in East European geopolitics and Belarusian foreign and security policy, as well as their implications for European security. In particular, it will address the following questions:
- Where are the trajectories of East European geopolitics leading and how do they affect the security of Belarus?
- How serious is Minsk about its relations with the West and is there room for further progress in this relationship?
- What is the current state of Belarusian-Russian relations?
- Is there a role for Track-II diplomacy and what does the Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative aims to achieve?
Head, Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative
Coordinator, Belarus’s Foreign Policy Programme, Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative
Country Director Belarus, Konrad Adenauer Stiftung
Professor Gwendolyn Sasse