Belarus future scenarios between Europenization and Russian influence strengthening

Belarus future political scenarios
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  Ruoppo DavideMirees 2015/2016 Belarus future scenarios between Europenization and Russian inuence strengthening Module: Russia and regional policies in East-Central EuropeProf: le!andr "#otov Belarus, according to the current political and social facts, could possibly be involved inseveral different kind of scenarios. From the one hand the country could face   a return to the Russianvassalage and from the other hand, a strategical decision, could be the one of a gradual political,economic and cultural integration in the European space, with a possible entrance in the   EuropeanUnion. Even though this last prevision seems to be the most advocable for the long term future of the country, the reality could bring some kind of melted situations avoiding a fully black or totallywhite perspective. In fact, Belarus, up to now, is risking to remain totally isolated, as its fluctuationwithin the two spheres of influence, the European Union and the Russian Federation, could have adangerous outcome. he lack of human rights and an autoritharian regime, are not the best businesscard to show at the international stage. !ll this created a phenomenon that brought to a severe lack of identity in the Belarusian society reinforced by the lack of the freedom created by the"ukashenko political monopolism. !ccording to some think tankers, that focused in the actual#insk society, the population should reach a theoretical and an empirical evolution in order tounderstand itself and to brought , in the country, the so called $Europeni%ation from below$. It is aconcept fostered and developed by &tefan 'ar%stecki, a 'erman political scientist, that rewied thediscourse of the (Europe)s self creation$ from (below to above$, where not only the pan*Europeaninstitutions are important but also national elements which are transferred in the European level. Inthis sense the Belarusians should understand the process of their country)s Europeni%ation not as theintrusion of (alien standards$, but as a dialogue between the Belarus and the EU and,simultaneously, as a process of disseminating European values, which happens at various levels of the Belarusian society.+&hparaga -/.  !nother important theoretical framework, that could possibly foster the futureEuropeni%ation of the country, is the one developed by Ulad%imir #atskevich, with theEuropeni%ation considered as a part of three main components together with de*&ovieti%ation+started in 00/ and Belarusi%ation. his is the base of an ideological pyramid, where its ape1 isthe concept of (we are one people$ which introduces the concept of national reconciliation.Europeni%ation could be, in some terms, the answer to the many challenges the country is facing.he 2hairmain of the International consortium (EuroBelarus$ Ulad 3ialichka, has recentlywritten about the Europeni%ation process as possible, but this process should be precisely directedto various political and social actors in order to be successful4 First of all, the natural target is theBelarusian society itself, that faces problems of self*identity and it is unable to recogni%e its socialand institutional role. &econdly, the culture, where e1ist problems of relations within the e1clusiveand mass character, with the latter very far from the European one. hirdly, the power and itsfeature, with a close link that could made with "ukashenko, so disproportion, swelling,verticali%ation and e1clusivity with the polari%ation of concepts used in an anti*liberal way.Fourthly, the information space and the media, with a limited range of oppositions and debate.Fifthly the communication, with a shortage of socio political debates and last but not least, thesemiotic environment with the e1ploitation of out*of*date and politicised symbols +Inysheva,-/.!ll these elements, could possibly ought to become, if successfully reach, the milestone of the possible Europeni%ation of the country with a complete evolution of the Belorusian society, nolonger anchored to his past, but ready to a new future made of self*consciousness and knowledge of its own role.In these days something important is changed also from the merely political point of view. Infact, between the -th and the st of #ay, "ukashenko decided to visit Rome and the 5ope having been received by the Italian 5resident of the Republic, &ergio #attarella and 5ope Francis. It isinteresting to think on why the Belorusian factotum decided this overture to the EU world, even if a bad political signal has been sent, by the absence of the 5rime #inister #atteo Ren%i. !ccording to3alery 6arbalevich, "ukashenko decided to get closer to the EU through the (back door$ of the3atican, but it is also indeed that "ukashenko decided to play the European card. It is possible toconsider that he decided to move towards Italy thanks to his favourable relations with the former Italian 5rime #inister &ilvio Berlusconi that had also a privileged relation with 3ladimir 5utin. Itwas since --0 that "ukashenko did not come to any of the EU countries and this political decisionhas been made because of the desire to create a  pivot   to counterbalance the Russian influence and to broaden the space of manouevrening. #oreover is clear the intention to put some pressure to Russia  creating a sort of economical blackmail that is an habitueè  of the #insk*#oscow relations thatusually works. "ukashenko, after the end of the sanctions, wanted to grasp the positive period inorder to establish a second period of normali%ation in the EU relations +after --7*-/ and attract8orld Bank and European Investment Bank funds for the country9 they are, in fact, more easily toreceive with stable relations. Finally it should be considered a psychological point that "ukashenkawanted to solve a sort of inferiority comple1 with his neighbours and visiting foreign capitals couldovercome this gap by increasing his reputation.+6arbalevich,-:/If in the one hand it could be seen the perspective of a future Europeni%ation of the country,on the other hand it may be affirmed that, analy%ing the ongoing situation, a crisis in the relationswithin #insk and #oscow could be possible with the restoration of the former political andeconomic relations, so returning to a full domination of the Belarusian foreign policy by the RussianFederation+&hparaga,-/. his because, the speed with which the 6remlin aggressed hisneighbouring Ukraine has really concerned "ukashenko and all the close countries. Even though the*year ruler of Belorussia have always held close political, military and economic ties with Russia,the situation could change. In fact, the online newspaper (* Sputnik i Pogrom-“ recently ran anopinion piece claiming that ; of the : regions of Belorussia were received as a gift from the former &oviet Union, something that was also populari%ed with 2rimea years before the anne1ation. hefire have been stocked by a columnist for Russia (* Vzglyad-“ website arguing that "ukashenkoshould hold a referendum on Belarus accession to the Russian Federation otherwise the country, inis current form, risk to disappear."ukashenko, has strongly reacted to these threats coming from East, trying to attractcountries and funds in the country, as stated before, but he had not limited to that. In fact, heofficially gave to the current Ukrainian 5rime #inister 5oroshenko, (the friendship of theBelorusian people$ and together with that, "ukashenko also voiced veiled criticism of 5utin bysaying that he was not (the only dictator$ in Europe. 2aution about Russian behaviour was alsoadvocated by !le1ander #ilinkievic, former opposition candidate in the --: Belorusian nationalelections and chairman of the opposition party (#ovement for freedom$ that claimed how 5utinwanted to e1hume the &oviet Union. <e added that up to know there would be not space of intrudefor Russia, that nevertheless would probably make up some (political fabrications$. #oreover hestated how in the country (have matured thoughts in ruling circles that we have lost years and yearswithout serious cooperation with the European Union$ but as far as Belarus would start to makefriends over Europe, Russian counteraction would be more and more aggressive providing a possible casus belli  for the Russian aggression.+!nishchanka -=/  It is not possible to have a clear idea about the future possible outcomes. In fact, it should beconsidered that, the evolution of the Belarusian society, the Europeni%ation of the country and theskyrocketing threat of the Russian e1pansionism are possible rundowns that are not dealing withthe odernial status >uo. &o it could be asked, what is the current situation in Belarus?he country is now facing three main social and political problems4 "ukashenko, the severelack of human rights and the infamous record of being the only country still pursuing the death penalty. It has been recently reported the case of a double assassination and a rape in the city of <omel , this will be the fourth death capital sentence active in Belarus +2aprara,-:/. In the --: elections, as mentioned before, "ukashenko had defeated !le1ander #ilinkevich that constituted, at the time, a trustworthy candidate to restore the democracy in thecountry. <e paid a lot for that, his sons, living and studying in 5oland, could not return to thier fatherland because they have been charged with the accuse of military desertion +3alsecchi,--0/.<e was awarded with the &akharov pri%e in --:, that means to honour, all those who have foughtfor the human rights and the freedom of thought. <e mentioned how the situation is even worse if compared with the 5erestroika period and how the economy of Belarus is so strictly linked to thestate intervention with all the relative problems it brings. 5eople feared to talk about the “  Bat’ka ” +the father/ as "ukashenko is proudly described among his loyal supporters, they felt controlled. Itis like a dangerous curtain covering the whole country as it was with the 6'B or the &!&I somedecades ago. ! funny and historical anecdote could describe how, according to me, the country isaffected of a (liberty parado1$. In fact, even @ulius 2aesar, as reported in several studies in the fieldof the <istory of the Roman law, used to allow the Roman citi%ens to talk freely about the emperor,even in bad terms, while they were degusting a glass of wine or having a thermal bath and allowinga certain amount of freedom and tran>uillity. he escalation of the lack of liberty was reached in the elections of --+Auarta,-=/,where thousands of people were complaining against the Bat)ka, and -- of them have beensentenced and a do%en arrested. Is the case of dissidents like Cmitser Dashkevich, !les Byalyatskiand #ikalai &tatkevich, former candidate to the presidential elections, who have been ailed for :years after having apparently caused (mass demonstrations$. Dashkevich, the leader of the youthopposition movement (oung Front$, has been convicted to  years for hooliganism. Byalyatski,the head of the Belarusian human rights centre 3yasna, instead, has been sentenced to G years of  prison for ta1 evasion. +Bigg, <ru%d%ilovich,-/he elections of Hctober -=, saw a full plebiscite for the Bat)ka with no one among theopponents that reached even a small >uorum like the =. he Hsce was severely concerned about  the e1ecution procedure, advocating that, Belarus has still a lot to do in order to reach stableelection   commitments and bringing to light cases of mass early voting and and non*transparent votecounting. he recent Jobel "iterature pri%e awarded &vetlana !le1ievich taught precisely of Belarus as a (soft dictatorship$, advocating how "ukashenko is e1tremely linked with the &ovietlegacy and his un*trust*worthness. !s easily understandable, none of !le1ievich)s books have been published and are available in Belarus, recalling a cultural boycott, typical of the most draconiandictatorships +Bbc Europe,-=/o conclude, the most trustworthy scenario for Belarus, ought to be the last one and so themaintainance of a dangerous  status quo  made of lack of the principal elements of a democracy anda state of law halting the country back to - years ago and on a political isolation. he several casesof e1ploitation of the coercitive strenght among citi%ens, are not only contributing of a spyral of aninternational concern, but also prevent the effective possibilities for the future entrance of thecountry in the European Union. Even the actual historical situation is not helping Belarus, with anheavy climate of dissatisfaction spread among the European elites, with the willing of cooperationthat felt down to the lowest levels. Even the &chengen accords are in severe danger, with countrieslike <ungary, that have modified its internal defence of the border by restoring severe controls inthe Burgerland and in the other principal points of entrance with 3iktor Hrban that, not so muchtime ago, was even fostering the idea of a defensive wall preventing the arrival of the refugees inthe country. #oreover, must be followed the situation of Russia and its decision about soft politics. heanne1ation of 2rimea has really opened a $5andora bo1$ difficult to close, bringing back Europe toa dangerous habit the one of modyfing the borders according to (ethnic$ motivations, that broughtthe continent in the past to ;- years of no Europe, as stated by the French historian @ean BaptisteDuroselle. But a recent fact could be a little isle of light on a dark sea, in fact the 2hinesegovernment is highly interested to e1ploit the lack of true partners for "ukashenko. his economical proect brought to the creation of a huge industrial park with the declarate aim to become the new(silk road$. It will be called ('reat &tone$ and will be situated very close to the #insk internationalairport. !ccording to the data, several important companies are planning to oin the most importantevent in the history of the bilateral relations within 2hina and Belarus, likewise the mobile phonecompany  ua!ei . wo billions of investments planned, an une1pected godsend, that it would beseen if sufficient to cover all the problems the country is facing from twenty*one years of "ukashenko rule +Belarus official web site, -:/
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