Belarus’s foreign policy under stress: current and future challenges

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Event Date: 2015-12-11


Collegium Civitas and the Centre for Eastern Studies invite you to an academic-diplomatic seminar


Belarus’s foreign policy under stress: current and future challenges

Collegium Civitas, Friday 11 December, 15-17h, Aula 1222


What determines the foreign policy interests, priorities and practices of a post-Soviet republic such as Belarus? A landlocked country economically dependent on Russian subsidies and energy transit, Belarus has been striving for the past 25 years to maintain its independence, while also defending its authoritarian governance model against the contagion of colour revolutions and democratisation. In spite of Moscow’s continuous support to Aliaksander Lukashenka’s regime, bilateral relations with Russia are not conflict-free.

Formally a neutral, non-aligned country eager to preserve peaceful relations with all its neighbours, Belarus is, in fact, closely integrating with Russia, and plays the role of a buffer state pivotal to the security architecture of the Eurasian space as it is currently being reshaped by the Kremlin. Yet the stiffening of Russian policies towards Ukraine has put Belarusian diplomacy under considerable pressure. In condemning the Russian annexation of Crimea Lukashenka tried to preserve Belarus’s relationship with Ukraine and to improve his image in the West by offering his mediation in the ongoing Russian-Ukrainian conflict.

Even if it is not interested in accession to the European Union, the Belarusian regime has not fully turned its back on Brussels either. Instead, Belarus as an Eastern Partner is trying to normalise relations with the EU on its own terms, hoping for a pragmatic turn towards cooperation void of democratic conditionality. How to assess this diplomatic strategy? What challenges lie ahead?

This seminar will examine Belarus’s “multi-vector” foreign policy priorities in a long term perspective with a view at identifying the strengths and weaknesses of the regime’s international survival strategy in a fast changing geopolitical environment. Looking at the structural determinants of Belarus’s foreign policy behaviour, speakers will highlight the specificities of Minsk’s foreign relations (with Russia/the Eurasian Union, Ukraine, Poland and the EU, among others) and discuss the future prospects of Belarus’s international subjectivity and actorness.




Chair: Anaïs Marin, Assistant Professor, Marie Curie Fellow, Collegium Civitas (Warsaw)



Arseni Sivitski, Director of the Centre for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies (CSFPS, Minsk)

Shifts in the foreign policy and military doctrine of Belarus


Anaïs Marin, Assistant Professor, Marie Curie Fellow, Collegium Civitas (Warsaw)

External means of authoritarian regime-survival: President Lukashenka’s “dictaplomacy”


Anna Maria Dyner, Eastern Europe Programme Coordinator, Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM, Warsaw)

Poland and Belarus – time of technical relations


Discussant: Wojciech Konończuk, Researcher, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW, Warsaw)


Working language: English. This is an open event, but prior registration is required: please send an e-mail to before 10 December to register.


This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No 659083 piloted by Dr Anaïs Marin





DYNER, Anna Maria  Anna Maria Dyner is political scientist and specialist in Eastern affairs. She works as an analyst at the Polish Institute of International Affairs (PISM) and the Eastern Europe Programme Coordinator. Her interests include domestic and foreign policy of Belarus and Russian Federation. She also deals with the hard security issues in the post-Soviet region including military reform and the modernisation of the Russia’s military-industrial complex. Anna Maria Dyner is  an author of various PISM analyzes and papers about Belarus and Russia. She has also written on Belarusian and Russian affairs for Rzeczpospolita, Nowa Europa Wschodnia, EUobserver, New Eastern Europe. Privately lover of football, Legia Warsaw in particular.
KONOŃCZUK, Wojciech Head of the Department for Ukraine, Belarus and Moldova at the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW, Warsaw). Previously analyst in the Russian Department at OSW (2007-2011). In 2005–2007, analyst and co-ordinator of Belarusian and Ukrainian projects at the Stefan Batory Foundation, Warsaw.Graduated from the Institute of International Relations and the Centre for East European Studies at the University of Warsaw. He also studied at Saint Petersburg State University and the Warsaw School of Economics. Visiting scholar at Kennan Institute in Washington, DC (2014). Regular contributor to “New Eastern Europe” journal and “Tygodnik Powszechny”.Expertise: Political and economic situation in Belarus, Ukraine and Moldova, foreign policy of Russia towards CIS countries, Russian energy sector, energy policy in Central and Eastern EuropeLatest publications, cf.
MARIN, Anaïs Assistant Professor at Collegium Civitas and Marie Curie Fellow (H2020-MSCA-IF-2014), affiliated with Collegium Civitas and the Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW, Warsaw), her secondment institution. She holds her PhD from Sciences Po Paris/CERI (2006). A political scientist specialised in IR, Russian studies and transitology, in 2011 she joined a leading European think tank, the Finnish Institute of International Affairs (FIIA, Helsinki), as Belarus desk.She is the author of several policy papers and reports on Belarus, the Eastern Partnership, EU sanctions policies, EU-Russia relations and Eurasian geopolitics. She also took part in OSCE/ODIHR election observation missions in several post-Soviet countries.Research interests: authoritarian regimes in post-Soviet Eurasia, EU neighbourhood policies, Eurasian integration, foreign policy analysis.Latest publications, cf.
SIVITSKI, Arseni Director of the Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies, one of Belarus most recent think tank established by young professionals. The aspiration of the group is to promote the culture of strategic studies, stir policy debate and put Belarus`s foreign and security policy decision making on a more professional, merit- and evidence-based foundations.A PhD student at the Institute of Philosophy of the Belarus National Academy of Science, his focus is on social and political philosophy and methodology of science. Member of the Military-Scientific Society under the Central Officers’ Club of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, political observer and columnist in several state and non-state media.Main research focuses – global security, Eurasian integration, European integration, new balance of power in the Middle East, etc.Latest publications, cf.