Belarus – a European Nation Reborn

There Is No Way Back, even if a Stalemate Will Last

24 August 2020

Wojciech Przybylski


The events unfolding in Belarus in recent weeks have been a bittersweet surprise for many observers. A sleeping nation has awoken and is demonstrating en masse its opposition to the “last dictator of Europe” using peaceful demonstrations.

The regime, on the other hand, has shown its worst face, provoking a legitimate juxtaposition with the torture documented – and widely condemned – in Syrian prisons.

What answer should the rest of Europe respond with? The plan must take into account the particulars of the Belarusian situation and, at the same time, be developed and implemented quickly. The pivotal moment of change may only be a week or two away; the effects resulting from how it is realised could have ramifications for Belarus and the larger region for many years.

Old, bad habits

The steps taken by Mr Lukashenko and his administration are not so new. Alleged murders of political opponents at the beginning of his reign, falsified referenda prolonging his reign and murderous methods of exercising social control, including cruel death sentences, were no secret. However, the West turned a blind eye to them without having a clear social partner on the Belarusian side – the society itself was in lethargy.


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Wojciech Przybylski


Political analyst heading Visegrad Insight's policy foresight on European affairs. His expertise includes foreign policy and political culture. Editor-in-Chief of Visegrad Insight and President of the Res Publica Foundation. Europe's Future Fellow at IWM - Institute of Human Sciences in Vienna and Erste Foundation. Wojciech also co-authored a book 'Understanding Central Europe’, Routledge 2017. He has been published in Foreign Policy, Politico Europe, Journal of Democracy, EUObserver, Project Syndicate, VoxEurop, Hospodarske noviny, Internazionale, Zeit, Dziennik Gazeta Prawna, Onet, Gazeta Wyborcza and regularly appears in BBC, Al Jazeera Europe, Euronews, TRT World, TVN24, TOK FM, Swedish Radio and others.


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