Category: Partners Publications


David J. Kramer, director of European and Eurasian studies at Florida International University’s Steven J. Green School of International and Public Affair

Vladimir Kobets, executive director of the International Strategic Action Network for Security

Popular protests against the authoritarian regime of Alexander Lukashenko in Belarus have left Western leaders anxious about how Russia will respond. Forceful intervention would not seem out of character for Russian President Vladimir Putin, who has noted on state television that Lukashenko asked him to keep riot police at the ready in case “the situation gets out of control.” But such a course of action is almost certainly not Putin’s preference in Belarus. The Kremlin invaded and occupied territory in Georgia and Ukraine to prevent those countries from moving geopolitically westward. But in doing so, the Kremlin’s neoimperialists planted deep roots of resistance to Russian occupation and intensified popular support for Euro-Atlantic integration—especially among younger Georgians and Ukrainians. Belatedly, Moscow is learning that no amount of disinformation can reverse these trends.

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Dr. David R. Marples is Distinguished University Professor, Department of History and Classics, University of Alberta, Canada, iSANS expert

Russian policy often operates on a short-term, flexible basis. The initial goal may be to ensure that whatever his foibles, Lukashenko survives in 2020, and there is no Maidan style change of power in Belarus. The future is less certain because the campaign of Tsikhanouskaya has demonstrated convincingly that Belarusians want a change.

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Is Putin going to attack Belarus?

On August 14, 15, and 16 Aliaksandr Lukashenka and Vladimir Putin had several phone calls to agree on the format of Russian assistance to handle the situations in Belarus. Russian assistance in the form of hybrid intervention was launched on approximately August 17. As our sources report, on August 18, two groups of Russian political, military, security, and media advisers arrived in Minsk from Moscow to take control over the situation in Belarus in key public and governing areas (media, social and political sector, army and security agenices). The operation was partially disguised as a celebration of Russian ambassador’s birthday party. As our internal sources in Russia report military intervention in the present situation of true social unrest was not considered possible.

Russian advisers now target all key fields of Belarusian life.

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Olga Kevere, strategic director of iSANS

The evolution of the Kremlin’s strategy towards Belarus

With the approach of the presidential elections, not only is the situation inside Belarus becoming more complicated, but so is Minsk’s foreign policy. Moreover, in connection with the history of the detained Russian mercenaries, Belarus’s relationship has become increasingly strained with Russia, and not only with the West.

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