One more thaw: Minsk aches to cleanse image

As this February is winding down a thaw period is about to set in. Not only weather conditions are concerned: President Aliaksandr Lukashenka is seeking ways to the West again. Where are Belarusians and Belarus welcome most?

Political analyst Dzianis Melyantsou does not rule out the possibility that Minsk is getting ready for another round of the dialogue with the West. But will it achieve any actual results? “Belarus’s foreign policy is founded on the principle of balance, on maneuvering between two centres of power, i.e. Russia and the EU together with other Western countries. If the system does work what for should it be changed?” he stressed.

Talking about the integration with Russia Dzianis Melyantsou expressed confidence that Moscow could be content only with “Belarus’s ordinary demonstration of its striving for integration with the eastern neighbour”.

In his opinion, another thaw is to be expected in the relations Belarus-EU. “It is worth waiting for a new dialogue. It is difficult to predict whether the situation will move to a totally new level but it is unlikely to happen. It is beyond any doubt that there will be certain communication and negotiations, more transparency, which was typical for the period from 2008 to 2010. The Eastern Partnership summit which is of importance for Belarus is coming, and the Belarusian authorities are sure to put the shoulder to the wheel so that the state could participate in the event. Moreover, Belarus is to host the World Ice Hockey Championship, and the country’s image needs restoring. A new program of cooperation with the IMF is requested, which will also take great political labour upon the Belarusian side,” the expert believes.

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