Reflections

Belarus: A Barometer Between Russia and the West

Eugene Chausovsky
Senior Eurasia Analyst, Stratfor
Oct 31, 2019 | 09:00 GMT
The Gates of Minsk, an architectural complex at the station square in Belarus' capital, is seen in this photo from July 21, 2017.

The Gates of Minsk, an architectural complex at the station square in Minsk, Belarus, is seen in this photo from July 21, 2017. The country is trying to stake out a place between Russia and the West.

(ALENA BAHDANOVICH/Shutterstock)

The warning could hardly be starker: "Mankind is moving to the brink of the abyss," Belarusian President Alexandr Lukashenko said earlier this month in an address to international officials and experts at the Minsk Dialogue Forum. "The confrontation between Russia and the West is at its highest level; in a couple of minutes, the stage of nuclear war can be reached." For Belarus, the standoff between Russia and the West is especially worrisome, given its position sandwiched between the two powers at a time when the recent collapse of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty eliminates some of the safeguards preventing nuclear proliferation. What's more, both NATO and Russia are conducting military buildups in Belarus' immediate vicinity in countries such as Lithuania and Poland. Against that backdrop, Belarus is uniquely placed to show which way the breeze is blowing in the standoff between Russia and the West -- even if its geopolitical...

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