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The Great Big Burly Belarus Thread

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It's the last dictatorship in Europe. It's on the fault line between Putin and the EU. It's not doing too well economically.


The speed with which the Kremlin has become hostile towards its neighbour Ukraine has left many in Belarus fearful of Russian aggression, or even an incursion across their own border.

Throughout his 21-year rule president Alexander Lukashenko has traditionally held close political, economic and military ties with Russia. However he’s also maintained that although the two countries “are like brothers”, Belarus is a separate and autonomous state.

Clearly unsettled by the recent war between Russian-backed separatists and national army forces in eastern Ukraine, Lukashenko has now stepped up a campaign to strengthen his country’s ties to Europe, sending envoys to European capitals and welcoming embassies from the EU and US.

He has also been cautious to address the subject of Russian influence: in April, the president raised concerns about the rise of pro-Russian NGOs in Belarus. He suggested that extremist Russian groups were active in his country and claimed he had “taken measures against them”.

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Was it ever doing well economically, I remember reading (about 15yrs ago I guess) that their Rouble was worth so little it was cheaper to wallpaper your house with a certain denomination of note than to buy the appropriate amount of wallpaper.

Lukashenko has a habit of playing the EU and Russia off against each other, normally running off to the US/EU went Russia is being a PITA and he wants them to back-off. Oddly enough this seems to have worked to some degree.

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