Belarus at the United Nations: An Analysis of Belarus's Global Policy Alignment Following the Maidan Revolution in Ukraine
- Demokratizatsiya: The Journal of Post-Soviet Democratization
- Institute for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies, The George Washington University
- Volume 27, Number 3, Summer 2019
- pp. 319-347
- Additional Information
Since the fall of the Soviet Union, Belarus has been the slowest of the countries in Eastern Europe to shake off its authoritarian past and ties with Russia. However, the Maidan revolution in Ukraine and Russia's subsequent annexation of Crimea and occupation of parts of Eastern Ukraine in 2014 might have forced Belarus's president, Aleksander Lukashenka, to start questioning the terms of this relationship. Russia's violation of Ukraine's sovereignty created a much more real possibility—and fear—that, if push came to shove, Russia would not hesitate to act similarly toward Belarus. Belarus's political choices are hard to predict: will it remain a dictatorship in Russia's shadow or will it embrace democracy and the rule of law and seek closer integration with the West? This study examines Belarus's global policy alignment from 2007 to 2017 by analyzing its voting patterns on contested issues—those on which Russia's and the U.S.'s votes diverged—at the United Nations General Assembly. While Belarus seems to have been disassociating itself from Russia on some global issues, as evidenced by its voting record at the UN General Assembly, and its democracy level increased from 2014-2016, there is insufficient evidence to believe that Belarus might in fact be aligning more with the West and moving away from Russia. While Belarus's diplomatic pendulum has increasingly swung toward the US, it has inevitably bounced back to its "home base"—Russia.