With less than a fortnight to go before Belarus’s presidential elections on August 9, predictions remain uncertain. On the one hand, the incumbent President Alyaksandr Lukashenka will almost surely win—perhaps with as much as around 80 percent of the vote. But on the other hand, that ostensibly overwhelming victory may spark new protests of unknown magnitude, with the authorities’ reaction to be seen (Kyky, July 23).
A row over energy prices is a sign that Belarus and Russia are set to have a cooler and more pragmatic relationship. Over the next few years, Minsk is likely to build a more balanced relationship with the West and Moscow, like that of Armenia or Kazakhstan.
Russia and Belarus can find optimal solutions to the oil and gas issues in the immediate future despite the persisting differences in the parties’ stances, Russian Ambassador to Belarus Dmitry Mezentsev told TASS on Thursday.
Despite intense efforts by the two governments to finalize plans for deeper integration between the countries, agreement remains elusive.
John Lough, Katia Glod
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