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Why Belarus Is About To Get Interesting

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

When the Ukrainian and Belarusian national football teams faced off in Lviv last weekend, their fans marched out together under banners reading "For Your Freedom And Ours" and "A Brotherhood Of Conscience."
 
They belted out chants and songs deriding Russian President Vladimir Putin -- with predictably unprintable lyrics -- and gave blood together for wounded Ukrainian soldiers.
 
Two weeks earlier, Belarus's authoritarian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka pardoned and released six political prisoners. The move, veteran Kremlin-watcher Paul Goble wrote on his blog, was "clearly intended to send a message to both the West and Moscow."
 
One of the unexpected consequences of Russia's annexation of Crimea and proxy war in eastern Ukraine has been a chill in relations between Minsk and Moscow and a thaw in those between Belarus and the West.
 
Lukashenka, of course, has been careful not to completely burn his bridges with Moscow, given his dependence on Russian subsidies. Belarus remains a member of the Eurasian Union and regularly conducts joint military drills with Russia.
 

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Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.

A Eurasianet partner post from RFE/RL

Why Belarus Is About To Get Interesting

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