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Struggle over Identity

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Nelly Bekus

Part III. Belarusian Post-Communism

Chapter 10. “Triple Transformation” and Belarus

Texte intégral

199-120

  • 1 Claus Offe, “Capitalism by Democratic Design? Facing the Triple Transition in East Central Europe, (...)
  • 2 Christian W. Haerpfer, Democracy and Enlargement in Post-Communist Europe: The Democratisation of (...)
  • 3 Christian W. Haerpfer, Democracy and Enlargement in Post-Communist Europe, 3.

2The most popular way to form an opinion of a country’s transition is to evaluate the state of three critically important processes that provide advancement of a new epoch in the life of society. The “triple transition”1 scheme that acquired classical status in political science includes democratization of the political system, marketization of the economy, and establishment of a civil society. However, the transition theory “suggest[s] a clear endpoint of political development, for example a pluralist and liberal democracy […] [T]he process of change, for theoreticians of transition, is a clear track from point A to point B; and transition theory involves defining the goal of change and deciding when this goal has been reached and transition completed.”2 The majority of Central and East European countries have adopted the direction of purposeful transformation, that is, all reforms had clear-cut guidelines. But even in these countries, the “transition” had often taken a complicated path, and some researchers carefully avoided a simplistic interpretation of changes as a straight transfer from point A to point B. When analyzing the Belarusian post-communist experience, rejection of using the concept of the “goal” of transition is caused not so much by a methodological necessity as by its absolute absence. By the mid-1990s it was clear that the Belarusian post-communist experience had become an example of a society’s transformation the direction of which does not fit the scheme of “transition.” With respect to Belarus, it is justified to apply the term “transformation approach,” a core conceptual assumption of which, according to Christian W. Haerpfer, is that it “does not postulate a ‘quasi-natural’ aim and goal of changes,” but, instead, “the outcome of political as well as economic transformations is open and not given at the beginning or during the comparative analysis of change.”3 One can speak of the triple transformation of Belarusian society, keeping in mind that none of the spheres has an articulated endpoint.

POLITICAL SYSTEM DESIGN

  • 4 Leslie Holmes, Post-Communism (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997), 193.

3The choice of the post-communist states’ political system design—be it presidential, parliamentary, or semi-presidential—was based on the experience of Western nations. As Leslie Holmes assumed, preference was given based on the choice of the “triple transition” element most favored by certain countries in their development. “Those for whom the top priority is political distancing from the communist power structure will usually tend towards a more parliamentary system. Conversely, many of those for whom the economic transition is the most important task at this stage will veer towards presidentialism, in the belief that there is presently a need for strong leadership and efficient decision-making. Those who see these first two transitions as inseparable, and who reject the notion that a choice has to be made between democracy and effective decision-making, are often attracted to the semi-presidential model.”4 Belarus has found itself among the countries that preferred strong leadership in the hope of seeing the implementation of a more effective mechanism of decision-making.

4There are different controversial standpoints in appraising the influence of a political system on the functioning of democracy. Juan Linz writes about the advantages of the parliamentary system in a stable democratic system setup. Referring to the political practices of Europe, Latin America, and the United States, Linz proves that the parliamentary system is more often conducive to strengthening of democratic principles. In his opinion, the sole presidential democracy with a lengthy history of political succession is the United States. The majority of other countries that have a president are not purely presidential systems. At the same time, in countries with deep political divergence and a great number of political parties, parliamentarism becomes a guarantor of the preservation of democracy, although the presidential form of governance has a multitude of aspects that are bad for the prospects of democracy. Linz believes that “the system of presidential governance is doubtful because it works according to the principle ‘the winner takes all,’ which in itself makes the democratic policy a game with a zero result, and such games are known for the conflicts they cause.”5 Presidential power introduces an undesirable element of distinct division and polarization into society, which requires conciliatory mechanisms. A scheduled presidential election, held apart from other elections, leads to a more rigid system in the inter-election period. Conversely, parliamentary systems permit a more frequent change of leaders.

  • 6 Donald L. Horowitz, “Razlichia demokratii,” Predely vlasti, nos. 2–3 (1994), http://old.russ.ru:/a (...)
  • 7 Seymour Martin Lipset, “Rol’ politicheskoi kultury,” Predely vlasti, nos. 2–3 (1994), http://old.r (...)

5Linz’s position has been criticized a number of times. For instance, Donald L. Horowitz gives the reverse examples of how a system of parliamentary democracy has caused a rise of authoritarianism in some African states. In his opinion, “some inborn flaws of the presidential rule system (such as a rigid fixed term of office, a weak cabinet of ministers, and the possibility of the abuse of presidential power) do not always predetermine state political practice.”6 Seymour Martin Lipset claims that the thesis of the dichotomy of two systems of power and the obvious advantages of each as compared with the other, is on the whole not correct. He points to the importance of cultural factors and historical legacy of countries, which can have a decisive influence on how a given political system functions.7

  • 8 Joel Hellman, “Winners Take All: The Politics of Partial Reform in Post-Communist Transition,” Wor (...)

6Analyzing the conditions of concrete post-communist countries, Joel Hellman wrote in 1998 that the parliamentary system makes a more favorable institutional milieu for democratization and market reform, while the presidential system under certain circumstances can become the most “relevant” one for implementing an antireform policy in the transition period.8 Ensuing developments in Belarus after 1994 have confirmed this perspective, as the president has become a stronghold of backward ideology. At the same time, it must be admitted that the experience of the parliamentary republic in Belarus between 1991 and 1993 prior to the adoption of a new constitution, completely discredited itself in the public consciousness—the parliament proved unable to solve vital problems and to avert the economic crisis.

7One must also take into account that the institution of the presidency introduced in Belarus by the 1994 constitution was not designed for the extent of power concentration that the Belarusian president has acquired.

  • 9 A. Lyakhovich, “Obzor proektov i idei reformirovania politicheskoi sistemy Belarusi,” 13.
  • 10 Stanislav Shushkevich, “Interv’iu” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 1(7) (2000), http://data.minsk.by/open (...)

8The problem with the constitution was that although it did not mean to establish an individual presidential dictatorship, “it did not exclude such a possibility.”9 As Shushkevich said in his interview with Adkrytaie gramadstva magazine, the problem with the constitution was that “some essential articles of the constitution could be interpreted in one’s favor and used to gradually extend one’s power, which ultimately resulted in negative changes within the state lifestyle and the current situation.”10

  • 11 “Kakoi byt’ Belarusi: prezidentskoi ili parlamentskoi?” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 1(7) (2000), http (...)
  • 12 Zianon Pazniak, “Chamu namenklatura za prezydenta?” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 1 (10) (2001), http:/ (...)
  • 13 A. Lyakhovich, “Uviadzennie pasady prezydenta Belarusi: peradumovy i nastupstvy,” in Belaruskaia p (...)

9While discussing the draft of the constitution that favored the introduction of a strong presidential institution in Belarus, an equally active part was taken by democratic forces and the nomenclature. The democrats assumed that “in the situation wherein the parliament lacked influential democratically oriented political parties, the only means of transition to democracy and a market economy could be the introduction of the office of president and election of a democratically minded person as president.”11 Trust in the miraculous force of presidential power was a sort of “infection” on the Belarusian political scene in the early 1990s. It grew especially strong after the August 1991 putsch. The experience of Russia, Ukraine, Poland, and Lithuania showed that the figure of president enabled the strengthening of the country’s independence and the ability to embark on democratic reforms more decisively. In Belarus, however, the conservative elitist nomenclature pinned their hopes on the presidential institution: they also intended to preserve their power by means of their candidate’s election. The only force opposing the introduction of the presidential institution was the Belarusian Popular Front (BPF). In 1993 the BPF leader, Pazniak, wrote: “under the social and political circumstances that exist today in Belarus, presidential power can automatically lead to the possibility of an administration and party dictatorship. Presidency in Belarus has arisen as an idea of the Communist Party apparatchiks due to the fear and hopelessness of the Party bureaucracy they experienced because of the large-scale democratic working class movement, and as the last chance for them to return and strengthen the former absolute power of the Communist Party of Belarus through the presidential form of government.”12 BPF’s stance affected the state of public consciousness to some extent. Lyakhovich cited these data: “The opinion poll, conducted in December 1993 gave the following results—49.5 percent of Belarusian voters were in favor of introducing the presidential post, while 29.3 percent were against.”13

  • 14 Silitski, “Explaining Post-Communist Authoritarianism in Belarus,” 41.
  • 15 Ibid., 41–42.

10As the ensuing transformation of the presidential republic into an authoritarian state showed, the apprehensions of the BPF had real grounds. However, the BPF position was not supported by the majority of the parliament’s members and in March 1994 a new constitution of the Re public of Belarus was adopted, which included the institution of the presidency. According to Silitski, “The introduction of a presidential republic sharply reduced the chances for a successful democratization in Belarus.”14 Silitski assumed that the problem was in the Belarusian context of its introduction, although he considered the main threat to democracy to be not the Party nomenclature, but the systemic infrastructure of government that was inherited by Belarus. In other words, not individuals, but the institutional legacy carried the main danger. “The country had no strong tradition of local government and the regional authorities were politically and financially weak compared to the center; there was only one central state TV station and one publishing house where almost all central newspapers and magazines were printed. In these circumstances, only effective parliamentary control over the government could bridle the executives’ efforts to concentrate power.”15

***

  • 16 Elena Korosteleva, “The Emergence of a Party System,” in Postcommunist Belarus, ed. S. White, E. K (...)

11The destruction of democratic principles of government such as restriction of other institutions’ power and attribution of more authority to the president began with the first referendum initiated in 1995, by the results of which the president “obtained” the right to dismiss the parliament. In the 1996 referendum, new amendments proposed the introduction of a two-chamber parliament and transmission of some parliamentary authority to the president, in particular, the appointment of members to the Upper Chamber of Parliament, members of the Constitutional Court, members of the Central Election Committee and the State Control Committee. It is no accident that 1996 is sometimes called the “year of constitutional coup d’état” in Belarus. Following the referendum, the parliament elected in 1996 was dissolved and some of its members (110) who were loyal to the president entered the “new” parliament—the National Assembly. Since that time, the Belarusian parliament ceased to be recognized by the international community. The Constitutional Court was dissolved as well. Since 1996, the heads of local executive committees at all levels have been appointed by the president. It is hard to overestimate the importance of such transformations in the political system. E. Korosteleva writes, “This phenomenon, known as the ‘presidential vertical’, has in essence deprived the electors of their right to decision making and control of government.”16

  • 17 Mathew Shugart and John M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral D (...)

12A number of works in political science give a comparative analysis of presidential legislative power in different states as registered in national laws.17 Analyzing the possibilities provided to the president by the law of a state, one can judge his range of influence and “degree” of power. In the light of legislative properties of the institution of the presidency, the power of the Belarusian president undoubtedly looks extended. Although officially the president is not the head of executive power (in the Belarusian constitution there is no such concept), he nevertheless has real authorities of the head of government. The president is entitled not only to appoint, with the parliament’s consent, the prime minister and to moderate the Council of Ministers’ meetings, but also to individually determine the structure of government, to appoint and dismiss its members, and to decide to dissolve the government. In addition, the president is entitled to promulgate decrees and orders that are binding on the territory of the whole country, as well as to reject any enactments of the government. Furthermore, the president has the right to veto a law or a part of a law, to promulgate a decree (which has the force of a law as long as it remains within the framework of the constitution); and in case of any inconsistency between a decree or edict and the law, a presidential regulatory act takes precedence, with the exception of cases when the authority to promulgate a decree or edict is provided for by the law. The president does not plan the state budget, which is the parliament’s responsibility, but his approval is required; he has the right to convene a national referendum, though the same right is given to both chambers of the parliament and a certain number of common citizens. Finally, the president has the right to dissolve the parliament, but only if the latter twice refuses to confirm the nominated prime minister or if the Lower Chamber expresses its vote of no confidence in the government, provided that there is no state of emergency, martial law, or impeachment procedure going on in the country.

  • 18 White and Korosteleva, “Lukashenko and the Postcommunist Presidency,” 63–64.
  • 19 White and Korosteleva, “Lukashenko and the Postcommunist Presidency,” 64; see also Lee Kendal Metc (...)
  • 20 Lyakhovich, “Uviadzennie pasady prezydenta Belarusi: peradumovy i nastupstvy,” http://kamunikat.or (...)

13Comparing presidential authority in Belarus and some other countries, White and Korosteleva conclude that the Belarusian president is “well above, for instance, the Mexican or American president in terms of legislative powers, but below them both in terms of his extralegislative authority.”18 At the same time, the authors admit that such a “mechanical” examination of presidential powers has its flaws. In particular, it cannot detect shades of the real policy of the authorities: “a president who looks powerful on paper may be ‘quite weak in reality (and vice versa)’,” besides, in the reality of post-communist countries “the powers of the presidency are difficult to distinguish from ‘the exceptional personalities’ that have held this office.”19 As Lyakhovich writes, examination of Belarus’s legislative instruments for regulating the legal status and determining the sphere of power of the Belarusian president gives “an impression that is quite far from the reality.”20 The legislative limits within which a political structure exists are prone to being eroded and “merged” with the image of a certain person. In such cases, the person in power gradually begins to replace the law.

  • 21 “Vlast’ i pravo v kontekste obshchestvennogo razvitia,” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 1(12) (2002), htt (...)

14A participant in a roundtable discussion where lawyers and political scientists debated on the topic “Power and Law in the Context of Society’s Development” correctly noted: “In the West, the concepts of ‘power’ and ‘law’ are ontologically clearly separated in the consciousness of both the elite and society, while in Belarus these concepts are not separated, they are merged in the mass consciousness. With us power is law, whatever power desires, people have to fulfill.”21 The Belarusian history of the past decade shows that the political system has transformed because a person in power has created the illusion in a major part of society that, as a political figure, he is identical to power as a political institution. Later by means of numerous manipulations (amendments to the constitution, a number of decrees and orders), this identification was given a legislative basis. Power has become a synonym for law and vice versa.

  • 22 White and Korosteleva, “Lukashenko and the Postcommunist Presidency,” 64.
  • 23 One such violation that received great publicity is connected with the decree signed by A. Lukashe (...)
  • 24 White and Korosteleva, “Lukashenko and the Postcommunist Presidency,” 64, 74.

15Another problem in the analysis of the Belarusian presidency is socalled unregistered power—authorities that are not set by the constitution—for example, appointments to the system of legal power, including the Constitutional Court, whose function, among others, is to monitor the president’s activity; or the authority of the president in making assignments to the Upper Chamber of Parliament, which is “difficult to reconcile with the principle of the separation of powers.”22 And, finally, an analysis of the legitimized power of the Belarusian president leaves out the fact that in his activities he regularly breaches the limits of his legal authority.23 Except for authorities that are legally confirmed, the work of the state system presupposes the informal switching over to the president of decisions regarding most spheres of life, which makes him the sole acting level of authority in the country. As a result, in the territory subordinate to Lukashenka’s regime, “a rule of law largely ceased to operate,” while the political system in the country displays “ostensibly free and regular elections, liberties that are guaranteed on paper and the nominal presence of a rule of law.”24

ECONOMIC MARKETIZATION AND LIBERALIZATION

  • 25 Ryszard Radzik, “Belarus’ i Siarednie-Ushodniaia Europa.”
  • 26 Command economy or directed economy is an economic system in which the central government makes al (...)
  • 27 D. Mario Nuti, “The Belarus Economy: Suspended Animation between State and Markets,” in White, Kor (...)

16The economic development of Belarus looks even more ambiguous than its political development. The assessment of Belarusian economic strategy is much more contradictory than that of its political one. In a way, Belarusian experience is an attempt at economic development without significant reforms in the system inherited from the USSR. A few steps toward reforms were made in 1992–94: price liberalization was carried out; native currency was formally controlled by an independent bank that was introduced; large-scale privatization vouchers were issued. However, after 1994 all reforms were halted. In 1997, Polish sociologist Ryszard Radzik wrote about the doubtful prospects for Belarus’s development “where no essential structural reforms took place. Belarusian economic system is characterized by a low privatization level, a high level of centralization and unstable legal norms, a continual decrease in investment and a liquidation of the monetary reserves of the country.”25 As a result, a command economy26 is operating today in Belarus under a thin layer of market activity, a situation that is “similar to pre-transition Poland in the second half of the 1980s.”27

  • 28 A. Lukashenka, “Edinenie—nash istoricheskii vybor.” Nash sovremennik 12 (2005), http://www.soyuzin (...)
  • 29 Ibid.
  • 30 Ibid.
  • 31 Ibid.

17The official name for Belarus’s economic model is a “socially oriented market economy.” This model includes a series of principles based on economic and legal aspects. First, it is “an active regulating role of the state that appears in elaborating and introducing prospective programs of social and economic development, in defining priorities, and in controlling their execution.”28 Second, it is “an active structure of authority, essential for the efficient administration of the national economy.”29 Third, it is “legal and factual provision of the equality of forms of property.”30 (The lack of concrete privatization actions in a country that inherited an economy of total state ownership, leads to an incontestable preponderance of state property over private property.) Fourth, it is social policy, meaning “when the economy works for the development of a system of free education, medicine, maintenance of social guarantees, and payments.” Finally, it is “integration with Russia.”31

  • 32 D. M. Nuti, “The Belarusian Alternative: Transition or Solely Reform,” Belarus Economic Trends Qua (...)
  • 33 Nuti, “The Belarus Economy,” 101.

18This “Belarusian model” seems to be something like that very “third way,” which European social democrats, or the left, have failed to discover. However, “the European third way” presupposes “the primacy of markets both domestically and globally, favors privatization of state assets and enterprises, and is committed to affordable and sustainable policies, recognizing the importance of hard budget constraints and fiscal and monetary prudence.”32 Meanwhile the Belarusian “third way” strives toward preserving state property in its old, prereform condition, slightly diluted by market elements, but in general it presupposes no real market system as it is. That is why the so-called target model of Belarusian economic development, a “socially oriented market economy,” is nothing but utopia because, as D. Mario Nuti notes, “one cannot socially orient a market economy that is not there.”33

19The state sector of the Belarusian economy by far outnumbers the private one. Investments in private sector GDP are about 20 percent, while in Russia they are 70 percent, and in Ukraine 55 percent. Foreign net income in the economy still remains the lowest among all post-Soviet economic systems. Market mechanisms have been introduced in a limited number of fields, which allows us to speak of a system of hybrid economic management—part market and part planned—with odds favoring the latter.

  • 34 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Transition Report (London, 2003).
  • 35 Colin W. Lawson, “Path-Dependence and the Economy of Belarus,” in Korosteleva, Lawson, and Marsh, (...)
  • 36 Mario D. Nuti, “Suspended Animation Instead of Transition,” paper presented at the ESRC workshop “ (...)

20Since 1994, the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has annually published Transition Reports with “A Transition Progress Scoreboard”34 concerning the countries with which it cooperates. Soon after the first publication, Belarus firmly occupied one of the last places among transition countries on the list. This means that in terms of reforms it has not advanced more than Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, or Turkmenistan. No wonder some authors notice that in the case of the Belarusian economy one can hardly speak of the failure of economic reforms, as one can of reforms in Russia and Ukraine. Belarus, alongside Turkmenistan, is one of the countries “where economic transition has not really been tried, so it is wrong to speak of failure.”35 Mario Nuti also places Belarus in the category of “non starters” suggesting that the process of transition has not begun.36

21Virtually, Belarus has a command economic system, with large state enterprises dominating, state control over the prices in both the state and the private sectors, the Central Bank subordinate to the authorities, large-scale subsidies, and latent inflation. According to the index of economic freedom, in 2009 Belarus ranks 167th out of 179 countries, which characterizes it as a “repressive” economy.37

  • 38 Ioffe, “Understanding Belarus: Economy and Political Landscape,” 90.
  • 39 Ibid., 91. The author refers to “Osnovnye pokazateli po gosudarstvam sodruzhestva v 1999” (Moscow: (...)
  • 40 Ioffe, “Understanding Belarus: Economy and Political Landscape,” 91.

22Still, some researchers indicate that the absence of market reforms in Belarus does not mean its economy has ceased operations. Grigory Ioffe remarks, “The economic situation in Belarus is far from serene […] and writers who cast Belarus as inherently backward, wretched and dependent […] have not done their homework on Belarus.”38 Ioffe cites comparative figures of economic development in Belarus since 1994, which show that among the countries of the CIS “Belarus’s economic standing appears to be favorable.” It produces 70 percent of buses, 60 percent of tractors, 50 percent of television sets, and 25 percent of the footwear in the entire CIS.39 “Belarus is also ahead of Russia and Ukraine in agricultural output: in Belarus it declined by 32 %, whereas in Russia and Ukraine it fell by 40 and 43 % respectively.”40

  • 41 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Transition Report (London, 2003).
  • 42 The Human Development Index (HDI) is characterized as a “broadened prism for viewing human progres (...)
  • 43 For example, in 2003 Belarus ranked fifty-third while Russia was fifty-fifth and Ukraine was seven (...)

23The index of economic restoration also proves the absence of any recession in the economy: by 2002 Belarus had restored 93 percent of GDP as compared to 1989, ranking second after Uzbekistan (e.g., Russia’s index is 71 percent).41 The unemployment rate in the country remains at 2 to 3 percent. According to annual UN Human Development reports and the Human Development Index,42 Belarus constantly stays far ahead of all other CIS countries and some East European countries.43

  • 44 Ravi Abdelal, “Razlichnoe ponimanie vzaimozavisimosti: natsionalnaia bezopasnost’ i torgovlia ener (...)
  • 45 Lukashenka, “Edinenie—nash istoricheskii vybor.”

24The majority of experts on Belarus agree that the main source of economic solvency has to be sought in Russian support. Russia helps to sustain the Belarusian economy in diverse ways. Ravi Abdelal refers to “debt pardoning and rescheduling;” “loopholes in customs union,” “favorable barter terms, and heavily subsidized energy exports, particularly gas.”44 No wonder there is one principle among the basics of the “Belarusian model” of economic development—“close cooperation, overall integration with Russia (a common trade and economic area, manufacturing cooperation, formation of an energy balance, mutually beneficial trade in resources, goods, and services).”45

  • 46 See http://belstat.gov.by/; G. Muzlova, “Belarus’ na fone stran centralnoi i vostochnoi Evropy. Sp (...)
  • 47 Dean M. Hanink, Principles and Applications of Economic Geography (New York: Wiley, 1996), 341–42.
  • 48 Wallander and Legvold, Swords and Sustenance, 6.
  • 49 Ibid.
  • 50 Albert O. Hirschman, National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade (Berkeley: Uni versity of C (...)

25The fact that the Belarusian economy is an “open” model is at variance with its economic image as a backward country undergoing constant crisis. In actuality, foreign commerce is rapidly developing in Belarus at a pace that no other CIS countries can boast. Export trade makes up more than half of its GDP.46 This openness of the Belarusian economy is nothing but a paradox for all economy analysts, since it is traditionally accepted that the degree of openness is usually high in economically developed countries of medium size, and Belarus seems to fit these criteria.47 However, this openness of economy, which means the dependence of economic growth on external factors, not only creates unlimited scope for further development but also makes it vulnerable. Economists have long known the risks borne by an economy oriented on foreign commerce. First, it leads to specialization of the country’s economy, followed by its dependence on foreign consumers of their goods. This would not pose a serious problem if world commerce were based on the principles of a pure market. However, political factors have an influence here. According to Wallander and Legvold, “The main players in the international system are not firms motivated only by profit incentive and therefore willing to sell any goods to any other firm that can buy, but countries.”48 Economic policy is not an exception—countries aim toward definite vectors in their foreign policy. Still, “foreign policy may change quickly, while economic specialization is quite difficult to reverse in a short period of time.”49 This makes the state, whose economic system is based upon a narrow specialization on the foreign market, quite vulnerable. Second, commerce eventually leads to the rise of a system of interdependencies between participants in trade relations, in which by far not everyone has the same status. Large countries can easily adapt to any changes in dealership, even its cessation. Albert Hirschman called this phenomenon in international commerce an “influence effect.” “The influence effect of foreign trade derives from the fact that the trade conducted between country A, on the one hand, and countries B, C, D on the other, is worth something for B, C, D, etc., and that they would, therefore, consent to grant A certain advantages—military, political, economic—in order to retain the possibility of trading with A.”50

26This effect is clearly seen in the relationship between Belarus and Russia, since any change in the political and economic strategy of Russian authorities might bring forth an economic crisis in Belarus. It is this potential influence effect based on economic dependency that has caused many to speak of the Belarusian regime as a Russian protégé. However, the events of 2006–7 showed that even when Russia did decide to use its economic tools and to exert influence upon the Belarusian authorities, the exertion turned out to be purely economic in character, and not exactly political, as if it were trading firms, not political units. The result of the January 2007 negotiations on energy carrier price adjustments was that the Russian side lowered prices. The Belarusian side in turn was obliged to reverse about forty presidential decrees and about twenty resolutions formerly introduced by the government to restrict Russian business on the territory of Belarus.51 Thus, Russia acted in order to achieve nothing more than better conditions for Russian business in Belarus.

  • 52 Andrew Wilson and Clelia Rontoyanni, “Security or Prosperity?” in Swords and Sustenance, ed. Walla (...)
  • 53 “Predelnye stavki: mobilizatsiia vs liberalizatsiia,” Nashe mnenie, January 11, 2007. http://www.n (...)

27There is a hidden meaning in the Russian demands because these restrictions, in the view of some authors, were virtually essential for survival of the regime. As Andrew Wilson and Clelia Rontoyanni wrote, “Opening up the national economy to Russian capital, liberalizing the business climate, and giving up monetary emission would erode the state’s control over the economy, which has so far enabled President Lukashenka to maintain relatively generous welfare policies, underpinning his popularity among his core constituencies. Moreover, liberalization would foster a new class of Belarusian entrepreneurs likely to seek to advance their own interests in a more pluralistic political landscape.”52 It is no wonder that the Belarusian official discourse interprets the rise in supply tariffs and the demands of the Russian side as a factual break in the former mode of relations and repudiation of the idea of the union state. On the contrary, according to the Russian side, the achieved agreement is oriented toward “economic integration,” and therefore is yet another level of building up the union state. At the same time, some Belarusian analysts see Russia’s decision to reduce subsidies to the Belarusian economy as paradoxically positive for the Belarusian regime. They believe these reductions will strengthen the regime, as it may eventually force the Belarusian authorities to start market reforms, and thus to “facilitate the sanitation of the Belarusian economic system and reinforce the authority of Lukashenka as a fighter for Belarus’s independence.”53 Thus, these events made it evident that Russia does not presently intend to use its economic tools for political purposes.

  • 54 Ustremlennost’ v budushchee. Belarus‘, 1995–2005. Cifry i fakty (Minsk: Ministerstvo statistiki i (...)
  • 55 Belarusian Ministry of Statistics and Analysis data, http://belstat.gov.by.
  • 56 Ya. Shimov, “Belarus: Vostochnoevropeiskii paradoks,” Neprikosnovennyi zapas, no. 47 (2006), http: (...)
  • 57 Rafal Sadowski and Marek Tejchman, “Czy Chiny są Białorusią Azji?,” Polski portal finan sowy, Augu (...)

28However, in terms of economy Belarus is dependent not only on its eastern neighbor but also on the European Union (EU). Moreover, the share of exports from Belarus to EU countries is increasing, while the share to Russia is declining. According to data provided by the Belarusian Ministry of Statistics and Analysis, the share of export trade with different countries is as follows: in 2003, 49.2 percent of Belarusian exports went to Russia, and 32.5 percent to the EU; in 2004, the figures were 47 percent and 36.7 percent, respectively; in 2005 for the first time export trade with EU member countries was higher than that with Russia: 44.1 percent (EU) and 35.8 percent (Russia);54 in 2006—34.7 percent (Russia) and 45.5 percent (EU).55 In other words, the European Union makes a considerable contribution to the development of the Belarusian economy, and, theoretically, also has an economic lever. However, despite all of the ideological discrepancies and tension in terms of policy, they have used no lever. On the one hand, this would mean negative profits for the European countries. Belarus is an important transit state between Russian energy carriers and European consumers. Moreover, the country purveys oil products and potash fertilizers, which is quite significant for some European economies, for example, the Netherlands (17 percent of Belarusian exports go to this country) and the United Kingdom (which receives 7 percent of Belarusian exports). On the other hand, leaders of the Belarusian political opposition, realizing the consequences of possible economic sanctions against the Belarusian state by the European Union, urges their avoidance. Otherwise, should the people’s lives deteriorate in any way, the opposition would immediately be found guilty and the authorities would reveal another striking demonstration of their anti-Belarusian people position. As a result, as one writer notes, “being totally isolated ideologically, half-isolated politically, Belarus is completely free of bounds economically. […] That is […] the ‘Belarusian paradox:’ ‘the last dictatorship of Europe,’ ruled by the people whose political style is populist retro, owns an open and dynamically developing economy.”56 It is no accident that Belarus is sometimes viewed as the “China of Europe.”57

  • 58 Belarusian political scientist U. Rouda writes that the correlation between the economic state and (...)

29Many parameters of Belarusian economic development exceed those in neighboring republics, which creates “a trust credit” in public opinion concerning the political strategy of the Belarusian regime. This relative stability of the economic situation in the country, that has been attained without painful radical reforms, is one of the grounds on which the popularity of the Belarusian authorities is built.58

CIVIL SOCIETY: THE PARALLEL WORLD OF
THE BELARUSIAN OPPOSITION

30In a society built on the principle of “the authorities’ monopoly of power,” political parties, unions and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) as well as non–state-owned trade unions and non–state-funded media share a common destiny—they are ousted from the official public scene into a peculiar parallel world, where the counter-elite gather and compose the sphere of counter-politics. The existence of the “third sector” in Belarus is connected with numerous limitations and conventions that reduce its sense of existence to a constant struggle for survival.

31The development of nongovernmental organizations in Belarus began quite late, and from the very start they faced problems of legitimization. Before 1994, the third sector had no legislative ground, “The Law on Public Associations” was adopted only in October 1994. During the early years of Belarusian independence, a major portion of NGOs represented organizations that had evolved from the remnants of the Komsomol and other typical Soviet organizations (such as veterans of war or labor). Only a few of them managed to eliminate state control and become independent. The first independent NGOs in Belarus focused on ecological problems (e.g., the foundation “To the Children of Chernobyl,” 1989) or on youth work (e.g., “The Confederation of Youth Association,” 1989). Since Lukashenka came to power, the Belarusian third sector has found itself under rigid pressure from the state.

  • 59 U. Rouda, “Tretsiaia khvalia, albo suchasnya asablivastsi zmagan’nia belaruskaga rezhimu z nezalez (...)

32Belarusian political scientist U. Rouda has written about three waves of repressions against nongovernmental organizations and associations during the history of the Belarusian state—in 1997, 1999, and 2003.59

  • 60 In 2007 this commission was dissolved, and the Ministry of Justice became responsible for all of t (...)

33The first wave launched an attack on NGOs when the state launched a campaign against the most active organizations—the Belarusian Soros Foundation was closed down, the Foundation “Detiam Chernobyla” (“To the Children of Chernobyl”) and Tsentr Strategicheskikh initsiativ “Vos tok-Zapad” (Center for Strategic Initiatives East-West) were criminally prosecuted. In 1999, the second decree was issued, ordering all NGOs, political parties, and trade unions to re-register. In addition, the decree stipulated the establishment of a Commission on the Registration and Reregistration of Public Associations, attached to the president’s administration,60 the decisions of which affected the activities of organizations. As a result, the number of NGOs in Belarus declined from 2,500 to 1,300. (By four years later the number of NGOs had not reached the previous level. According to the Ministry of Justice, 2,248 nongovernmental organizations and associations were registered in the country in 2007.) The decree actually introduced the mandatory legal registration of existing nongovernmental organizations and associations. Finally, in 2003 the state began to actively eliminate the most active NGOs, a list of more than twenty. Simultaneously, an active campaign began to set up GoNGOs (state nongovernmental organizations). The president signed a decree “On Republican (National) State Public Associations” that were state-funded and intended to fulfill “assignments significant to the state.” Among these organizations were the Young Pioneers’ Organization, the official Union of Journalists, and the Belarusian National Youth League (BRSM). At the same time, a number of nongovernmental youth organizations were closed down—the Belarusian Students’ Association, the Youth Information Center, the Youth AGP, and the Youth Front. Enjoying all kinds of preferences these organizations are in fact tools of state ideology that play the role of “simulators” of civil society. They actively publicize themselves in the statefunded press and electronic media, and give an impression of the existence of pseudo-civil society in the public space. Meanwhile, activities of the real “third sector” are largely limited by legislative restrictions, ideological pressure, and the information vacuum within which they exist.

  • 61 Viacheslav Bobrovich, “Grazhdanskoe obshchestvo—novaia sotsial’naia utopia?” Ad kry taie gramadstv (...)

34Civil society is able to play the part of a constructive, mobilizing force as a sphere of public life that is able to control the state. But to do this, the third sector must preserve its independence from the state, and the idea of such control must become popular in society. In Belarus, as political scientist V. Bobrovich writes, civil society exists “in the form of a political project implemented by different political and nonpolitical institutions.”61 Belarusian citizens’ lack of interest in them makes their position vulnerable to prosecution and repression. Thus, the prospect of development of civil society finds itself in a kind of vicious circle: for this sphere to start functioning as a “third sector” it must become a mobilizing force in society. But in order to win positions in society and to attract support it must currently be operating and demonstrating convincing evidence of the constructive nature of its independence.

  • 62 Dawisha, “Democratization and Political Participation,” 47.

35The development of the Belarusian political party system is in a similar vicious circle. The party system in post-Soviet states is, on the one hand, a means of democratization, and on the other hand, itself one of the primary products of such democratization. Parties as institutions that represent the people should consolidate themselves in societies where trust in political institutions is shaken. “There essentially were no public politics in the communist era […]: there were no self-governing institutions, no interest groups or rival parties operating independent of the state, and no competing sources of information,”62 Karen Dawisha writes. All these should have been set up in a new society, but the main problem appears to be not so much institutional “white spots” in the public space of society as lack of realization by the majority of the population that their social life is deficient.

36One can speak of two periods in the development of Belarus’s party system. The 1990–96 period is characterized by slow but stable movement toward consolidation, as leading parties enjoyed growing support in society and occupied different positions in power structures. As such, the party system remained quite weak, although precisely at that time the population in Belarus was close to political mobilization. In the first years of independence, mass actions in Minsk attracted up to 50,000 participants. The Belarusian Popular Front, the main political force of a national and democratic orientation, had 150,000 members at that time.

37The second period, after 1996 is related to the departure of anti-regime parties from official politics into a “parallel world” and their shift to a strategy of self-defense after the president dissolved the legitimately elected parliament. Only parties loyal to Lukashenka entered the new parliament (the National Assembly) and now continue to have official support. The official Belarusian authorities, who have never tried to establish effective communications with other political actors, began to treat opposition political parties as anti-state formations and to interpret their intention to participate in power as an almost subversive, if not illegal, activity.

  • 63 D. G. Rotman and A. N. Danilov, “President and Opposition. Specific Features of the Belarusian Pol (...)
  • 64 “Komu doveriaut belorusy,” Arkhiv analitiki IISEPS, September 2005, http://www.iiseps.org/9-05-3.h (...)
  • 65 Mikhail Plisko, “Partogenez w sovremennoi Belarusi,” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 2 (8) (2000), http:/ (...)

38Opinion polls reveal that in Belarusian society the number of those with a clear idea of the country’s existing political parties remains at a level of 20 percent of the population, and as few as 1 percent are directly involved in their activities.63 Lack of interest in political parties is reflected in the results of parliamentary elections: in 2004 not a single representative of an opposition party was elected to parliament. Independent researchers also express distrust for parties as political institutions. According to an IISEPS opinion poll in the project “Whom Do Belarusians Trust?” among the institutions Belarusians trust, last position was occupied by opposition parties. Their trust rate “proved to be even below that of the police (militsia), traditionally the population’s least favorite institution”—the trust rate of opposition parties was 15 percent and distrust 60 percent in 2005, while in 2004, the respective rates were 20 percent and 48.5 percent. Trust in progovernmental parties was just slightly higher—the trust rate was 28.8 percent in 2005 and 26 percent in 2004, while distrust amounted to 47.3 percent in 2004 and 48.6 percent in 2005.64 Remarkably, almost equal distrust of pro- and antigovernmental parties suggests that distrust of parties is stipulated not by their own programs and political orientations, but by the existing political environment, in which parties in fact have no definite place. As M. Plisko writes, “none of them, even the pro-Lukashenka Communist Party of Belarus, feel involved in governing the state.”65 Progovernmental parties have no role in the political system because the power structure assigns them no function, and they remain a purely decorative element of “Belarusian democracy.” Antigovernmental parties work in ideological and structural conditions that a priori do not permit any op position. As political practice shows, it appears to be impossible to simultaneously remain in a state of permanent struggle with the regime and to stand up for the interests of civil society.

  • 66 Korosteleva, Lawson, and Marsh, “Introduction. Paradoxes of Democratization in Post communist Bela (...)
  • 67 Elena Korosteleva, “Party System Development in Post Communist Belarus,” in Con temporary Belarus, (...)
  • 68 Ibid.

39Elena A. Korosteleva, Colin W. Lawson and Rosalind J. Marsh offer an explanation for this phenomenon: “Belarusian voters are torn between supporting their preferred political parties, which in a normal democracy would promise some direct or at least indirect representation for them, and the President, whose monopolization of power means that only he can satisfy their demands.”66 As a result, even those who may share the views and values of a certain party cast their votes not in its favor, but for a political “actor” who possesses real influence. A peculiar situation emerges, where “the electorates of the presidential and anti-system parties considerably overlap, and this forms an environment for vote switching along the ‘president–anti-president’ divide.”67 E. Korosteleva calls this kind of electoral behavior of voters “rational flexibility:” it “allows them to pursue their own short-term policies despite their ideological motivations and personal beliefs.”68

  • 69 Dawisha, “Democratization and Political Participation,” 52.

40Karen Dawisha writes about conditions in which political parties have a chance to establish themselves as credible institutions. “Parties will gain pre-eminence as intermediary institutions only if elections are regular, free and fair; and the holding of regular, and free and fair elections will increase civic trust over time.”69 Application of these politological truths to the Belarusian situation again leads to a kind of vicious circle: for a strong party system to appear in Belarus regular and fair elections must take place, which can result in trust in parties as political institutions. But such elections should be conditioned by functioning machinery of political representation in society. In practice in Belarus’s nontransparent elections, where the authorities use different means of struggle with representatives of anti-regime parties (discrediting representatives of opposition political forces in the mass media, eliminating candidates at the registration stage, using administrative resources, that is, pressure on voters, and, finally using a nontransparent procedure for counting votes), it leads to the ousting of political parties from the public sphere. As a result, interest in them considerably diminishes, their presence is no longer connected in people’s minds with a possible solution of any problems.

41According to Belarusian political scientist M. Plisko, Belarusian parties had a chance of full-fledged development. “Before autumn 1996, even in the conditions of a semi-presidential republic, there existed a possibility of shaping a political system with built-in political parties. And if the ensuing parliamentary elections took place in normal political circumstances and under the former constitutional order—some five to ten years later […] we could have a number of quite strong and influential parties. […] In the new Belarusian reality, parliament has become a supplement to the president’s administration, and is deprived of many rights, while local representative power, in turn, has grown into an appendage of the president’s vertical.”70 From this point of view, the ideological state of public space of contemporary Belarus is in many respects similar to that of the pre-perestroika period. Partial institutional conservation of the system of power is conducive to this process. At first sight, the power structure in Belarus has undergone serious transformations at the national level, with the introductions of the institution of the presidency and a two-chamber parliament. However, at the local level there have been many fewer changes. The old “Soviets” were simply adapted to the requirements of the new system, and in addition, since 1996, all heads of local executive committees have been appointed by the president. As A. Yekadumau writes, we observe a “continuity of the basic principles of power implementation in the Belarusian Soviet Socialist Republic and in the contemporary independent Republic of Belarus.”71

  • 72 Robert F. Miller, “Civil Society in Communist System: An Introduction,” in The Develop ment of Civ (...)

42The establishment of centralism in the new power structure was conducive to conservation in the public consciousness of old ideas about the political power machine in the country. Within such conceptions, the presence of several parties in the country’s political space creates a landscape that does not correspond to the models of cognitive political experience generated by the Soviet system. One feature of political experience in the socialist version was the “indivisibility” of public space, that is, its homogeneity, which is used to create the illusion of “civil peace.” The socialist regime aspired to build a political system that not only compelled each citizen to enter its sociopolitical program but also excluded the very concept of interests different from those of the ruling elite identified with the interests of the state.72 At the same time, such categories as “motherland” and “the people” were also interpreted as inseparable in principle and never prone to subdivision. That is why the language of power defines the struggle for power in the Belarusian political landscape not as the “absorption” of part of the electorate but as the right to identify itself with the whole— the nation, the country, Belarus. In this situation, political parties, whose very nature presupposes fragmentation of the political landscape, and NGOs that exist as a sphere separate from the state and aim to represent interests independent of it begin to be described in the authorities’ rhetoric and in the ensuing comprehension of the pro-presidentially minded part of the population as violators of the civil peace. The old frameworks of political experience formed in Belarusian society serve as another obstacle in the third sector’s development. Parties and NGOs are united into a common camp of “nonpower,” which, correspondingly, falls out of the space represented by the authorities and in which the real process of making decisions about the country’s development is implemented.

Notes

1 Claus Offe, “Capitalism by Democratic Design? Facing the Triple Transition in East Central Europe,” Social Research 58, no. 4 (1991): 865–92.

2 Christian W. Haerpfer, Democracy and Enlargement in Post-Communist Europe: The Democratisation of the General Public in 15 Central and Eastern European Countries, 1991–1998 (New York: Routledge, 2002), 3.

3 Christian W. Haerpfer, Democracy and Enlargement in Post-Communist Europe, 3.

4 Leslie Holmes, Post-Communism (Cambridge: Polity Press, 1997), 193.

5 Juan Linz, “Opasnosti prezidentstva,” Predely vlasti, nos. 2–3 (1994), http://old.russ.ru/antolog/predely/2-3/dem14.htm.

6 Donald L. Horowitz, “Razlichia demokratii,” Predely vlasti, nos. 2–3 (1994), http://old.russ.ru:/antolog/predely/2-3/dem26.htm.

7 Seymour Martin Lipset, “Rol’ politicheskoi kultury,” Predely vlasti, nos. 2–3 (1994), http://old.russ.ru:/antolog/predely/2-3/dem32.htm.

8 Joel Hellman, “Winners Take All: The Politics of Partial Reform in Post-Communist Transition,” World Politics 50, no. 2 (January 1998): 203–34.

9 A. Lyakhovich, “Obzor proektov i idei reformirovania politicheskoi sistemy Belarusi,” 13.

10 Stanislav Shushkevich, “Interv’iu” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 1(7) (2000), http://data.minsk.by/opensociety/1.00/2.html.

11 “Kakoi byt’ Belarusi: prezidentskoi ili parlamentskoi?” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 1(7) (2000), http://data.minsk.by/opensociety/1.00/5.html.

12 Zianon Pazniak, “Chamu namenklatura za prezydenta?” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 1 (10) (2001), http://data.minsk.by/opensociety/1.01/11.html.

13 A. Lyakhovich, “Uviadzennie pasady prezydenta Belarusi: peradumovy i nastupstvy,” in Belaruskaia palitychnaia systema i prezydentskia vybary 2001, ed. V. Bulgakau (Minsk–Warsaw: Analytical Group, IDEE, 2001), http://kamunikat.org/knihi.html?pubid=1811.

14 Silitski, “Explaining Post-Communist Authoritarianism in Belarus,” 41.

15 Ibid., 41–42.

16 Elena Korosteleva, “The Emergence of a Party System,” in Postcommunist Belarus, ed. S. White, E. Korosteleva, and J. Löwenhardt (Lanham, MD: Rowman and Littlefield, 2005), 56.

17 Mathew Shugart and John M. Carey, Presidents and Assemblies: Constitutional Design and Electoral Dynamics (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1992), chap. 8, 148–166; James McGregor, “The Presidency in East Central Europe,” RFE/RL Research Report 3, no. 2 (January 14, 1994): 23–31; Timothy Frye, “A Politics of Institutional Choice: Post communist Presidencies,” Comparative Political Studies 30, no. 5 (October 1997): 523–52.

18 White and Korosteleva, “Lukashenko and the Postcommunist Presidency,” 63–64.

19 White and Korosteleva, “Lukashenko and the Postcommunist Presidency,” 64; see also Lee Kendal Metcalf, “Measuring Presidential Power,” Comparative Political Studies 33, no. 5 (June 2000): 83.

20 Lyakhovich, “Uviadzennie pasady prezydenta Belarusi: peradumovy i nastupstvy,” http://kamunikat.org/knihi.html?pubid=1811.

21 “Vlast’ i pravo v kontekste obshchestvennogo razvitia,” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 1(12) (2002), http://data.minsk.by/opensociety/1.02/4.html.

22 White and Korosteleva, “Lukashenko and the Postcommunist Presidency,” 64.

23 One such violation that received great publicity is connected with the decree signed by A. Lukashenka on May 7, 2005, which ordered the main Minsk avenues named after Skaryna and Masherau to be renamed “Independence” and “Victory” avenues, res pectively. Ac cording to the law (which is considered to be superior to a presidential decree) “On administrative and territorial divisions and the order of deciding matters of administrative and territorial makeup of the Republic of Belarus” signed by Lukashenka himself in May 1998, the president is not to rename streets. The sphere of his authority covers oblasts, regional and urban districts, towns of oblast jurisdiction and their districts, as well as districts of Minsk city. The renaming of avenues, streets, squares, and other constituent parts of localities is made by the respective local council of deputies, taking into account the opinion of the given territory’s population. The decree caused a disturbance among the intelligentsia and opposition; there were demonstrations in Minsk but the decision remained valid. Frantsishak Skaryna symbolizes the golden age of pre-Soviet non-Russian Belarusian history, and Piotr Masherau symbolizes the Soviet epoch of Belarusian prosperity. Thus, this decision had important symbolic meaning and also set a precedent for violation of the law by a head of state, which was striking for politically conscious Belarusians.

24 White and Korosteleva, “Lukashenko and the Postcommunist Presidency,” 64, 74.

25 Ryszard Radzik, “Belarus’ i Siarednie-Ushodniaia Europa.”

26 Command economy or directed economy is an economic system in which the central government makes all decisions on the production and consumption of goods and services. In such economies, central economic planning by the state or government is so extensive that it controls all major sectors of the economy and formulates all decisions about their use and about the distribution of income.

27 D. Mario Nuti, “The Belarus Economy: Suspended Animation between State and Markets,” in White, Korosteleva, and Löwenhardt, Postcommunist Belarus, 97.

28 A. Lukashenka, “Edinenie—nash istoricheskii vybor.” Nash sovremennik 12 (2005), http://www.soyuzinfo.ru/ru/officially/interview_earnings/index.php?from4=6&id4=85573.

29 Ibid.

30 Ibid.

31 Ibid.

32 D. M. Nuti, “The Belarusian Alternative: Transition or Solely Reform,” Belarus Economic Trends Quarterly Report 2 (April–June 1999): 14–20.

33 Nuti, “The Belarus Economy,” 101.

34 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Transition Report (London, 2003).

35 Colin W. Lawson, “Path-Dependence and the Economy of Belarus,” in Korosteleva, Lawson, and Marsh, Contemporary Belarus, 125.

36 Mario D. Nuti, “Suspended Animation Instead of Transition,” paper presented at the ESRC workshop “One Europe or Several;” “The Outsiders: Belarus, Moldova, and Ukraine between Russia and Europe,” London School of Economics, December 15 (2000). Quoted in Andrew Wilson and Clelia Rontoyanni, “Security or Prosperity? Bela rusian and Ukrainian Choices,” in Wallander and Legvold, Swords and Sustenance, 44.

37 “Ranking the Countries, 2009”, Index of Economic Freedom, Heritage Foundation, http://www.heritage.org/index/Rankings.aspx.

38 Ioffe, “Understanding Belarus: Economy and Political Landscape,” 90.

39 Ibid., 91. The author refers to “Osnovnye pokazateli po gosudarstvam sodruzhestva v 1999” (Moscow: Statkomitet, 2000), 135–38.

40 Ioffe, “Understanding Belarus: Economy and Political Landscape,” 91.

41 European Bank for Reconstruction and Development, Transition Report (London, 2003).

42 The Human Development Index (HDI) is characterized as a “broadened prism for viewing human progress and the complex relationship between income and well-being,” http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2003.

43 For example, in 2003 Belarus ranked fifty-third while Russia was fifty-fifth and Ukraine was seventy-fourth. In 2006 Belarus ranked sixty-seventh out of 177 countries, while Ukraine was seventy-seventh, Kazakhstan was seventy-ninth, and Moldova was 114th. http://hdr.undp.org/en/reports/global/hdr2003.

44 Ravi Abdelal, “Razlichnoe ponimanie vzaimozavisimosti: natsionalnaia bezopasnost’ i torgovlia energoresursami,” in Mechi i orala (Russian translation of Swords and Sustenance, ed. C. Wallander and R. Legvold [Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2003]), 126.

45 Lukashenka, “Edinenie—nash istoricheskii vybor.”

46 See http://belstat.gov.by/; G. Muzlova, “Belarus’ na fone stran centralnoi i vostochnoi Evropy. Spetsifika regionalizatsii vneshnei torgovli,” in Regionalizatsiia i tsentralizm v territorial’noi organizatsii obshchestva i regional’nom razvitii (Moscow: IGRAN, 2001).

47 Dean M. Hanink, Principles and Applications of Economic Geography (New York: Wiley, 1996), 341–42.

48 Wallander and Legvold, Swords and Sustenance, 6.

49 Ibid.

50 Albert O. Hirschman, National Power and the Structure of Foreign Trade (Berkeley: Uni versity of California Press, 1945), 17. Quoted in Wallander and Legvold, Swords and Sus tenance, 7.

51 Vzgliad Biznes Gazeta, “Neftianye ustupki,” January 17, 2007, http://www.vz.ru/politics/2007/1/13/64265.html.

52 Andrew Wilson and Clelia Rontoyanni, “Security or Prosperity?” in Swords and Sustenance, ed. Wallander and Legvold, 74–75.

53 “Predelnye stavki: mobilizatsiia vs liberalizatsiia,” Nashe mnenie, January 11, 2007. http://www.nmnby.org/pub/0701/11d.html.

54 Ustremlennost’ v budushchee. Belarus‘, 1995–2005. Cifry i fakty (Minsk: Ministerstvo statistiki i analiza RB, 2006) 114–15.

55 Belarusian Ministry of Statistics and Analysis data, http://belstat.gov.by.

56 Ya. Shimov, “Belarus: Vostochnoevropeiskii paradoks,” Neprikosnovennyi zapas, no. 47 (2006), http://magazines.russ.ru/nz/2006/47/sh11.html.

57 Rafal Sadowski and Marek Tejchman, “Czy Chiny są Białorusią Azji?,” Polski portal finan sowy, August 19, 2005, http://www.money.pl/gospodarka/tokfm/artykul/czy;chiny;sa;bialorusia;azji,162,0,129442.html.

58 Belarusian political scientist U. Rouda writes that the correlation between the economic state and political loyalty of Belarusian citizens is not direct, but reverse. Hence, here is the paradox: “Those with worse living standards vote for Lukashenko, the more prosperous and better-educated groups of population vote for his opponents. […] That is why Russia’s further efforts to provide Belarusian economic growth will inevitably lead to greater numbers of Belarusian citizens who internally reject the provincial “sovok” (Soviet mentality) no matter how authoritarian the methods whereby it is implanted.” U. Rouda, “Zachem nuzhen Putinu ‘domashnij diktator’,” Belorusy i rynok, May 3, 2006.

59 U. Rouda, “Tretsiaia khvalia, albo suchasnya asablivastsi zmagan’nia belaruskaga rezhimu z nezalezhnymi niauradavymi arganizatsiami,” Analitika Informatsionno-analitiche skij tsentr NGO, 2002 http://iac.unibel.by/anl_ng002.htm.

60 In 2007 this commission was dissolved, and the Ministry of Justice became responsible for all of these issues.

61 Viacheslav Bobrovich, “Grazhdanskoe obshchestvo—novaia sotsial’naia utopia?” Ad kry taie gramadstva, no. 5 (107) (1998), http://data.minsk.by/opensociety/107/5.html.

62 Dawisha, “Democratization and Political Participation,” 47.

63 D. G. Rotman and A. N. Danilov, “President and Opposition. Specific Features of the Belarusian Political Scene,” in Korosteleva, Lawson, and Marsh, Contemporary Belarus, 108.

64 “Komu doveriaut belorusy,” Arkhiv analitiki IISEPS, September 2005, http://www.iiseps.org/9-05-3.html.

65 Mikhail Plisko, “Partogenez w sovremennoi Belarusi,” Adkrytaie gramadstva no. 2 (8) (2000), http://www.data.minsk.by/opensociety/2.00/4.html.

66 Korosteleva, Lawson, and Marsh, “Introduction. Paradoxes of Democratization in Post communist Belarus,” 9.

67 Elena Korosteleva, “Party System Development in Post Communist Belarus,” in Con temporary Belarus, ed. Korosteleva, Lawson, and March (London–New York: Rout ledge Curzon, 2003), 78.

68 Ibid.

69 Dawisha, “Democratization and Political Participation,” 52.

70 Plisko, “Partogenez w sovremennoi Belarusi,” http://www.data.minsk.by/opensociety/2.00/4.html.

71 Andrei Yekadumau, “Palitychnaia systema Belarusi z 1990 pa 1996,” in Belaruskaia palitychnaia systema i prezydentskia vybary 2001, ed. V. Bulgakau (Minsk–Warsaw: Analytical Group IDEE, 2001), http://kamunikat.org/knihi.html?pubid=1811.

72 Robert F. Miller, “Civil Society in Communist System: An Introduction,” in The Develop ment of Civil Society in Communist System, ed. R. F. Miller (Sydney: Allen and Unwin, 1992), 5.

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