On May 13, 2020, the The Warsaw Institute Review team organized an expert debate “Belarus – between Moscow and NATO’s Eastern Flank”. The event was held in the form of live broadcasts to allow spectator active involvement during the pandemic through social media.
The debate was attended by Ambassador Gheorghe Magheru – former General Director at the office of the Romanian Minister for Foreign Affairs and a member of Scientific Council at the New Strategy Center and Olevs Nikers – President of Baltic Security Foundation, Director of Baltic Sea Security Initiative at The Jamestown Foundation. The meeting was hosted by Paweł Pawłowski, Chairman of the Warsaw Institute Foundation Council.
In the introductory speech, Mr. Ambassador Gheorghe Magheru emphasized an importance of the Romanian strategic partnership with Poland, Lithuania and the Baltic States. NATO’s eastern flank undoubtedly plays an important role for the security in this region of Europe. Mr. Ambassador stressed that Russia, which has been an imperial state since the time of Tsarist, nowadays is trying hard to present it in the countries of the region. The expert also raised the issue of joint Belarusian-Russian exercises – ZAPAD 2017 and mentioned the planned military exercises under the name Caucasus 2020, which is a good reason to increase Romanian military spending to 2% of GDP. In Romania at the turn of April and May a meeting of the Security Committee of Romania took place, during which important decisions were taken regarding the security of his country. In conclusion, he touched on the complex geopolitical position of Belarus in the context of its relations with the USA, Russia, the European Union, China and the Baltic States. Mr Ambassador mentioned the influence on relations between Ukraine and Russia on Belarus, the influence of Russian culture in the region and the future of Belarus in the region.
Olevs Nikers in his part on the subject of geopolitics of Belarus mentioned three main issues that in his opinion determine its policy, including the imperial drive of the Russian Federation. In his speech, he also raised the issues of ZAPAD 2017 military exercises and the location of military bases of the Russian Federation in the area. He brought about the political game President Lukashenko is leading towards Russia and the EU. On the whole nature of trade between Belarus, the Baltic States and Russia. Mr Nikers also referred to one of Lukashenko’s statements in which the president said that both Russia is the most valuable trading partner and that Belarus is also part of Europe. At the end of his speech, the head of the Baltic Security Foundation raised the topic of building a nuclear power plant in Belarus, which has a negative impact in his country and other Baltic countries.
We invite you to listen to the entire event in which our experts raised many more issues during the Q&A session!