What is Belarus’s policy on the Russo-Ukrainian war?

December 22, 2022
UkraineWorld spoke to Ihor Tyshkevich, an expert at the Ukrainian Institute of the Future.

Key points - in our brief, #UkraineWorldAnalysis:

1.  On what is currently happening on the Belarusian-Ukrainian border

  • Military forces on the Ukrainian side are not enough for an offensive, but probably enough for defense. On the Belarusian side, they do not have enough for offensive actions.
  • Technically, this would depend on the number of forces and resources involved. At this point and in the coming months, there is no possibility and no means for an invasion by Belarusian troops.

2.  On sanctions against Belarus

  • Belarus has fallen almost simultaneously with Russia under EU sanctions, now on a 9th package. Sanctions have been in force since 2020, so the decline of the Belarusian economy in 2022 was predicted to be around 7.5% per year. In reality, it will most likely be around 5%. The Belarusian economy is returning to its state from 2018. In terms of stabilization of payments on external debts, part of these have been restructured, while part has been paid. Minsk has officially withdrawn its securities from the issuing European banks, so there is no physical possibility of seizing Belarusian assets.

3.  On why Putin is coming to Lukashenko

  • Putin has set himself several tasks. Russia wants to become a key actor in the Belarusian economy and enter Belarusian politics, particularly to form an alternative to Lukashenko. This is the same thing that the Russians did in the Ukrainian Crimea, when they were able to institutionalize their influence through the Russian Bloc party. The Kremlin wants to create a formalized structured force in Belarus to operate from within. Therefore, they insist on both political and economic solutions to create infrastructure and solve this issue in the future.

The Observatory of Economic Complexity ranks Belarus's technological development of the economy at 29-31, while Russia's is at 51-55, and Ukraine's at 45-46.

  • There is a question of Russia gaining control of Belarusian technology companies and dragging these companies into production for the needs of Russia's military industry. If we talk about missile technology, Belarus enjoys strong cooperation with China on EW. This is one of the reasons why Russia does not have effective means to counter the Bayraktar and no analogue of HIMARS. Belarus, on the other hand, has the Polonez (RSZV). We are also talking about the training of mobilized Russians on Belarusian territory and more active participation in the war against Ukraine.

4.  On the possibility of reparations from Minsk

  • The possibility of reparations depends on how the war ends. In the 20th century, reparations were paid 8 times in Europe, twice as a result of the World Wars. There was one time in Asia, when Japan finally ended its war and concluded peace agreements with the states of the region, in which Japan was required to make investments in their national economies.
  • Scenario I: If Russia capitulates, it would mean that Ukraine would have to control part of Russian territory. Capitulation implies that the system of power in the defeated state disappears and comes under external control. So reparations are possible.
  • Scenario II: If Russia suspends hostilities, it could go for economic cooperation, but in this case Belarus becomes aloof.
  • Scenario ІІІ: If each party declares victory or partial victory, then it means Ukraine has returned or almost returned to the borders of the beginning of 2022. In this case, it is very doubtful it will receive reparations.
  • Scenario IV: If Russia is defeated and thereby experiences an internal political crisis, then Ukraine would control part or all of Crimea and all or part of Donbas. Then the elites would decide who succeeds Putin.



This material was prepared with financial support from the International Renaissance Foundation.