David Marples

David Marples is Professor of History and Classics at the University Alberta in Edmonton. He is the author of ten books on Soviet and post-Soviet affairs, including Belarus: From Soviet Rule to Nuclear Catastrophe (New York: St. Martin’s Press, 1996) and Belarus: A Denationalized Nation (Amsterdam: Harwood Academic Publishers, 1999).

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    Articles by David Marples

    Belarus’ Economic Turnaround: Is It Sustainable?

    In early December, the Anti-Crisis Fund Council of the Eurasian Economic Community approved the latest (fourth) tranche of a $3 billion loan (Belarusian Telegraph Agency, December 7), approved in June

    Privatizing and Nationalizing Companies in Belarus

    Under the presidency of Alyaksandr Lukashenka, Belarus’s relationship with Russia has always been one of amity combined with duplicity. In theory, Minsk’s position is that of the weaker partner, dealing

    Belarus’s Foreign Policy: Twists and Turns

    Minsk received bad news and good news this week concerning its foreign policy allies. Shortly after Georgian President Mikheil Saakashvili’s United National Movement Party suffered defeat in the parliamentary elections,

    Belarusian-Kyrgyzstani Clash over the Bakiyevs

    The recent discovery that former Kyrgyzstani President Kurmanbek Bakiyev’s brother Janysh is also living in Minsk sparked furious exchanges between Kyrgyzstan and Belarus, with the latter country refusing a request

    Putin Visits Belarus

    Today (May 31), Russia’s President Vladimir Putin made the first foreign trip of his new term in office. The visit was to neighboring Belarus to hold talks with his Belarusian

    Return of EU Ambassadors to Minsk

    The release of two political prisoners over the Orthodox Easter weekend, followed by the gradual return of the European Union ambassadors to Minsk (they departed en masse on February 28)

    The West and Belarus: Catch 22

    Both the European Union and the United States are stepping up pressure on the Belarusian regime, which is targeted because of its continuing violations of human rights and treatment of

    Inflation Plagues Belarusian Economy

    The Russian Ministry of Economic Development has issued a bleak prognosis for the economic future of Belarus, anticipating that the country will enter a period of recession in 2012, which

    Lukashenka’s Friends

    Since December 2010, the Belarusian leadership has abandoned any pretences of support for a democratic society, pursuing its internal enemies with unprecedented determination. At the same time, under pressure as

    Integrating Belarus: Problems and Prospects

    On May 5, the National Bank of Belarus, responding to pressure to devalue the Belarusian ruble, stipulated that by May 12, the exchange course with hard currency (the US dollar,

    Rumors Of Devaluation Spell Trouble For Belarus

    On April 7 in Moscow, Russian and Belarusian officials on the Commission on Common Economic Space discussed the latter’s request for another loan from Russia of around $1 billion. Belarus

    Russia Increases Pressure on Lukashenka

    Belarusian President, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, has been trying desperately to offset the impact of a scathing attack on him by Russian President, Dmitry Medvedev, on October 4. Since that time Lukashenka

    Russia Turns on Lukashenka

    On July 5 at the Eurasian Economic Community’s Interstate Council in Astana, Belarus, Russia, and Kazakhstan agreed to form a Customs Union that came into effect the next day. Kyrgyzstan

    Belarus: Open for Business?

    In early April, the reputable Business Week magazine focused on the Belarusian economy with a laudatory article that suggested the country had become a virtual Mecca for foreign investors. Belarus,

    Will Belarus Build its Nuclear Plant?

    Over the past three years, there have been numerous discussions about the future Belarusian nuclear power station. Various sites have been studied and canvassed and in December 2008, President Alyaksandr

    Lukashenka Admits Rigging 2006 Presidential Election

    In an interview that appeared in Izvestiya in Moscow on August 27, the Belarusian President, Alyaksandr Lukashenka, maintained that the results of the 2006 presidential elections were falsified. However, rather

    Economic Problems Beset Belarus

    To date, there has been little other than optimistic prognoses from Belarusian government circles about the state of the economy. Unlike the situation in neighboring states, Belarus is not facing

    Javier Solana Visits Belarus

    On February 19, in the latest stage of the increasing rapprochement between the EU and Belarus, EU High Representative for Common Foreign and Security Policy Javier Solana visited Minsk and

    Will Lukashenka Be Welcomed in Prague?

    Since last October, the European Union, through an Eastern Partnership Program originally initiated last summer by Poland and Sweden, has taken several steps to normalize relations with Belarus. For some

    Belarus Devalues Its Currency

    On January 2 residents of Belarus learned that the national currency—the Belarusian ruble (known locally as the zaichik or hare)—had been devalued by 20.5 percent against the US dollar, falling

    The Meeting That Never Took Place

    On December 1 a session of the Supreme Council of the Union State of Russia and Belarus was scheduled to take place in Moscow. According to propaganda from the two

    Changing Priorities in Belarus

    Several recent events suggest that changes are underway in Belarus as it emerges from isolation and begins new dialogues with the countries of the European Union. According to sociological surveys,

    Belarus Facing Recession

    Since the mid-1990s, Belarus has frequently cited its economic successes: high growth rates (over 10 percent in the first half of 2008), impressive increases in industrial output, and an economy

    BELARUS PRESSURES EU FOR CLOSER TIES

    After the parliamentary electionscin Belarus on September 28, both President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and his close ally, Lidziya Yarmoshyna, Chairperson of the Central Election Commission, have stated that they expect the

    BELARUS PREPARES FOR PARLIAMENTARY ELECTIONS

    Preparations for the parliamentary elections scheduled for September 28 are well under way. Chair of the Central Election Commission Lidziya Yarmoshyna has declared that the election is intended to "smash

    BELARUS RESPONDS CAUTIOUSLY TO GEORGIAN CRISIS

    One of the interesting features of the Russia-Georgia conflict has been the sluggish support Russia has received from its allies. Perhaps most notable has been the reaction in Minsk, where

    ASSESSING THE TERRORIST EXPLOSION IN MINSK

    At 12:30 A.M. on July 4, when thousands of Minsk residents were attending a concert to commemorate the official Independence Day (July 3) near the monument to the "Hero City,"

    BELARUS-RUSSIA SUMMIT: PERSPECTIVES

    The press services of the presidencies of Russia and Belarus have announced that the leaders of these countries, Dmitry Medvedev and Alyaksandr Lukashenka, will meet in Brest on June 22.

    CHERNOBYL DISASTER IS OFFICIALLY OVER

    Approaching the 22nd anniversary of the nuclear accident at the Chernobyl plant in northern Ukraine, which will be commemorated in Belarus by the opposition with a march through Minsk on

    BELARUS IS BACK TO A POLICY OF CONFRONTATION

    Three recent events in Belarus have apparently returned the country to the repressive atmosphere of the late 1990s and thrown into doubt the prospects for any significant democratic changes under

    U.S. AMBASSADOR LEAVES BELARUS

    A diplomatic dispute between Belarus and the United States reached a new low on March 12, when U.S. Ambassador Karen Stewart was recalled to Washington for talks. Earlier State Department

    REPRESSION UNDERMINES DIALOGUE WITH BELARUS

    On January 22 Andrea Rigoni, a special rapporteur on Belarus for the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE), declared that PACE should recommence a dialogue with the Belarusian

    WHY DID PUTIN COME TO MINSK?

    On December 13-15, Russian President Vladimir Putin made the first official visit to Belarus of his presidency, which is scheduled to end on March 2, 2008, when new presidential elections

    WASHINGTON EXPANDS SANCTIONS ON BELARUS

    On November 14, the United States Treasury announced financial sanctions on the Belnaftakhim gas and chemical conglomerate and its subsidiaries outside the country. With this maneuver, Washington expressed its dissatisfaction

    DAYS OF REMEMBRANCE IN MINSK

    Today, November 2, members of the European diplomatic corps, including ambassadors and their families, will visit the mass burial site of Kurapaty, recalling the 70th anniversary of executions conducted by

    LUKASHENKA FANS ANTI-SEMITISM IN BELARUS

    At a press conference broadcast for the Russian media on October 12, Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka criticized living conditions in the town of Babruisk, one of the centers visited by

    MARCHING TO EUROPE IN BELARUS

    On October 14, about 7,000 people took part in the European March for Freedom in Minsk. Participants demanded the fulfillment of 12 conditions set forth by the European Union as

    OPPOSITION PREPARES FOR EUROPEAN MARCH

    On Sunday, October 14, the United Democratic Forces of Belarus plan to hold a “European March” in central Minsk, which they hope might lead to a dialogue with the regime

    BELARUS PERSECUTES OPPOSITIONISTS

    In a recent statement U.S. Department of State spokesman Sean McCormack declared that Belarus has once again increased its intimidation of citizens and called on the government to release political

    LUKASHENKA REMOVES KGB CHIEF

    On July 17 Belarusian President Alyaksander Lukashenka dismissed the head of the KGB, Stsyapan Sukharenka as well as his first deputy, Vasil Dzemyantsey. Sukharenka's replacement is Yury Zhadobin, formerly head

    THE QUEST FOR “STABILITY” IN BELARUS

    On June 19, Belarusian Prime Minister Syarhey Sidorski summarized the economic results for the first five months of 2007, maintaining that the country had attained “macroeconomic stability.” GDP rose by

    SEVERIN ATTACKS BELARUS ON HUMAN RIGHTS

    A speech by Adrian Severin, special rapporteur, to the 5th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) of the UN General Assembly in Geneva on the worsening human rights situation

    OPPOSITION CONGRESS ADOPTS NEW PATH

    On May 26-27, the 2nd Congress of United Democratic Forces (UDF) was held at the Palace of Culture of the Minsk Automobile Factory. It ended the single leadership of Alyaksandr

    MILINKEVICH TRAVELS TO CHERNOBYL ZONE

    As the 21st anniversary of the nuclear disaster at Chernobyl approaches, it is becoming a focal point of both government and opposition activity. It remains a potentially divisive issue because

    CHERNOBYL MARCH WILL FOCUS ON VICTIMS

    Following the large rally that took place in Minsk on March 25 to commemorate the Day of Freedom (see EDM March 28), plans are well under way for the "Path

    NISEPI POLL REVEALS OFFICIAL DECEPTIONS IN BELARUS

    The release of the latest opinion poll from the Independent Institute for Social-Economic and Political Research, headed by Dr. Aleh Manayeu, provides many insights into recent political events in Belarus.

    MILINKEVICH: A CONSOLIDATOR NOT A DICTATOR

    As the proposed date for the Second Congress of the United Democratic Forces (UDF) of Belarus approaches (March 17), leaders of the Belarusian opposition are engaged in an animated debate

    NO VALENTINE’S CARD FOR MOSCOW

    February 14, 2007 -- Volume 4, Issue 32 IN THIS ISSUE: *Putin’s criticism of West not backed by military strength *Ivanov pours money into Russian army, but changes are superficial

    IS RUSSIA-BELARUS FRIENDSHIP OVER?

    On January 12, Belarus and Russia signed an agreement resolving an impasse over oil transit that had led to the closure of the Druzhba pipeline (the main conduit of Russian

    LUKASHENKA OPTS FOR NUCLEAR POWER

    Belarus, the Soviet republic most heavily affected by fallout from the 1986 nuclear accident at Chernobyl, has decided to develop its own nuclear power industry. On December 1, Mikhail Myasnikovich,

    MILINKEVICH FACES NEW TASKS

    The leader of the United Democratic Forces of Belarus (UDF), Alyaksandr Milinkevich, has signed an agreement with the Party of the Belarusian Popular Front. According to the leader of the

    CHANGES PROPOSED TO BELARUSIAN LANGUAGE

    The newspaper Belarusy i rynok recently ran a series of articles on education, devoted first to the new school year, but second to proposed changes to orthography and punctuation in

    BELARUS CREATES NEW SCANDAL WITH LATVIA

    On July 25 the Belarusian militia searched the apartment of the Second Secretary of the Latvian Embassy, Reimo Smits, ostensibly as part of a campaign to uncover the distribution of

    HOW SECURE IS LUKASHENKA?

    Having attained through dubious means another overwhelming election victory last March, and having amended the Belarusian constitution yet again so that there are no limits to his term in office,

    LUKASHENKA SEEKS TO REWRITE HISTORY BOOKS

    On June 16, Belarus President Alexander Lukashenka opened the new National Library in Minsk. Formerly located across the street from the president's residence, the new building, which resembles a space

    BELARUS: THE MYTH OF “PEOPLE POWER”

    On May 23 Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka delivered a "state of the nation address" that was broadcast live on Belarusian TV and lasted a relatively modest 51 minutes. The speech

    IS AN ECONOMIC CRISIS LOOMING IN BELARUS?

    Reports circulated on May 12 that, three days earlier, Russian President Vladimir Putin had signed a decree on fundamental changes in Russia's trade-economic and credit-financial policies toward Belarus. In turn,

    A WEAKENED LUKASHENKA STARTS THIRD TERM

    On Saturday April 8, Alexander Lukashenka was inaugurated for a third term as president of Belarus, eight days later than originally scheduled and following the most controversial election campaign in

    INDEPENDENCE DAY MARCH TURNS VIOLENT IN MINSK

    Independence Day commemoration took place in Minsk last Saturday, March 25, despite the lack of permission from the authorities. Riot police under Special Forces chief Colonel Dzmitry Pawlichenka used tear

    BELARUS: END GAME

    Five days after the presidential election of March 19, protesters continued a vigil on October Square. The authorities arrested more than 250 people between March 20 and 22, and administered

    A SOVIET-STYLE ELECTION ENDS IN BELARUS, PROTESTS BEGIN

    Belarus has just completed a divisive and fundamentally flawed election campaign. Though the 2006 presidential election has been notable for the public prominence of two opposition candidates, Alexander Milinkevich and

    OFFICIAL MINSK IS PREPARING FOR A COUP

    The Belarusian authorities have exacerbated the tension surrounding the 2006 presidential election campaign by declaring that the opposition plans an uprising on Sunday, March 19. KGB chief Stsyapan Sukharenka has

    BELARUS ELECTION CAMPAIGN TURNS VIOLENT

    Belarusian authorities have made some concessions to the opposition during the presidential election campaign, but they have also used violence and provocations to ensure that there are no surprises on

    HOW THE BELARUS ELECTION WILL BE WON

    The Central Election Commission in Belarus announced on February 17 that four candidates have been officially registered for the presidential election of March 19. These include: President Alexander Lukashenka; leader

    ENERGY DILEMMA FOR BELARUS

    On January 24, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka met with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Constantine Palace near St Petersburg prior to a session of the Russian-Belarusian Supreme State Council.

    EIGHT CANDIDATES SEEK BELARUS PRESIDENCY

    On December 16, deputies of the Belarusian House of Representatives agreed unanimously that the date of the 2006 presidential elections in Belarus would be March 19. The date took many

    BELARUS FACING SEVERE DEMOGRAPHIC PROBLEMS

    The image of Belarus propagated for domestic consumption by the authorities is one of relative prosperity, civil peace, and stability. However, that image is increasingly belied by the evident failure

    AMENDMENTS PROPOSED TO CRIMINAL CODE IN BELARUS

    The Lukashenka government in Belarus has taken several steps to ensure that there are no unexpected setbacks in the 2006 presidential election campaign. On November 23, the president proposed several

    EU COMMITTED TO CHANGE IN BELARUS

    On November 17, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka declared that he expected to win 90% of the electoral vote in the presidential elections of 2006, a figure far exceeding anything he

    OPPOSITION COURTS THE BELARUSIAN PUBLIC

    Following the election of Alexander Milinkevich as the leader of the united opposition at the Democratic Convention in early October, the Belarusian opposition has begun to elaborate its tactics for

    BELARUS OPPOSITION CHOOSES ITS CANDIDATE

    On October 2 about 1,000 delegates attending the Congress of Democratic Forces of Belarus, meeting at the Palace of Culture of the Minsk Automobile Factory, elected Alexander Milinkevich as the

    LUKASHENKA AT THE UN: PROPAGANDA AND INVECTIVE

    Though the domestic situation in Belarus is tightly controlled by the authorities, the administration of President Alexander Lukashenka has been isolated internationally to an increasing extent. It was designated an

    BELARUS: THE LAST SUMMER OF THE OPPOSITION

    The apocalyptic phrase "last summer of the opposition" was the title of an article by Dmitry Drigailo, which prognosticated that after the 2006 presidential elections in Belarus, the political opposition

    THE SAGA OF THE NEW RUSSIAN AMBASSADOR TO BELARUS

    The appointment of the former Saratov governor, Dmitry Ayatskov, as the new Russian Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary to Belarus has resulted in a protracted scandal that has complicated relations with

    RUSSIA-BELARUS: THE COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP II

    When Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka bid farewell to the outgoing Russian ambassador, Alexander Blokhin, on July 5, he remarked that the past few years have been an especially fruitful time

    RUSSIA-BELARUS: THE COMPLEX RELATIONSHIP

    On July 2, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka was interviewed by Oleg Poptsov of the Russian TV Center, a company that covers nine Russian regions, in a program that lasted for

    BELARUS OPPOSITION DEBATES TACTICS

    The question of nominating a single candidate from the opposition forces to face Alexander Lukashenka in the prospective 2006 presidential election has elicited serious debate in Belarus. Plainly there is

    IS BELARUS A DICTATORSHIP?

    Several recent events have brought Belarus close to a dictatorship, a term used rather freely to describe the administration of President Alexander Lukashenka, but hitherto incorrectly. Over the past eleven

    VICTORY DAY EVENTS SHOCK BELARUS

    The 60th anniversary of Victory Day, commemorated on May 9, brought about two controversial and quite unexpected events for Belarus. The first was Belarus President Alexander Lukashenka's failure to appear

    BELARUS TRIGGERS DISPUTE WITH UKRAINE

    During the annual April 26 commemoration of the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Belarusian authorities detained several foreign nationals, including citizens of Russia and Ukraine. The arrests that occurred at one of

    BELARUS SUPREME COURT ORDERS CLOSURE OF NISEPI

    In mid-April, the Supreme Court of Belarus ordered the closure of the Independent Institute of Social-Economic and Political Research. The institute's Russian-language acronym is NISEPI, though it is better known

    HOW REALISTIC IS REGIME CHANGE IN BELARUS?

    Ukrainian President Viktor Yushchenko's recent visit to the United States and his declaration that these two countries would work together to bring about regime change in Belarus caused shock waves

    AUTHORITIES REACT TO PROTESTS IN MINSK

    Recent events in Ukraine and Kyrgyzstan clearly affected the traditional "Independence Day" demonstration in Minsk on Friday, March 25, when the Belarusian authorities reacted with a fearsome display of force

    BANDAZHEVSKY CASE HIGHLIGHTS CHERNOBYL CONTROVERSIES

    The protracted case of detained scientist Yuri Bandazhevsky continues to solicit international attention and serves as a reminder of how sensitive the Chernobyl issue remains for the Lukashenka regime. Recently

    ENTREPRENEURS STRIKE IN BELARUS

    On February 10, entrepreneurs staged a one-day strike in various cities across Belarus to protest the introduction of a value-added tax (VAT). The authorities reacted by detaining strike leader Anatol

    THE RISE AND FALL OF SOCIAL DEMOCRACY IN BELARUS

    On January 18, the organization "Free Belarus" nominated Mikalay Statkevich as a candidate for the next presidential election, stating that its campaign must adopt the flag of the European Union

    BELARUS: “TIGHTENING THE SCREW”

    Already the opposition victory in the presidential election in Ukraine has had repercussions in neighboring Belarus. In turn, the Lukashenka regime has taken several repressive measures against real and perceived

    BELARUS: THE RETURN OF SHEIMAN

    With the resignation of his chief of staff, Ural Latypau (Latypov), and his subsequent appointment of Viktar Sheiman, President Alexander Lukashenka brought back to high office a trusted lieutenant who

    LUKASHENKA TOUTS BELARUSIAN PATH TO THE FUTURE

    Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka has ordered drastic measures in support of the "Belarusian path" of development. These, in turn, are accompanied by official depictions of remarkable economic growth and demands

    BELARUS REFERENDUM RESULTS DISPUTED

    Belarusian citizens went to the polls on October 17 to elect a new parliament and to take part in a referendum on whether President Alexander Lukashenka should be permitted to

    IS LUKASHENKA’S POLITICAL FUTURE IN JEOPARDY?

    According to Minsk analysts, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka is in danger of losing the October 17 referendum. Scheduled in conjunction with parliamentary elections, the referendum seeks to eliminate the presidential

    LUKASHENKA OUTLINES HIS CAMPAIGN ISSUES

    The joint parliamentary election and referendum campaign in Belarus is well under way. Last week, President Alexander Lukashenka outlined his platform to students at the Brest State Technical University. He

    Marynich Faces New Charges In Belarus

    In late August, the Belarusian authorities brought a new criminal case against Mikhail Marynich, an opposition leader who has been held in a KGB detention center since April 26. Marynich

    McCain Seeks End To Lukashenka Regime

    U.S. Senator John McCain (R-AZ), whose application for a Belarusian visa was rejected in late August, has declared that the world community will help the people of Belarus to overthrow

    Belarusian Authorities Close Private University

    On July 28, Alyaksandr Radzkou, Minister of Education of Belarus, annulled the license of the European Humanities University (EHU). The university is located on Skaryna Avenue, close to the center

    Who Are Lukashenka’s Rivals For President?

    The latest survey conducted by the Minsk-based Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies in June 2004 suggests that there is a new pool of contenders for the Belarusian presidency

    Belarus Prepares For Lukashenka’s Third Term

    On July 21, OMON troops attacked and clubbed demonstrators around Yakub Kolas Square on Skaryna Avenue in Minsk who were protesting the president's ten years in power and likely referendum

    THE ISOLATION OF EUROPE’S LAST DICTATOR

    By David Marples The Czech Republic's refusal to issue a visa to Belarusan President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to attend the NATO summit in Prague has been followed by bans on the