Grigory Ioffe

Grigory Ioffe is a Professor of Human Geography at Radford University in Radford, Virginia.

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Articles by Grigory Ioffe

Belarus-Russian Conflict Still Raging

The conflict between Russia and Belarus reached a high water mark in the scandalous pronouncements of President Alyaksandr Lukashenka to the press earlier this month (see EDM, February 6). And

Belarus and Ukraine Face Strained Relations

On October 21, a regular Kyiv–Minsk flight by a Belavia (Belarusian state carrier) Boeing 737−800 passenger jet was interrupted. At 3:36 p.m., Ukrainian air traffic control demanded that the airliner,

Belarus and Russia Experience New Bout of Tensions

In recent years, there has been no shortage of bad blood between Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka and the Russian Kremlin. For example, in February 2004, Lukashenka referred to the stoppage

Lukashenka in Turkey: Establishing Economic Ties

Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka paid a visit to Turkey, last week, in conjunction with the April 14–15 Istanbul meeting of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). Founded in 1969, the

Belarus Goes Against the Tide

In the past week, two notable events sparked heated debate in the Belarusian and Russian press: the dispensation to Belarus of a Russian $2 billion loan and a visit to

Belarus and the West: A Policy Change Long Overdue

Two recent public opinion polls have highlighted quite revealing results about populations living in Belarus and Ukraine. First, according to the Ukrainian polling firm Rating, the opinions of Ukrainians about

The Limits of Geopolitical Thinking on Belarus

President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s visit to Moscow, which had been scheduled for November 25–26 and then postponed, eventually occurred on December 15. By most accounts, the contentious issues facing Lukashenka and

Tensions on the Rise between Belarus and Russia

After several weeks of ostensible silence, discussions over a potential Russian airbase in Belarus have taken on new vigor. As early as September, President Vladimir Putin of Russia asked his

Belarus Navigates a Multipolar World

The bombshell of late November was the postponement of Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s visit to Moscow, where he was supposed to have met with his Russian counterpart, Vladimir Putin. The

Belarus and Russia’s Ailing Economy

The conflict that arose after Russia’s temporary ban on imports from 23 Belarusian meat processors and on Belarusian food transit to Kazakhstan (see EDM, December 3) has not been resolved

New Trade War Erupts Between Russia and Belarus

“We are beginning the new year without any problems whatsoever, even small ones, in our relations as we have settled them all,” President Alyaksandr Lukashenka observed as recently as November

Belarus Tries to Flap Its ‘Second Wing’

“We have been flying with one wing and we badly need to engage the other one,” President Alyaksandr Lukashenka once quipped, in reference to Belarus’s asymmetric international engagements—too much with

Belarus: Between a Rock and a Hard Place

Three inter-related themes engage attention in the Belarusian and international media: the ambivalent image of Belarus, its upcoming presidential elections, and the Belarusian economy. The economy appears to be the

Paradoxes of Belarus’s Geopolitical Situation

There is something ironic, if not outright paradoxical, about the current configuration of Belarus’s international relationships. On its western flank, the situation appears quite negative. Notably, the European Union has

A Thaw With the West and Its Underpinnings

On September 22, the Belarus-USA Investment Forum was held at the Grand Hyatt hotel in midtown Manhattan. The forum featured speakers such as Belarusian Prime Minister Mikhail Myasnikovch, Economy Minister

Belarus and the ‘End of Peace’ in Europe

On July 31, the international Contact Group, which aims to resolve the crisis in Ukraine (see EDM, July 18), met in Zaslavl, Belarus. It was attended by former Ukrainian president

Belarus: Hallmarks of 2013 and Prospects for 2014

The year 2013 was marked by Belarus’s deepening economic dependency on Russia. It became apparent that the generous socio-economic model of the Belarusian state—including heavily subsidized utilities and mortgage loans;

Evasive Maneuvering Around Belarus

The European Union’s Eastern Partnership summit in Vilnius, scheduled for November 28–29, is less than a month away. Unlike Ukraine, whose hopes of signing landmark political and trade deals with

A Business and a Pep Talk

Recent events around Belarus create the impression that if one assumes Belarus is a bridge between the two flanks of Europe, the traffic on that bridge is asymmetric. Serious business

The Potash War: A Sequel

The Belarusian-Russian potassium (potash) war has undergone several new developments. First, it appears that Uralkalii, a Russian potash producer that, in late July, left the joint Russian-Belarusian trader, Belarusian Potassium

Minsk’s Defense Against Russian Tycoon Takeovers

The Belarusian parliament has selectively revived the so-called “golden share” rule that applied between 1997 and 2008. According to that rule, the state’s representatives on the board of directors of

Belarus: Modernization amid Two Integration Projects

The latest stream of news from Belarus has three refrains—modernization, integration into the Eurasian Economic Community (EEC), and reinvigoration of ties with the European Union. All three are contained in

Belarus-Russia Integration Is Given a Boost

While Minsk has been recently trying its best to revive its relationships with the West (see EDM, February 13), reciprocal steps have not yet been undertaken by the Western countries

Belarus and Lithuania: The Estranged Brethren

On November 6, two unknown perpetrators threw two bottles with a flammable substance into the Lithuanian embassy compound in Minsk. The Investigating Committee of Belarus launched a criminal investigation; the

Belarus Aims to Rebuild Its Ties with the West

Two top personnel changes have taken place in Minsk. The longest-serving Belarusian foreign minister, Sergei Martynov (in charge from March 2003 to August 20, 2012) was replaced by Vladimir Makei,

Belarus Defies Clichés

Even after more than twenty years of statehood, Belarusians have not developed a distinctive national identity. In most countries of the Old World, the marker of identity is language. According

Is Belarus Firmly Within Russia’s Orbit?

Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Belarus and the nature of the Belarus-Russia relationship continue to be debated. It can certainly be argued that “the Belarusian president is merely forestalling

Economic Normalization and European Sanctions

The results of the March 2012 national survey by the Independent Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Studies (an entity funded by the United States) reveal that the number of Belarusians

Who Is Losing Belarus?

“With the decline of America’s global preeminence, weaker countries will be more susceptible to the assertive influence of major regional powers,” writes Zbigniew Brzezinski in his recent Foreign Policy essay

Belarus Crisis: A Show of Solidarity

On September 29-30, the Eastern Partnership summit took place in Warsaw, the second such summit after the inaugural Prague meeting on May 7, 2009. The summit was to be attended

Is Belarus a Basket Case?

For the last fifteen years, Belarus has been the world’s leader in terms of the sheer number of predictions of its imminent economic collapse. And yet since 1996, the country