On Thursday, November 21, The Jamestown Foundation presented “The West and Belarus: A Mutual Rediscovery,” a multi-panel discussion exploring the country’s key geopolitical role in the heart of the European continent. After an extended period of tensions and estrangement, in recent years ties between Minsk and the West have gradually been on an upswing. At the same time, the Belarusian nation has continued to search for and crystallize its specific identity. The conference discussed these and related trends and analyzed what they mean for Europe’s wider security and development. The event included a rich collection of experts from both sides of the Atlantic as well as featured Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for European and Eurasian Affairs George Kent, former commander of U.S. Army Europe General Ben Hodges, as well as Belarusian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Kravchenko.
Thursday, November 21, 2019
12:30 P.M.–5:00 P.M.
Choate Conference Room, First Floor
Carnegie Endowment for International Peace
1779 Massachusetts Avenue, NW
Washington, D.C. 20036-2109
*The full video of the conference is available below.
Glen E. Howard
President, The Jamestown Foundation
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Panel One: “The Search for Belarus’s Identity”
12:30 P.M.–2:00 P.M.
“The Tug of War Over Belarus’s Identity”
Professor of Human Geography, Radford University
“Scenarios for Belarus After 2030”
Political Analyst, Sense Analytics
“Soft-Belarusianization and Russia’s Reaction”
Professor in Ukrainian Studies, University College London and
Senior Policy Fellow, European Council on Foreign Relations (ECFR)
“De Facto Non-Alignment: Modeling an Option for Belarus”
Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Foundation
Senior Fellow, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA)
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Keynote Panel: “U.S.-Belarusian Relations and Rapprochement”
2:00 P.M.–3:30 P.M.
Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State
Deputy Foreign Minister of the Republic of Belarus
Frederick Benjamin “Ben” Hodges III
Pershing Fellow, Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) and
Former Commanding General, United States Army Europe
Glen E. Howard
President, The Jamestown Foundation
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3:30 P.M.–3:45 P.M.
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Panel Two: “Rediscovering Belarus’s Place in Europe”
3:45 P.M.—5:00 P.M.
“Belarus and the West: The Obvious and the Misunderstood”
Founder and Director, Minsk Dialogue Council on International Relations
“Belarus’s Relations With the Baltic States and Ukraine”
Coordinator, Minsk Dialogue Council on International Relations
“Belarus’s Foreign and Security Policy Since 2014: Strategic Autonomy and National Defense Modernization”
Co-Founder and Director, Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies
“Energy Security of Belarus: Chronic Problems and New Challenges”
Resident Scholar on Energy Policy, The Middle East Institute
Senior Fellow, The Jamestown Foundation
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Margarita Assenova is a senior Fellow at the Jamestown Foundation and a regular contributor to the Jamestown publication Eurasia Daily Monitor on political and energy security developments in the Balkans and Central Asia. Assenova is a recipient of the John Knight Professional Journalism Fellowship at Stanford University for her reporting on nationalism in the Balkans. Assenova’s latest books include Eurasian Disunion: Russia’s Vulnerable Flanks (Jamestown Foundation, 2016), a critical study on Russian subversion in Europe, Eurasia and Central Asia, co-authored with Janusz Bugajski, and the edited volume Azerbaijan and the New Energy Geopolitics of Southeastern Europe, Ed. (Jamestown Foundation, 2015).
Janusz Bugajski is a Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC and host of the television show “New Bugajski Hour” broadcast in the Balkans. Bugajski has authored 20 books on Europe, Russia, and trans-Atlantic relations and is a columnist for several media outlets. His recent books include Eurasian Disunion: Russia’s Vulnerable Flanks (with Margarita Assenova) (2016); Conflict Zones: North Caucasus and Western Balkans Compared (2014); Return of the Balkans: Challenges to European Integration and U.S. Disengagement (2013); and Georgian Lessons: Conflicting Russian and Western Interests in the Wider Europe (2010). Please visit his website at http://www.jbugajski.com.
Frederick Benjamin “Ben” Hodges III
Lieutenant General (ret.) Frederick Benjamin “Ben” Hodges holds the Pershing Chair in Strategic Studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis.
A native of Quincy, Florida, Lieutenant General (ret.) Hodges graduated from the United States Military Academy in May 1980 and was commissioned in the Infantry.
After his first assignment as an Infantry Lieutenant in Germany, he commanded Infantry units at the Company, Battalion and Brigade levels as the 101st Airborne Division and in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM. He also served in an operational assignment as Director of Operations, Regional Command South, in Kandahar, Afghanistan.
Lieutenant General (ret.) Hodges has also served in a variety of Joint and Army Staff positions to include Tactic Instructor at the Infantry School; Chief of Plans, 2nd Infantry Division in Korea; Aide-de-Camp to the Supreme Allied Commander Europe; Army Congressional Liaison Officer; Task Force Senior Observer-Controller at the Joint Readiness Training Center, Fort Polk, LA: Coalition/Joint – 3 (CJ3) of Multi-National Corps-Iraq in Operation IRAQI FREEDOM; Chief of Staff, XVIII Airborne Corps at Fort Bragg; and Director of the Pakistan Afghanistan Coordination Cell on the Joint Staff, Chief of Legislative Liaison for the United States Army, and Commander, NATO Allied Land Command. His last Military assignment was as Commander, United States Army Europe from 2014 to 2017.
Glen Howard serves as the President of The Jamestown Foundation. Mr. Howard is fluent in Russian and proficient in Azerbaijani and Arabic, and is a regional expert on the Caucasus and Central Asia. He was formerly an Analyst at the Science Applications International Corporation (SAIC) Strategic Assessment Center. His articles have appeared in The Wall Street Journal, the Central Asia–Caucasus Analyst, and Jane’s Defense Weekly. Mr. Howard has served as a consultant to private-sector and governmental agencies, including the U.S. Department of Defense, the National Intelligence Council and major oil companies operating in Central Asia and the Middle East.
Grigory Ioffe was born and raised in Moscow, Russia, and graduated from Moscow State University where he majored in Human Geography. He emigrated to the United States in 1989. Since 1990, he has been affiliated with Radford University in Radford, Virginia, where he is a professor of geography. Dr. Ioffe has been active in Belarusian studies since 2002. He has authored and co-authored multiple peer-refereed articles on Belarus, including “Geostrategic Interest and Democracy Promotion: Evidence from the Post-Soviet Space” in Europe-Asia Studies (2013); “Debating Belarus: An Economy in Comparative Perspective” in Eurasian Geography and Economics (2011) (co-authored with Viachaslau Yarashevich); as well as “Belarus and the West: From Estrangement to Honeymoon” in the Journal of Communist Studies and Transition Politics (2011). Ioffe’s book, Understanding Belarus and How Western Foreign Policy Misses the Mark was published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2008 and again in 2014. Published in 2014 by Palgrave Macmillan, his book Reassessing Lukashenka: Belarus in Cultural and Geopolitical Context is based on extensive interviews with the Belarusian leader. Ioffe also co-authored the third edition of Historical Dictionary of Belarus, published by Rowman and Littlefield in 2018. He regularly writes about Belarus for the Eurasia Daily Monitor.
George Kent currently serves as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the European and Eurasian Bureau at the U.S. Department of State, overseeing policy towards Ukraine, Moldova, Belarus, Georgia, Armenia, and Azerbaijan. Previously, he was Deputy Chief of Mission in Kyiv, Ukraine (2015–2018). In 2014–2015, George was the Senior Anti-Corruption Coordinator in the State Department’s European Bureau from 2014-15, leading development and advocacy of anti-corruption messages across Europe and Eurasia. From 2012-14, he oversaw $200 million in annual programming for the rule of law, law enforcement, and judicial system capacity building in Europe and Asia as Director in the Bureau of International Narcotics and Law Enforcement (INL/EA). Since joining the foreign service in 1992, he has served in: Warsaw, Poland; Kyiv; Tashkent, Uzbekistan; and Bangkok, Thailand. Other State Department assignments include: Special Assistant to the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs; Operations Center Watch Officer; and Thai desk officer.
George holds an A.B. from Harvard in Russian History and Literature (1989), an M.A. from Johns Hopkins’ SAIS (1992), and M.S. from National Defense University’s Eisenhower School (2012). Mr. Kent speaks Ukrainian, Russian, Thai, and some Polish, German, and Italian. He is a Kirby Simon Fund Trustee and a proud member of Red Sox Nation.
Oleg Kravchenko is the Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus. Oleg Kravchenko was born in Minsk, Belarus, in 1971. He graduated from the Law Faculty of the Belarusian State University and earned his PhD in international law from the Institute of Philosophy and Law of the National Academy of Sciences of Belarus. He wrote his dissertation on Jurisdictional Immunities of States and their Properties in the Unidroit (International Institute for Unification of Private Law) in Rome, Italy, and also attended the Clingendael Institute of International Relations in The Hague, the Netherlands, as well as the George C. Marshall Center for International Security in Garmisch-Partenkirschen, Germany.
Oleg Kravchenko joined the diplomatic service of Belarus in 1994. From 1999 to 2003, he served as political counsellor and Deputy Chief of Mission at the Embassy of Belarus in Stockholm, which he helped to establish, covering also Norway and Denmark. He held several positions at the Foreign Ministry including Head of Bilateral International Treaties Division of the Legal Department and Acting Head of the Department for Human Rights and Humanitarian Cooperation. Oleg Kravchenko was a member of Belarus delegations to the International Atomic Energy Agency and other United Nations fora. He was also instrumental in establishing and promoting Belarus’ international cooperation on combating international terrorism, transnational organized crime, trafficking in nuclear material, trafficking in persons, illegal migration.
Oleg Kravchenko was appointed to the Embassy of Belarus to the United States in 2007, and served as Charge d’Affaires of Belarus in the United States from March 2008 through April 2014. From April 2014 until January 2017, Oleg Kravchenko was Director of the Americas Department of the Foreign Ministry of Belarus responsible for Belarus’s bilateral relationships with countries of the Americas.
Since January 2017, Oleg Kravchenko is Deputy Foreign Minister in charge of Belarus’s relations with the US and Canada, the European Union, OSCE, Council of Europe, other European organizations, and individual European States, as well as bilateral and multilateral international treaties of Belarus and other international legal issues.
Rauf Mammadov is resident scholar on energy policy at The Middle East Institute and a Securing America’s Future Energy (S.A.F.E.) Security Fellow. He is a contributor to the Jamestown publication Eurasia Daily Monitor. Mammadov focuses on issues of energy security, global energy industry trends, as well as energy relations in the Middle East, Central Asia and South Caucasus. He has particular focus on the post-Soviet countries of Eurasia. Prior to joining MEI, Mammadov held top administrative positions for the State Oil Company of Azerbaijan Republic (SOCAR) from 2006 to 2016. In 2012, he founded and managed the United States Representative Office of SOCAR in Washington, DC.
Dzianis Melyantsou is the coordinator of the Belarus’s Foreign Policy Program of the Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative that is funded by the Germany based Konrad Adenauer Foundation. A graduate of the History Department at Mahilou State University, he then studied at the Institute for International Relations and Political Sciences in Vilnius (Lithuania), where he defended his MA thesis in 2006 (International Relations and Diplomacy). He also holds an MA in International Relations from the Belarusian State University (Minsk). From 2007 to 2017, Dzianis worked as a senior analyst at the Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS). Concurrently, in 2006–2009, he lectured at the European Humanities University in Vilnius. He specializes in Belarus’s foreign policy, Belarus-EU and Belarus-US relations, international and European security.
Yauheni Preiherman is the head of the Minsk Dialogue Track-II Initiative, which is an expert platform with a focus on international affairs and security in Eastern Europe. He is also chairman of Board at the Discussion and Analytical Society Liberal Club. He holds a BA in International Relations from the Belarusian State University, an MA in European Politics from Sussex University (UK) and is currently pursuing a PhD in Politics and International Studies at Warwick University (UK). He is a regular contributor to the Eurasia Daily Monitor by The Jamestown Foundation.
Artyom Shraibman is a Belarusian political analyst and a contributor for TUT.BY and Carnegie.ru. Artyom is a founder of Sense Analytics, a consultancy agency that provides comprehensive political analysis on Belarus. Previously, he worked in political journalism in Belarus for more than five years. Artyom holds an LLb in International Law (Belarusian State University) and MSc in Politics and Communications (London School of Economics).
Arseny Sivitsky is a leading Belarusian security and foreign policy analyst, focusing on international and regional security, strategic affairs, Russia and Eurasia, etc. He is a Co-Founder and Director of Minsk-based Center for Strategic and Foreign Policy Studies. He graduated with honors from and has Master’s degree in Philosophy from the Belarusian State University. He is doing now his doctoral research in the field of Social Philosophy and Methodology of Science at the Institute of Philosophy, Belarusian National Academy of Science. He also works there as a research fellow at the Center for Study of Globalization, Integration and Socio-Cultural Cooperation.
He is a military officer in reserve of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus, specialized in use of multiple launch rocket systems (MLRS) and anti-tank guided missile systems (ATGM). He graduated from the Reserve Officer’s Training Corps of the Military Department of the Belarusian State University, then from the 72nd Guards Joint Training Center of the Armed Forces of the Republic of Belarus (with honors). As an independent adviser he cooperates with a range of consultancy agencies, specializing in investment, political and security risks assessment and post-soviet space area. He has wide experience in holding briefings for political and military officials and participating in political and military simulations (wargames). He lives and works in Minsk, Belarus.
Vladimir Socor is a Senior Fellow of the Washington-based Jamestown Foundation and its flagship publication, Eurasia Daily Monitor (1995 to present), where he writes analytical articles on a daily basis. An internationally recognized expert on former Soviet-ruled countries in Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus, and Central Asia, he covers Russian and Western policies there, focusing on energy policies, regional security issues, secessionist conflicts, and NATO policies and programs.
Mr. Socor is a frequent speaker at U.S. and European policy conferences and think-tank institutions. He is a regular guest lecturer at the NATO Defense College and at Harvard University’s National Security Program’s Black Sea Program (Kennedy School of Government). He is also a frequent contributor to edited volumes. Mr. Socor was previously an analyst with the Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty Research Institute (1983–1994). He is a Romanian-born citizen of the United States based in Munich, Germany.
Andrew Wilson is Professor in Ukrainian Studies at University College London ([email protected]), and a Senior Policy Fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations (ecfr.eu). His most recent book Ukraine Crisis: What the West Needs to Know was published by Yale University Press in 2014. A fourth, updated, edition of The Ukrainians: Unexpected Nation was published in 2015. His other books include Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship (2011), Ukraine’s Orange Revolution (2005) and Virtual Politics: Faking Democracy in the Post-Soviet World (2005).