Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenko and his administration have increasingly divergent views about reform. Why hasn’t Lukashenko sacked his freethinking ministers? Is “Europe’s last dictatorship” actually liberalizing?
Evidently, most of Uzbekistan’s economic indicators are subject to statistical manipulations, be it a 90 percent voter turnout for presidential elections or refrigerator manufacturing, where a 50-fold increase was reported. In this context, numbers on labor migration out of the country shed more light on the efficiency of Karimov’s economic model than all of his statistical data.
Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenko has contradicted himself several times on the issue of the status of Crimea. His ambiguities have helped him to maintain good relations with both Russia and Ukraine, and to forge a new relationship with the West.
Changes passed in a recent referendum amending Tajikistan’s constitution allow President Emomali Rahmon to run for office an infinite number of times and pave the way for his family to take over the reins of power. The veteran president is adept at protecting his regime and keeping his powerful neighbours at bay.
Vladimir Putin’s decision to pardon Nadezhda Savchenko was a purely pragmatic one. Left with no viable alternatives to freeing the Ukrainian pilot, Putin was forced to make a concession that may not sit well with the Russian population, which has come to see Savchenko as a symbol of the “Kiev junta.”
Despite Kiev’s official rhetoric, the national consensus on integration with the EU is increasingly fragile. Pro-Russian forces are reasserting themselves in the southeast, while ultra-right activists are campaigning against the European Union in the west. On top of that, the current pro-European government has no real achievements to boast of.