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Between Russia and the West: Security Policy Balancing by Belarus Since 1991

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Technical Report

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Naval Postgraduate School Monterey United States

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This thesis examines the involvement of Belarus in European and regional security organizations with respect to its relationship to the Russian Federation and the West. Modern Belaruss geopolitical situation, history, relatively stable government, and need to seek its own development path makes this case study distinct in terms of European security. To analyze Belaruss shifting behavior, a comparative case study approach is used. Special attention is given to Belaruss history and the evolution of its relations between the East and the West, with an emphasis on the countrys domestic events, cooperation with regional security organizations, and changes in its foreign policy. The research demonstrates that, despite its turbulent history and uneasy process of self-determination, modern Belaruss foreign policy and national security posture arebased on a commitment to neutrality and peacemaking efforts within Europe. Ties with Russia and Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenkos Soviet heritage are two major constraints preventing Belarus from developing closer relationships with Western security organizations and the United States. However, current trends show that Minsk is becoming more open to developing relations with the West, while maintaining prudent relations with Russia, thus possibly serving as a future bridge between East and West within Europe.

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  • Government and Political Science
  • Humanities and History

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