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Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW)

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  1. On 25 October, opponents of Alyaksandr Lukashenka held another nationwide protest action. This time the demonstrations were held under the slogan of ‘The National Ultimatum’, referring to the demands put forward on 13 October by Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya that the president resign, political prisoners be released and violence halted. The deadline to implement these demands expired on 25 October, and so the Sunday demonstrations took the form of public pressure on the regime.
  2. In his speech at the annual meeting of the Valdai discussion club on 22 October, Russian President Vladimir Putin outlined Russia’s position on the conflict in Nagorno-Karabakh. He stressed that Russia has ‘special’ relations not only with Armenia but also with Azerbaijan, and that both countries are equal partners for Russia. Putin pointed out that ethnic issues were at the root of the conflict, and stated that crimes had been committed against the Armenian people in the disputed area.
  3. The ceasefire between the Armenian and Azerbaijani forces announced on 17 October, after telephone consultations among the foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, has already ended in failure.
  4. On 18 October, another weekly peaceful demonstration by Alyaksandr Lukashenka’s opponents was held in Minsk during which they demanded that the president step down. This time it took place under the slogan of ‘the March of Guerrilla Fighters’, referring to the history of the Belarusian resistance movement during World War II. Around 50,000 people took part in the protest in several separate groups, confirming a downward trend in turnout recorded in recent weeks.
  5. Following talks in Moscow lasting ten hours between the foreign ministers of Russia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, overnight on the 9-10 October, the head of Russian diplomacy, Sergei Lavrov, announced that the parties had reached an agreement on a ceasefire. It was agreed that it would come into force on 10 October at twelve noon (local time) and would make possible the exchange of prisoners of war and the bodies of the deceased.