Cover Osteuropa 3-4/2020

In Osteuropa 3-4/2020

The risk of taking a different path
Belarus and the Covid-19 pandemic

Astrid Sahm

Deutsche Fassung


The COVID-19 virus has hit the Belarusian leadership at an inopportune moment. At the start of 2020, the first signs of an economic recession were already visible as a result of the longstanding oil conflict with Russia. President Alexander Lukashenko wanted to avoid a lockdown of public life at all costs in order to avoid obstacles to his reelection this year. Like other populist state leaders, he at first underestimated the danger posed by the virus. This has led to an increasing degree of alienation from large parts of Belarusian society, which is organising itself and demonstrating solidarity in the face of the pandemic. However, while even a failure of state crisis management is unlikely to have any direct impact on the political system, the economic impact of the pandemic on the country is likely to be severe.

(Osteuropa 3-4/2020, pp. 99–110)