Belarus: Eye of a New Geopolitical Storm in Europe?


Will Belarus become a geopolitical pivot point that leads to a dangerous divide in Europe?  The rapidly developing situation in Belarus could potentially trigger the most significant shift in the European status quo since events in Ukraine in 2014.  How likely is regime change in Minsk?  Could Russia realistically take military action to forestall it?  Might an incipient struggle for predominance in Belarus spark a wider confrontation between the United States, Europe, and Russia? 

On Tuesday, August 25, George Beebe, the Vice President and Director of Studies at the Center for the National Interest and a former director of Russia analysis at the CIA and staff advisor to Vice President Dick Cheney, moderated an online discussion of these questions featuring four prominent experts. 

  • Fyodor Lukyanov is one of Russia’s foremost experts in foreign affairs, serving as Chairman of the Presidium of the Council on Foreign and Defense Policy, editor in chief of Russia in Global Affairs, and research director of the Valdai Discussion Club.  An independent-minded observer, he is also well connected within the Russian government with direct access to President Putin.
  • Nikolas Gvosdev is the Captain Jerome E. Levy chair in Economic Geography and National Security at the US Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island, and is an insightful analyst of the dynamics and dangers of great power competition among the United States, Russia, and China. 
  • Michael Kofman is Director of the Russia Studies Program at the Center for Naval Analysis and a Fellow at the Kennan Institute in Washington, DC, specializing in Russia’s armed forces, military capabilities, and strategy.
  • David Marples is Distinguished University Professor in the Department of History & Classics at the University of Alberta, specializing in the history and contemporary politics of Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine.