Although the attempted mutiny in Russia on June 24th was short-lived, it may have lasting consequences for Russia’s political regime, its war in Ukraine, and Europe’s overall security situation. The rebellion also put Belarus back in the spotlight, as Aliaksandar Lukashenka helped negotiate the deal heading off the crisis between Vladimir Putin and his challenger – Yevgeny Prigozhin, head of Russia’s private military company Wagner Group. At the same time, Russia’s tactical nuclear weapons are soon to be deployed to Belarus, which inevitably raises questions about their potential use in the war while also providing insights into the motives of the leaders who are responsible for this decision. In this episode, our guests contextualize these recent developments in light of the ongoing war in Ukraine – a conflict that is facing a new round of escalation – and discuss possible ways out of this growing dynamic of insecurity in Europe.
Alexandra Dienes is a Senior Researcher at the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung, Regional Office for Cooperation and Peace in Europe, based in Vienna. She holds a PhD in Political Science from the University of Amsterdam and focuses of political economy and foreign policy of Russia and post-communist countries. At FES ROCPE [pronounced ros-pee] she deals primarily with foreign and security policy in the OSCE space. She also leads the flagship public opinion survey of the FES called “Security Radar”.
Yauheni Preiherman, Founder and Director, Minsk Dialogue Council on International Relations. Yauheni is also a co-chair at the Younger Generation Leaders Network on Euro-Atlantic Security (YGLN) and Advisory Board member at the International Institute for Peace (Austria). His main research interests include the foreign policies of small states, international affairs in Eastern Europe, and Euro-Atlantic and Eurasian security. Yauheni holds a BA in International Relations from the Belarusian State University, an MA in European Politics from Sussex University (UK), and a PhD in Politics and International Studies from Warwick University (UK). His PhD thesis dealt with foreign policy strategies of small states that sit in-between centres of geopolitical gravity and have asymmetric relations with them. Yauheni developed an innovative theoretical model of foreign policy hedging and an explanation of its sources and limitations for small in-between states.
Marylia Hushcha, Researcher at the IIP
The episode was recorded on 26 June 2023.