A senior European Union official prepares to visit Minsk amid reports that Belarusian President Alyaksandr Lukashenka will be invited to the EU's Eastern Partnership summit for the first time.
On the new Power Vertical Briefing, we preview this week's visit to Minsk by Johannes Hahn, the EU's commissioner for European neighborhood policy and enlargement negotiations, and look at Belarus's ongoing flirtation with the West and where it may be heading.
Also on The Briefing, we look ahead to what the Kremlin says will be an important speech by Vladimir Putin at the Valdai Discussion forum this week.
Joining me is RFE/RL news editor Steve Gutterman.
NOTE: The Power Vertical Briefing is a short look ahead to the stories expected to make news in Russia in the coming week. It is hosted by Brian Whitmore, author of The Power Vertical blog, and appears on Mondays.