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Podcast: The Lukashenka Shuffle

Playing a double game

You can call it the Lukashenka shuffle and the authoritarian Belarusian leader has been doing it for years.

First you play the loyal Moscow ally, until you need something -- like lower gas prices, for example. Then, you cozy up to the West to blackmail your Kremlin patrons.

Everybody knew what he was doing and everybody played along with the little two-step.

But something has changed in the wake of the Ukraine crisis. Alyaksandr Lukashenka's criticism of Moscow has become more persistent and more pronounced. And his overtures to the West appear more serious and more sincere.

Suddenly, Lukashenka's little dance has become a lot more consequential -- and a lot more dangerous.

On the latest Power Vertical Podcast, we look at the Belarusian leader's machinations and their consequences -- both internationally and domestically.

Joining me are Alyaksey Znatkevich of RFE/RL's Belarus Service and Andrew Wilson, a senior policy fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations and author of Belarus: The Last European Dictatorship and the recently published Ukraine Crisis: What It Means For the West.


Power Vertical Podcast: The Lukashenka Shuffle
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About This Blog

The Power Vertical
The Power Vertical

The Power Vertical is a blog written especially for Russia wonks and obsessive Kremlin watchers by Brian Whitmore. It offers Brian's personal take on emerging and developing trends in Russian politics, shining a spotlight on the high-stakes power struggles, machinations, and clashing interests that shape Kremlin policy today. Check out The Power Vertical Facebook page or


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