Date of Award

Spring 12-12-2023

Degree Type

Honors Thesis


International Studies

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts


International Studies

First Advisor

Professor Ilaria Giglioli


In 2020, the world took notice of Belarus’ dictator, Alexander Lukashenko’s brutal repression of the Belarusian people, demonstrating their wish to topple his hybrid authoritarian regime to make way for a liberated and democratic Belarus. While that wish has yet to be achieved, the question of “How do the regional powers of Eurasia influence the internal democratization struggle of Belarus?” has been vital to understanding geopolitics over the past three years. Through analysis of government reports, statements, and interviews with experts in the Eurasian region, I showcase the foreign policies of the U.S., EU, Russia, and China relating to Belarus. The findings from this data showcase the polarity of influence between the West and East in their work in Belarus. In the democratic West, the U.S. and EU have assisted the movement through their second-track diplomacy with Belarusian groups and economic policies that attack Lukashenko’s regime and propose large-scale economic aid for a reformed democratic future. In the hybrid-authoritarian East, Russia and China have continued enabling Lukashenko’s regime by entrenching Belarus with cultural, security, and economic policies that hinder any democratic movement or national liberating future. By analyzing the unique policies of these four powers, I showcase the contrarian perspectives that played a role in the democratization of the past three years, providing insight into the future of Belarus.