"Recalling the processes and events in the life of Belarus in 2016, the first thing to mention would be the smoldering economic crisis, which the Belarusian authorities have no will to address through reforms while the old methods prove ineffective," - said the expert. According to him, given that the Belarusian economy is tied with the political regime, any dramatic economy changes seem unwelcome for the government.
"The second trend is the information war. It comprises such issues as the confrontation of the "Russian world" in the struggle for identity, consciousness of citizens, loyalty to the Belarusian state, etc.", - continues Andrei Yahorau.
At the same time, the analyst believes it is impossible to claim that Russia deploys a systematic information war against Belarus right now.
"The volume of Russian financial aid to the pro-Russian NGOs and funds was about $ 2 million in 2014, I think, these figures were even bigger in 2015-2016. This information comes from public sources and we can only make guesses as to how much money was implemented de facto. Russia has approximately the same scenario for attacking the entire post-Soviet space. These are large-scale actions, which are under way in Belarus as well. But I would not say that it is a massive, thought-through strategic attack on Belarus, it is part of the ideological pressure of Russia. And there is no way to escape this pressure in 2017, "- emphasizes the analyst.
The strengthening of the information attacks on the New Years’ eve is due to the traditional aggravation of economic relations between Russia and Belarus:
"But we have seen such conflicts many times. The question is, if Russia is ready to use its full power this time. However, it seems to me, the Kremlin is once again doomed to be defeated because the Russian leadership has no clear guidance as to what to do about Minsk. Should they deprive Belarus of independence? Not really an option. Replace the leader? This is very dangerous, because it causes an unpredictable struggle of the elite ", - said Andrei Yahorau.
"The system showed that it can improve itself, hence last forever. It is flexible, smart and adaptive, it is able to solve different problems, able to simulate competition, publicity, openness etc.", - the analyst explains.
Andrei Yahorau is convinced, "As it has become clear over the last two years, Alexander Lukashenka is not the last dictator in Europe but the first one, Putin and all the rest follow him":
"Lukashenka is a very popular politician in the former Soviet Union states, many people in the Baltic countries and in Poland sympathize him. The opposition we have is standard, formulaic, has no influence, it is uncreative, dependent on external financing resources and closely followed by the intelligence agencies, - says the analyst. - The experts considered a pessimistic scenario back in 2006, we wrote that it was the last year for social action to change the situation. This regime is coming to stay: it will be 20, 30 years, until something can be changed. I want to stress that Belarus is a completely new historical and cultural situation, we are the first modern authoritarianism in Europe. Therefore, there is no way to tell how the situation will be developing at all."
According to Andrei Yahorau all of the trends mentioned above will continue in 2017.
Regarding the relations with Europe, the analyst believes it looks simple: "As usual. Perhaps the government will sign a visa facilitation and readmission agreements, trade documents. But it will be slow and without any radical steps ", - convinced us Andrei Yahorau.