What's Going on in Belarus?

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Friday, June 18th, 2021

Friday, June 18, 20219:00AM - 10:00AMOnline Event, Online Event
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Following the recent grounding of an Irish airline carrying a Belarusian dissident, President Alexander Lukashenko’s fight for power has suddenly taken on international implications. A panel of experts will discuss Belarusian developments since the opposition protests last year and the role of Russia and the West in shaping the fate of Lukashenko and the prospects for Belarusian democracy.


Mark MacKinnon is currently based in London, where he is The Globe and Mail’s Senior International Correspondent. In that posting he has reported on the refugee crisis, the rise of Islamic State, the war in eastern Ukraine, and the Brexit referendum. He was internationally recognized for his 2016 story “The Graffiti Kids,” which followed the lives of the teenagers who inadvertently started the Syrian war.
Mark spent five years as the newspaper’s Beijing correspondent. There he won accolades for his investigations into the garment industry in Asia and for his reporting from the 2011 tsunami and nuclear disaster in Japan.
Mark has also been posted to the Middle East and Moscow for The Globe and Mail. He has covered the arrival of Canada’s troops in Afghanistan, the 2003 U.S. invasion of Iraq, Russia’s war in Chechnya, the Orange Revolution in Ukraine and the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah conflict.
A seven-time National Newspaper Award winner, Mark is also the author of The New Cold War: Revolutions, Rigged Elections and Pipeline Politics – which was published in 2007 by Random House, and The China Diaries, an e-book of his train travels through the Middle Kingdom along with photographer John Lehmann.
He has interviewed many world leaders, including Shimon Peres, Aung San Suu Kyi, and Jordan’s King Abdullah II.

Amelie Tolvin is a current MA candidate at the University of Toronto’s Munk School of Global Affairs & Public Policy, where her focus and interests lie in authoritarianism, contentious politics and the post-Soviet space. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree, with a major in Political Science and a minor in Russian, at the University of British Columbia in April 2020. She has previously held internship positions at the Canadian Embassy in Washington, D.C., and with the European Values Thinktank’s Kremlin Watch Program. She is currently working on her graduate major research project with Professor Lucan Way, examining the authoritarian responses to the current protest movement in Belarus.

Professor Lucan Way’s research focuses on democratization and authoritarianism in the former Soviet Union and the developing world. His most recent book (with Steven Levitsky), Social Revolution and Authoritarian Durability in the Modern World (forthcoming Princeton University Press) provides a comparative historical explanation of the extraordinary durability of autocracies born of violent social revolution. Professor Way’s solo authored book, Pluralism by Default: Weak Autocrats and the Rise of Competitive Politics (Johns Hopkins, 2015), examines the sources of political competition in the former Soviet Union. His book, Competitive Authoritarianism: Hybrid Regimes after the Cold War (with Steven Levitsky), was published in 2010 by Cambridge University Press. Way’s work on competitive authoritarianism has been cited thousands of times and helped stimulate new and wide-ranging research into the dynamics of hybrid democratic-authoritarian rule.


Professor Edward Schatz is the Acting Director of the Centre for European, Russian, and Eurasian Studies and Professor in the Department of Political Science at the University of Toronto. He recently published Slow Anti-Americanism: Social Movements and Symbolic Politics in Central Asia with Stanford University Press. His previous books include Paradox of Power: The Logics of State Weakness in Eurasia (2017) and Political Ethnography: What Immersion Contributes to the Study of Power (2009). Professor Schatz is currently working with Professor Rachel Silvey on a SSHRC-funded project about the downstream effects of China’s Belt and Road Initiative.


Olga Kesarchuk


Mark MacKinnon
The Globe and Mail's Senior International Correspondent

Amelie Tolvin
MA Candidate, Munk School, University of Toronto

Lucan Way
Professor, Department of Political Science, University of Toronto

Edward Schatz
Acting Director, CERES, University of Toronto

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