In August 2020, a seemingly fraudulent election led to a wave of protests in Belarus. While the autocratic president–Lukashenko–claimed to have received 80% of the vote, this was contested by the opposition and viewed skeptically by most of the international community. Given Belarus’ strong ties with Russia and newer relationship with the European Union (EU), this crisis has important international dimensions. Furthermore, poor governance and political instability, economic pressures, and militarization increase its potential for conflict. This conflict diagnostic analyzes the ongoing crisis in Belarus and presents the best, worst, and most likely scenarios for its future. At best, this crisis could foster democracy in Belarus; at worst, a violent conflict could end in Russian domination. A more likely outcome is that protests are repressed and a pro-Russian successor ultimately replaces Lukashenko.

2021 Belarus Conflict Diagnostic