Comparing authoritarian practices: Belarus and Azerbaijan

Venue: Syndicate Room
Speakers: Ambassador Andrei Sannikov (Chairman, European Belarus Foundation), Dr Leila Alieva (REES, OSGA)
Convenor: Professor Roy Allison (St Antony's)

Panel discussion with Dr Leila Alieva (REES, OSGA) & Ambassador Andrei Sannikov (Chairman, European Belarus Foundation)
Ambassador Andrei Sannikov is a career diplomat, who was in 1995 appointed Deputy Foreign Minister of Belarus - but resigned in protest against Lukashenko's policies in 1996. Since then he has been active in civil society and opposition politics, co-founding the civil initiative Charter97 in 1997, and in 2008 initiating the civil campaign European Belarus, to advocate the integration of Belarus in the European Union. Ambassador Sannikov, who was a candidate at the 2010 presidential election in Belarus, and had the second highest percentage of the popular votes, was incarcerated in a Minsk KGB facility for peacefully protesting at a demonstration after the election, and sentenced to 5 years in a penal colony. He was recognized by Amnesty International as a prisoner of conscience, and international pressure resulted in his release on 14 April 2012 after 16 months in prison. He now lives and works in Europe, in exile from his homeland. In 2005 he was awarded the Bruno Kreisky Prize for human rights protection; his book My Story: Belarusian Amerikanka or Elections Under Dictatorship was published in Moscow in 2016. He continues to campaign for a democratic Belarus.

Dr Leila Alieva is currently affiliated to the Russian and East European Studies (REES) centre at the Oxford School of Global and Area Studies (OSGA). She was founder and president of two “think-tanks” in Azerbaijan. In 2018 she was a research fellow at the Institute Fur Kulturwissenschaften (IFK) in Vienna, Austria. Her research is in area studies - Azerbaijan, Caucasus, the former Soviet Union, Russia - as well as energy security,  democratization and civil society in the oil rich states, and regional EU and NATO integration. Her articles on issues of security, conflicts and politics in the region have been published by Oxford University Press, Sharpe, Journal of Democracy, Jane’s Intelligence Review and many other academic and policy journals and books. Her most recent research is a joint project with Alexei Pikulik on comparative analysis of opposition in the two rentier states of Belarus and Azerbaijan, and her most recent publication discusses the ways in which political regimes affect perspectives and attitudes in conflict by shaping modernization, based on the example of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict. (Caucasus Survey, April, 2018) . She has edited 6 books - including The Soviet Legacy 22 years On: Reversed or Reinforced? (CNIS, 2013) - and regularly contributes to publications related to ENP and EaP. Dr Alieva is a registered EU expert, and in 2013 was elected a coordinator of the EaP CSF WG1 on Human Rights, Democracy and Good Governance