Losers and Winners of Political Marketing Campaigns in Belarus: The 2007 Local Elections and Energy Dispute

Tuesday, January 30, 2007
12:00 pm
Room 1219 International Affairs Building

The Harriman Institute and the Ukrainian Studies Program will host a lunchtime talk by Belarusian specialist Igor Irkho, titled:

“LOSERS AND WINNERS OF POLITICAL MARKETING CAMPAIGNS IN BELARUS: THE 2007 LOCAL ELECTIONS AND ENERGY DISPUTE”

The recent oil dispute between Russia and Belarus overshadowed another big political event –- local Belarusian elections on January 14, 2007 -- which were supposed to be major news from Belarus. The local authorities are important to the Belarusian election process, because they select members of the election commissions. And, as far as Belarusian elections are not transparent, the official results depend fully on these election commission members.

During his talk, Mr. Irkho will discuss how, having secured the election of loyal local authorities on January 14th, the regime of Alexander Lukashenko has practically ensured its power for the next several years. He will also argue that the results of the Russian-Belarusian oil dispute look more like a lose-lose situation than a win-win solution for Presidents Putin and Lukashenko, begging the question of whether the game was worth the gamble?

Igor Irkho worked for several years as a top manager of one of the largest regional newspaper companies in Belarus, until his relocation to the United States in 2004. He is the author of several articles for Belarusian and Russian newspapers, including “Svaboda” and “Novye Izvestiya.” He also served as a press person for two major political parties, the Belarusian Popular Front and the United Civic Party, in Belarus in 1997. Currently, Mr. Irkho is an adjunct professor of marketing at Westchester Community College of the State University of New York.

For more information, please contact ukrainianstudies@columbia.edu or 212-854-4697.