The Republic of Belarus, counting fewer than ten million inhabitants, is located at the EU’s eastern frontier, bordering Poland to the west, Lithuania and Latvia to the northwest, Ukraine to the south and the Russian Federation (hereafter Russia) to the northeast. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, Belarus declared independence on 25 August 1991, and since 1994, President Alyaksandr Lukashenka has headed the government. Under Lukashenka’s rule, the country has retained many Soviet-era policies, including state ownership of significant parts of the economy. Because of its staunch resistance to any form of democratisation, Lukashenka’s Belarus has acquired the unfavourable image of ‘the last dictatorship in Europe’.