Russia-Ukraine Dialogues: the war's intimate connection to Belarus

This week, LSE IDEAS’ Russia-Ukraine Dialogues focused on Belarus in the context of the ongoing war. The fate of Ukraine and Belarus are intimately connected to one another. As argued by the leader of free Belarus, Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya, freedom and democracy in Belarus and Ukraine cannot be separated from one another. Moreover, Belarus has already played an important role in providing a launchpad for Russia’s full-scale military inviation of Ukraine. Yet, Belarus’s involvement in Ukraine could escalate further. #LSERussiaUkraine

This week’s panel discussed:

  • Linking Belarus and Ukraine’s struggle for freedom
  • Alyaksandr Lukashenka military support for Russia
  • and Future scenarios



This webinar was held on Tuesday 7 February.

Meet the speakers and chair

Sviatlana Tsikhanouskaya is the leader of the Belarusian democratic and anti-war movement and Chair of the United Transition Cabinet of democratic forces who independent observers agree won the presidential election on August 9, 2020, against the autocratic President Aliaksandr Lukashenka. After the start of Russian invasion of Ukraine in February 24th, 2022, Tsikhanouskaya reformatted the leadership of the movement by creating and chairing the United Transition Cabinet, the decision-making center of the movement. Led by Tsikhanouskaya, Belarusian anti-war activists conducted underground resistance in Belarus by sabotaging railway transportation of Russian troops as well as volunteering Belarusian-staffed units fighting for Ukraine.

Lieutenant General (retired) Mark Hertling served for 38 years in the US Army as a tanker and cavalryman, serving at every level from tank platoon leader on the East-West German border to Commander of the 7th Army. He retired in December 2012, after serving as the Commanding General of US Army, Europe (USAREUR), where he led over 60,000 soldiers and partnered with the Armies of 51 nations. Since 2013, Hertling has served as a military and national security analysis for CNN/CNN International. He also has a Doctorate from the Crummer School of Business at Rollins College, defending a thesis addressing approaches to leadership in the healthcare industry. From 2013 to 2018, LTG Hertling became a Senior Vice President for a major healthcare organization in Orlando. Post-retirement he was also appointed to the President’s Council on Fitness, Sports, and Nutrition by President Obama in 2014, and in 2021 he was appointed by President Biden to be a commissioner of the American Battle Monuments Commission, where he now serves as Chairman.

Katia Glod is Russia-West Policy Fellow at the European Leadership Network (London) and non-resident fellow at the Centre for European Policy Analysis (Washington), where she covers Belarus. Glod worked as a consultant for Amnesty International and the European Endowment for Democracy, focusing on Belarus. She also worked as an election observer and analyst for the OSCE in countries such as Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Ukraine, Albania, and North Macedonia. Earlier Glod was a Robert Bosch Academy Fellow on the Russia and Eurasia Programme at Chatham House in London. Glod’s research interests include West’s relations with Russia, Belarus, Ukraine, Central Asia and South Caucasus; internal political and social dynamics in former Soviet countries; political economy of former Soviet countries; and their relations with Russia and the West.

Leon Hartwell (@LeonHartwell) is a Senior Associate at LSE IDEAS and a Non-Resident Senior Fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis (CEPA) in Washington DC. His research interests include conflict resolution, genocide, diplomacy, democracy, the Russia-Ukraine war, and the Western Balkans. Previously, Hartwell was the Senior Advisor of the Central and South-East Europe Programme (CSEEP) and the 2022 Sotirov Fellow at LSE IDEAS, and CEPA’s Acting Director of the Transatlantic Leadership Program.  From 2012 to 2013, he was also the Senior Policy Advisor for Political and Development Cooperation at the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in Zimbabwe, where his work included government and civil society engagement, political reporting, peace building projects, and supporting human rights defenders. In 2019, Hartwell completed a joint doctoral degree summa cum laude at Leipzig University (Germany) and Stellenbosch University (South Africa). His thesis analyzed the use of mediation in the resolution of armed conflicts. Hartwell has published extensively in professional scholarly outlets and mainstream media ranging from the Negotiation Journal (Harvard-MIT-Tufts) and Oxford University Press to War on The Rocks. He speaks Afrikaans, English, Dutch, and Latvian, which he studied at the U.S. Foreign Service Institute.