Looks at the sources of stability and instability in post-Soviet authoritarian states through the case study of President Lukashenka's firm hold on power in Belarus. In particular, it seeks to understand the role of energy relations, policies, and discourses in the maintenance of this power. The central empirical question Balmaceda seeks to answer is what has been the role of energy policies in the maintenance of Lukashenka's power in Belarus? In particular, it analyzes the role of energy policies in the management of Lukashenka's relationship with three constituencies crucial to his hold on power: Russian actors, the Belarusian nomenklatura, and the Belarusian electorate. In terms of foreign relations, the book focuses on the factors explaining Lukashenka's ability to project Belarus' power in its relationship with Russia in such a way as to compensate for its objective high level of dependency, assuring high levels of energy subsidies and rents continuing well beyond the initial worsening of the relationship in c. 2004.
In terms of domestic relations, Balmaceda examines Lukashenka's specific use of those energy rents in such a way as to assure the continuing support of both the Belarusian nomenklatura and the Belarusian electorate.