Matthew Frear

Political Change in Independent Belarus

Supervisors: Dr Kataryna Wolczuk and Dr David White

Funded by a CEELBAS studentship

Matthew’s PhD looks at developments in domestic politics in Belarus under the rule of Alyaksandr Lukashenka. He is especially interested in how the authoritarian regime has proven to be more adaptable and effective than many predicted, while the regime's opponents have often been prone repeating the mistakes of the past.  Matthew has spent a total of four months in Belarus on research visits, as well as Belarusian language training at Minsk State Linguistic University. He has travelled widely in the country, conducted interviews with local analysts and activists, and closely follows the local media. He aims to provide an account of the realities of the political landscape in contemporary Belarus.


Matthew joined CREES in 2005, having worked previously at the British Council for nine years in a number of roles in the UK, Russia and Ukraine.  He gained an MSc (with Distinction) in Contemporary Russian and East European Studies and was awarded the Grayson Prize for best first year postgraduate student in CREES. He previously gained a BA in Modern Languages (German and Russian) at Bradford University. Matthew has lectured to undergraduates in cultural politics at Birmingham, as well as contributed several book reviews to Europe Asia Studies. He has also been an active member of the postgraduate steering committe of the interdisciplinary Graduate Centre for Europe.

Conference Papers and Presentations

‘Autoritäre Konsolidiering und Anpassung: Der Fall Belarus’ 17. Tagung Junger Osteuropaexperten, Berlin, 23-25 October 2009 

‘Political Processes in Belarus: Authoritarian Consolidation vs. Colour Revolution’ 14th ASN Convention, New York, 23-25 April 2009

‘Belarus: The Success of Authoritarianism and the Failure of Opposition’ 1st School of Governance and Society Postgraduate Colloquium, Birmingham, 19 February 2009

'Does Belarus need Europeanising?' 2nd Graduate Centre for Europe Postgraduate Conference, Birmingham, 17-19 April 2008

'Lukashenka’s Third Term: Developments and Prospects' 5th Wider Europe Conference, Brussels, 12-13 March 2008

'Understanding the Lukashenka Phenomenon' CREES Conference, Cumberland Lodge, 9-11 June 2006