- Vadzim Bylina is a researcher at the Institute of Political Studies 'Political Sphere' based in Minsk and Vilnius.He was born and grew up in Asipovichy and holds a BA in Political Science from European Humanity University (Vilnius). He also completed an MA in Cultural Studies from Warsaw University.
On 10 March, a court sentenced six football hooligans to lengthy jail sentences for a fight between fans of FC Partyzan Minsk and a rival group of ultras which occurred in June 2014. The football fans received particularly severe sentences of twelve, ten, six and four years in jail.
In sentencing the leftist hooligans to imprisonment, officials intend to keep anarchists and football...
Several corruption scandals shook Belarusian sport in 2016. They demonstrate that even Alexander Lukashenka's favourites are not safe from corruption.
Perhaps the most discussed case was the five-year prison sentence of Maksim Subbotkin, the General Director of the most successful ice-hockey club in Belarus – Dynama-Minsk, whom the court charged for embezzlement.
A recent construction conflict, lasting from May 2016 to January 2017, has divided Belarusian civil society. Residents, along with environmental activists, were able to halt the erection of a Catholic church in a Minsk park. Eventually, the Archbishop of Belarus even accused environmental NGOs of persecuting the Catholic Church.
Even according to official data, the population of Minsk...
On 24 January, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne rescinded the Belarusian national rowing team's suspension. The International Canoe Federation (ICF) had banned the team in July 2016, just a couple of weeks before the Olympics in Rio.
Justice triumphed. Belarusian sport officials claim that due to the ban, Belarus had lost at least three Olympic medals, and they...
A newcomer to the top Belarusian football league, FC Krumkachy (or Ravens), from Minsk became the most discussed phenomenon of Belarusian sport in the media in 2016.
The story of the club plays out like a Hollywood movie. A group of enthusiasts founded the club just five years ago, and after three years in minor leagues their dreams came true. Krumkachy earned the right to debut in the...
While European and American officials are visiting Minsk and discussing easing sanctions on Belarusian officials, the KGB is preparing for this year's presidential election.
In recent months the police have stepped up pressure on civic activists and anarchists to avoid protests spilling out onto Minsk's pristine streets during the upcoming election campaign.
In recent months the Belarusian police have intensified pressure on young football fans – followers of the 'ultra' subculture. In January police detained at least 69 young ultras.
In Salihorsk in late January 20 fans of a local team were detained for holding an unauthorised fireworks show. Several days later, on 31 January,...
While in Ukraine large scale political demonstrations are just a regular instrument used to influence the authorities, democratic activists in Belarus are prosecuted for nearly any kind of public political action. Trying to adapt to the current conditions, the opposition is changing its protest tactics.
Evidence of these new tactics has been described in a new analytical paper...
A photo of 20 well-known Belarusians holding a banner in support of FC BATE Barysau ultras stirred up the Belarusian internet at the end of January. The photo also featured rock star Liavon Volski, writer and journalist Natalka Babina, screenwriter and film director Andrei Kureichyk.
Not far back, it was hard to imagine intellectuals expressing support for groups of...