- Lizaveta Kasmach holds a PhD in History from the University of Alberta, Canada.
Since late summer 2016, a small-scale refugee crisis has been unfolding at the Belarusian-Polish border near Brest, as several thousand Chechen refugees attempt to make their way into Poland.
They are mainly seeking political asylum in the EU, claiming that they are persecuted by the repressive regime in Chechnya. However, the majority fail to convince Polish border guards to allow them...
Since late 2016, Belarusian tax authorities have started sending out notifications to all unemployed Belarusians forcing them to reimburse the government for 'state expenditures.'
In other words, the Belarusian state automatically assumes that all people not reported as working are freeloaders, taking advantage of the social system without contributing to it.
On 26 November 2016, a 36-year old woman was killed in a car accident as she was crossing the road in the village of Darava in the Brest region.
The drunk driver responsible for the accident turned out to be the head of the Baranavičy road police.
Alcohol is only one of many problems tarnishing the public perception of the police forces. Arbitrariness, a lack of integrity, and...
On 27 October 2016, the first Belarusian Nobel Prize winner Sviatlana Alexievič made a donation to the Ravenka family, a couple in Slonim with six children.
She deliberately made her act public, as discussions of this particular case in the media are telling of the many challenges faced by large families in Belarus.
Despite some state support, large families in Belarus struggle...
On 7 November 2016, the anniversary of the October Revolution, a newly renovated statue of Lenin appeared in the Belarusian capital. The controversial reactions to it culminated in the disruption of the unveiling ceremony.
Until now, commemoration of the October Revolution in Belarus has taken place mostly by inertia. 7 November remains a public holiday, reintroduced in the calendar...
On 3 October 2016, women in neighbouring Poland went on a nation-wide strike protesting a notorious law criminalising abortion. This ongoing controversy has also provoked public debate in Belarus.
Unlike Poland, Belarus does not infringe on women’s reproductive rights. Its legislation guarantees the right for every woman to decide on motherhood herself.
However, since late...
On 7 September 2016, Andrei Fomachkin from Belarus became famous for appearing with a Russian flag during the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro.
Upon his return to Minsk, the Russian media hailed Fomachkin, a bureaucrat from the Belarusian Ministry of Sport, as a hero.
The reaction of the Belarusian people, however, was more ambivalent. Over the past...
On 31 July 2016, Belarusian TV broadcast a “special report,” accusing the IISEPS (Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies) of fraud and fabrication of results.
Soon thereafter, the founder of IISEPS, Aleh Manaeŭ, stated that his organisation would cease conducting sociological surveys in Belarus.
On the eve of the 2016 parliamentary...
In July 2016, Belarusian Facebook users showed support for the initiative #IamNotAfraidToSayIt (#янебаюсясказаць in Belarusian). Originally a Facebook post by a Ukrainian journalist against gender-based violence, it quickly grew into a spontaneous online phenomenon which transcended borders.
The campaign addressed the sexual assault, abuse, molestation, and harassment regularly faced by...
The Minsk City Court is currently dealing with the high-profile case of a drug-dealing network, known as LegalMinsk.
After its launch in 2011, it grew into the biggest online retailer of so-called 'spice' drugs. According to the prosecution, LegalMinsk infiltrated several law enforcement agencies and aspired to monopolise drug trafficking in Belarus.
Criminals use the...
A large solar power plant will open this summer in the Brahin district, changing the landscape of the Chernobyl-contaminated lands: 85,000 solar panels will occupy an area the size of about 80 football fields.
Proponents of green energy praise it as a win-win solution: sustainable, ecological, economically profitable, and a diversifier of energy supplies in the country. The authorities...
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