11 April 2012
Belarusians are the most travel-restricted nation in Europe. Both their own government and the European Union seem to be determined not to let them out.
The Belarusian authorities prevent leading opposition activists, students and state bureaucrats from travelling to the neighbouring EU states. The European Union also restricts Belarusian citizens by keeping the most restrictive...
28 January 2012
The 22-year-old Belarusian Victoria Azarenka has just defeated Maria Sharapova to win the Australian Open and take over the women's No. 1 tennis ranking. Very few people know that Sharapova's parents are also from Belarus. They fled their home to escape the fallout from the Chernobyl explosion before she was born.
Although Sharapova sometimes visits ...
06 January 2012
Last Friday the Library of Congress website published an article called 'Belarus: Browsing Foreign Websites a Misdemeanor'. The story authored by Peter Roudik raised a huge wave of attention first in the blogosphere and then in the mainstream media. The titles were truly sensational. '...
21 December 2011
Last month the Belarusian youth web site generation.by published a diagram showing that 2/3 of European Humanities University (EHU) graduates do not return to Belarus after completing their studies. According to generation.by, the data came from a poll of 2011 graduates of bachelors' programs published on the EHU website. The university described this information as false and...
04 December 2011
Last month Yale University Press published Andrew Wilson's book "Belarus - The Last European Dictatorship". The book covers Belarusian history from Polatsk Principality to the present day Belarus and offers particularly interesting insights into Lukashenka's rise to power and the system which...
21 November 2011
Last summer over half of Belarusians polled by the Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies said that Alyaksandr Lukashenka based his authority primarily on the police, the military and the KGB. A closer look at who actually runs the security services and other governmental agencies in Belarus reveals interesting facts and trends.
It appears that those who...
11 October 2011
At 10 am last Saturday an official "subbotnik" began for millions of Belarusians. The word "subbotnik" comes from the Russian "subbota" and means a Saturday of unpaid work for community needs. Subbotniks trace their history back to 1919 when Russian Bolsheviks needed to mobilise workers to rebuild the country after the Civil War but were unable to pay them....
02 September 2011
As the economic crisis deepens prices on nearly all products rise sharply in Belarus with one remarkable exception - alcohol. These days a bottle of vodka in Belarusian restaurants often costs less than a packet of orange juice - US$3.
In a supermarket half a liter of a cheap alcoholic drink with around 30% alcohol content costs around US$0.65. Yesterday the government...
24 August 2011
If you are in Belarus and only have Belarusian roubles to pay for your ticket – be prepared to stay in the country a bit longer. AirBaltic and some other companies operating in Belarus no longer accept Belarusian roubles. Instead they insist on payments in Euros - a currency which is nearly impossible to buy legally in Belarus. Today it became even more...
17 August 2011
Last week Russia's President Vladimir Putin reiterated that privatisation of state enterprises is a necessary precondition for further financial support. The International Monetary Fund also insists on privatization in its recommendations. But many in Belarus - both in the government and in the opposition camps - bitterly oppose privatization.
Belarusian authorities still...
11 August 2011
Today the U.S. Department of the Treasury sanctioned four Belarusian enterprises of Belneftekhim Concern, Belarus’ largest petrochemical conglomerate. Sanctions hit some of thee most profitable state-owned companies in Belarus - OAO Naftan, OAO Grodno Azot, JSC Grodno Khimvolokno and OAO Belshina. The U.S. government froze all...
10 August 2011
"It's just the beginning" reads the top headline of Belarus Today, the main official newspaper in Belarus. The story covers not the economic crisis in Belarus but the ongoing riots in London. The newspaper hints that reduction in unemployment benefits and subsidies on youth and social centers were the main reasons for London riots.
Belarus Today ...