11 March 2015
Russia is getting serious about the idea of creating a unified visa space with Belarus.
On 3 March, Moscow brought in big guns when Vladimir Putin announced upcoming talks on an agreement providing for the mutual recognition of each country's visas. Belarus has refused to confirm the existence of such plans so far.
The Schengen-like visa arrangement would deprive Minsk of...
03 March 2015
On March 3, in Moscow, Russian president Vladimir Putin presented his Belarusian counterpart Aliaksandr Lukashenka with the Order of Aleksandr Nevsky award. Ostensibly it marked his work in international cooperation in the service of the Russian Federation, linked perhaps to his hosting of the Minsk agreements of September 2014 and February 2015.
Those agreements brought in the first...
18 February 2015
Fears that a call for mobilisation was on the horizon sent the public into a panic in Belarus, though the concerns were largely unfounded.
The Belarusian military and industrial complex is planning for the future and hopes on orders from Russia, though it remains unclear whether they will procure them. The CSTO creates a strategic defence management system and will try to confront the...
05 February 2015
At the end of January, Belarus temporally mobilised nearly 15,000 reservists - a large number for the nearly 50,000-strong national army.
A major Russian news portal Gazeta.ru linked this move to the escalation of the Ukrainian conflict. At the same time, the Belarusian army began conducting military exercises.
The Belarusian parliament also introduced several amendments to...
04 February 2015
Last month Belarusian authorities continued their offensive against independent media. An amendment to the media law, in force since 1 January, tightened the state's control over the Internet.
Eight days later, the state ordered the confiscation of profits from an independent publisher (...
05 January 2015
Belarus-Russia tensions continue to grow as the economies of both countries come under more and more stress. Seeking to distance himself from the image of being the Kremlin's vassal, Lukashenka went to Kiev to reaffirm his commitment to help with the peace process in eastern Ukraine.
The 2015 presidential election may be a way off, but civil society is already getting more active....
02 January 2015
The past few weeks have seen an unusual increase of anti-Belarusian activity in pro-government Russian media and blogs.
The Kremlin has not yet used its strongest media tools. However, the manner of the attack is in some respects similar to the information warfare which preceded Russia's annexation of Crimea.
In the face of the unfolding economic crisis in Russia and Belarus...
05 December 2014
Belarus has also gained some international notoriety recently. American rapper has proclaimed his love for Belarusian culture by launching an accessory line. In more gruesome news, Belarus has been a gruesome discovery that old Jewish headstones were used as building materials back in the Soviet era.
As 2014 comes to a close, the situation on the ground is becoming more...
04 December 2014
Belarus state TV Channel 1 harshly criticised Belarusian spongers - people who do not wish to work as their fellow citizens do and abuse the nation's welfare system.
Aliaksandr Lukashenka made a number of angry statements in response to Russia's latest round of restrictions on imports from Belarus.
State TV continues to present the developments in Belarus in a generally...
31 October 2014
The Belarusian economy received the brunt of the Western press' attention in October. Belarus is apparently looking to continue exporting sanctioned EU foodstuffs to Russia, while Russia is trying to stop it from entering the country. The IMF is still very sceptical about Belarus's economic situation and is not willing to provide it any financial support without serious reforms....
27 October 2014
Last week Chief of the Russian Air Force Viktor Bondarev announced that a Russian airbase would be established in Babruysk in 2016. An article from the Moscow Times on expanding the Russian air force presence abroad, subsequently reprinted in the Guardian, painted a rather dramatic, yet not entirely correct picture.
According to the story, Russia has stationed its fighter jets in...
24 October 2014
The main economic events for October in Belarus revolve around Russia: the ratification of the Eurasian Economic Union, the continued fighting over the re-export of banned European foodstuffs to Russia, and, finally, an argument over Russia’s oil tax manoeuvre.
Russia’s actions, both political and economic, further complicate the situation with the Belarusian economy, which...