16 June 2017
Many in Belarus took the recent discovery of new oil fields in the country as a joke: president Alexander Lukashenka had demanded earlier that the government start searching for its own black gold. According to experts, however, these deposits were already known.
It was only the complexity of extraction that had prevented the mining of these deposits before. However, officials now claim...
- 22 February 2016
19 February 2016
Last month, Alexander Lukashenka pardoned six top officials charged with corruption. Not only that – he appointed them to manage unprofitable state-owned enterprises.
The decision reflects a haphazard approach to fighting corruption. Belarus ranked 107 out of 168 countries in a recent report by Transparency International, a non-governmental organisation that monitors corporate and...
06 November 2015
On 27 October, the Belarusian statistical office released revised GDP data. The government actually bets on a quick revival of the economy and bails-out some firms and industries through expanding its own debt.
However, this in turn creates a potential problem of public debt sustainability, as the perspectives for creating the effective economic activity of firms under a bail-out look...
28 August 2015
The billboards in Belarus tell an interesting story about the country. Before 1991, these advertisements were sponsored by the communist authorities and focused on both social and political propaganda.
Even today the majority of billboards throughout Belarusian cities promote healthy and safe lifestyles, or patriotic themes rather than sell products and services. It is therefore not...
14 August 2015
Agriculture was the fastest growing branch of the Belarusian economy in the first half of 2015. Many in Russia and other post-Soviet countries consider Belarus to be a model when it comes to maintaining a viable agricultural sector.
But in reality, the Belarusian government spends more on agriculture than the sector’s value added. Despite substantial subsidies many Belarusian...
10 July 2015
On 9 July General Motors and JV Unison signed an agreement to assemble Chevrolet Tahoe and Cadillac Eskaleyd automobiles in the Minsk region.
From the beginning of the year, several international fast food chains have announced a desire to open shop in Belarus. New businesses include major American brands such as Burger King, KFC, and Texas Chicken.
But despite official claims...
02 June 2015
As Lukashenka tries to improve ties with his Western counterparts, questions arise as to the merits of this thaw in relations for both parties. Despite the conciliatory tone of US and EU officials, their representatives at the UN Human Rights Council maintain a tougher stance towards Minsk.
While the West may be vacillating on how to best cooperate with Lukashenka, the Chinese President...
12 March 2015
Belarus tries to improve its economy and sends signals to the West that it is ready to carry out reforms to attract investment and secure loans. Besides reforms, Minsk has been pushing state-owned potash producer Belaruskali to win more of the marketshare, even if it means losing money.
The EU views relations with Belarus pragmatically, making no guarantees. Despite the air of...
06 February 2015
Relations between Russia and Belarus appear to have taken a turn for the worse as the new year begins. As Belarus's economy stumbles, Minsk tries to shore up the Belarusian ruble while simultaneously blaming Moscow for some of its economic troubles.
More striking than the economic issues is a new law that would see any activity similar to what happened in Crimea or Eastern Ukraine...
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....
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...