11 April 2013
On 10 April, in an interview for Radio Svaboda Belarusian historian and a former lecturer at the European Humanities University Aleś Smalianchuk stated that Belarus did not have its own historical policy.
His interview followed several politically-motivated dismissals at Hrodna State University. The dismissals prove that the authorities are...
11 January 2013
In today’s Minsk most of street names refer to the Communist period. The streets named after Lenin, Komsomol, Marx, Communism dominate the historical centre of the city founded in 1067.
Before the collapse of the Soviet Union Minsk cultural landscape was one of the most “Sovietized” in the USSR. Unlike in Warsaw, Vilnius, Kiev and even Moscow where...
26 December 2012
The Belarusian authorities trade the national identity of Belarusians in exchange for economic subsidies from Russia.
Constitutional guarantees of equal rights of the two official languages actually do not work. The majority of Belarusians react indifferently to that fact, as they do in most situations. But the civil society resists russification and tries to prove that Belarusian...
22 October 2012
Belarusian analysts discuss the role of language in Belarusian society, media barometer, abolition of death penalty, European and Eurasion integration among other topics.
Language of Democracy and Language of Dictatorship – brief but probably...
12 October 2012
In Belarus, being an academic means that you work in an institution controlled by the state. Sometimes you cannot be a true scholar because you have to produce the "official truth". Otherwise you risk being repressed for disloyalty.
A good illustration of that is last month’s case of Hrodna University in western Belarus, where a number of prominent university teachers...
14 June 2012
Professor David Marples the University of Alberta who was banned in April from travelling to Belarus is finishing his new book on historical memory and World War II in Belarus.
At an Anglo-Belarusian Society event in London last week, he was speaking about the "military" mentality of the Belarusian society, the nation-building process in Belarus, and the West's...
19 April 2012
This week the Belarusian Association of Advertisers announced a competition for the best poster in popularising the Belarusian language. They want to draw public attention to "one of the most painful social problems” - the low usage of Belarusian in everyday life in Belarus.
Belarusians have the weakest national self-identification in the former Soviet Union 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...
27 November 2011
Lukashenka invites the West to participate in a "tug of war" with Russia. He wants to persuade the West that Belarus is significantly strengthening cooperation with Russia, and thus push the West towards cooperating on his terms: extension of loans, development of trade and economic cooperation without significant steps towards political liberalization. Russia's generous loans,...
25 November 2011
For the Belarusian authorities, human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison yesterday, is a criminal. For a significant part of Belarusian society, he is a hero. Twenty years after the declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, Belarus still has two opposite pantheons of national heroes: the official and the democratic one, and many...
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...
25 August 2011
This month an advertising campaign that may puzzle foreign observers was launched in Minsk. Advertising company “Belzneshreklama” began to advertise the Belarusian language. Their posters show various berries and Belarusian names for them. And what is more unusual - they also decided to display the Russian translation.
The title of the campaign is: “The taste...