17 January 2017
Starting 12 February, citizens of 80 states, including 39 European countries, will be able to enter Belarus visa-free through the Minsk National Airport. But unlike Kazakhstan, which allows foreigners to stay in the country for up to 30 days, Belarus introduced a much more tricky visa-free regime.
Foreign travellers should be prepared for strict penalties should they fail to understand...
20 December 2016
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...
15 July 2016
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...
19 November 2015
The Belarusian leadership negotiates reform plans with the IMF mission and is ready to gradually introduce more market-oriented policies. The new denomination of the national currency will bring in new banknotes in 2016, and Belarusian coins will appear for the first time since the collapse of the USSR. Belarus needs venture funds and new legal regulation to enhance the support of startups....
27 April 2015
On 3 April the Belarusian police detained Viktar Prakapenia, a major IT businessman and owner of the EXP(Capital) investment fund. The authorities accused him of running a business in the shadows in 2005-2008 and allegedly earning $650,000 in profits.
The IT outsourcing sector has been growing fast in Belarus since 2005, when the first government established the High Technology Park...
20 January 2015
09 January 2015
Since the end of the 2000s, Belarus has become a destination for many hunt lovers from abroad. 40% of Belarus is covered with woods, which remain a natural habitat for many species of animals. Today, booking a hunting expedition in Belarus can be made online with a couple of clicks.
Many Belarusians still prefer poaching, unwilling to stick to strict rules of legal hunting, even despite...
15 December 2014
China regards Belarus as a promising market for its armaments. Attempts to establish cooperation between NATO and CSTO have failed.
The situation in Afghanistan keeps special services and border guards from CIS countries on their toes: an escalation of the conflict is expected in the spring. Several ex-Soviet countries are getting ready to repel attacks from the Taliban.
01 December 2014
On 21 November the Minsk Arena hosted the famous Ukrainian rock band Okean Elzy, who are known for their support of Euromaidan and its pro-European orientation. The musicians did not raise any political issues during the gig according to agreement with the administration, but their concert became politicised nonetheless.
The next day videos appeared online in which policemen refused to...
29 October 2014
On 20 October the government announced a plan to introduce punishment for sponging ('tuneyadstvo’). It was practiced in Soviet times and it may return to Belarus again. About 10% of population able to work do not pay taxes although the official unemployment rate is only 0,5%.
Belarus has one of the largest shadow economies in the region. Over the last years the Belarusian...
15 October 2014
On 9 October, during a Belarus-Ukraine qualifying match to Euro 2016, Ukrainian and Belarusian fans demonstrated an unprecedented level of solidarity. They shouted the national slogans of both countries and chanted an infamous anti-Putin song.
Although the police detained around two dozen fans before and after the game, their response was rather restrained. This light punishment"...
22 April 2014
Every fourth woman in Belarus has been physically abused by her partner. Just in the last three months, 24 Belarusians have died as a result of domestic violence, a 41% increase from last year.
For decades, impunity for such abuse has persisted in Belarus, a country with a traditional view on a women’s place in society and a...