29 March 2017
Ever since it released important political prisoners in August 2015, the Belarusian government has rarely resorted to outright violence against dissidents. This paradigm shift facilitated the removal or suspension of most Western sanctions against Belarus. The parties were able to move from confrontational rhetoric to positive dialogue.
The Belarusian authorities’ resolute return...
17 February 2017
From January to early February 2016, Belarus and Lithuania drifted further apart as their diplomats exchanged tart-tongued statements over the safety of the Astraviec NPP and Belarus’s sovereignty. Alexander Lukashenka, who remains unwelcome in the EU, travelled to more sympathetic Egypt and Sudan.
The Belarusian authorities continued with their efforts to restore the...
31 January 2017
In 2016, Belarusian diplomats succeeded in getting rid of most Western sanctions, improving the international legitimacy of the national parliament, regularising dialogue with Europe, and converting Poland from a strong critic into a good partner.
Nevertheless, they failed to make Lukashenka fully presentable to his peers in Europe, alienated Ukraine’s political elite, botched...
28 December 2016
On the eve of the winter holidays, the NGO 'Pact' usually takes a look at the most prominent events to affect Belarusian civil society over the past year.
Here we present our take on the top ten developments of 2016 (categories are in alphabetical order).
Our categories may vary from year to year as it is not our goal to track trends, but rather to highlight major events...
21 December 2016
Belarus aims to expand its cooperation with Malaysia and hosts another high-level visit from Poland. The Belarusian delegation visits the US to discuss economic cooperation and investment with state agencies and corporations.
The authorities arrest three Belarus-based journalists from the Russian media on charges of propagating extremism. The KGB discloses large-scale corruption schemes...
18 November 2016
On 9 November, Aliaksandr Lukashenka congratulated Donald Trump on his victory in the US presidential election. He praised Trump's “active and sincere position", hoping to restore Belarus-US relations; he also warned Russians against rejoicing over Trump's triumph.
However, people on the streets seem to interpret his victory through the lens of the Russian media,...
11 September 2016
The five-day early voting period of the 2016 Belarusian parliamentary elections took place from September 6 to 10. The main Election Day is Sunday, September 11. Polls are open from 8 AM to 8 PM. In these elections nearly seven million Belarusians are eligible to cast their ballots for one of the 484 parliamentary candidates running for 110 seats.
This report on early vote trends was...
02 September 2016
In July and August, Belarusian diplomats kept busy reinforcing ties with the country’s partners in Central and Eastern Europe. These relationships may prove to be instrumental in bolstering Belarus's foreign policy positions.
Foreign minister Vladimir Makei travelled to Kyiv in the midst of another flare-up in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine. His deputy Alena Kupchyna...
01 September 2016
Over the past month, analysts at the Ostrogorski Centre have discussed the rise of the Belarusian defence industry, the increase in dialogue between European and Belarusian parliamentarians, and prospects of real student self-government in Belarusian universities.
The analysts extensively commented in media on the challenges of Belarus's strategy to balance between Russia and the EU...
19 August 2016
On August 11, the registration of candidates for the September 11 parliamentary elections ended. District Election Commissions (DECs) reviewed registration documents for 630 potential candidates. Below is a summary of nomination and registration of candidates followed by a detailed report.
As of August 12, 521 candidates were...
17 August 2016
On 2 – 4 August, Ryszard Terlecki, vice-speaker of the Polish Sejm, led the highest-level parliamentary delegation of an EU country to Minsk in twenty years.
This visit is emblematic of the increasingly common nature of inter-parliamentary contacts between Belarus and Europe. The marginalised Belarusian parliament has been slowly gaining international recognition.
24 December 2014
On 11 December, the Belarusian parliament took only 50 minutes to adopt its 2015 budget.
The rapid adoption of the budget highlights the parliament's puppet status - it could not even be troubled to hold even demonstrative discussions over the important document.
Although more than 80% of Belarusians believe that budget information should be easily accessible, even experts...