16 January 2017
Belarus’s diplomatic activities slowed down before the holidays in December. The country’s diplomacy focused mostly on a multilateral agenda in preparation for its chairmanship of the Central European Initiative, as well as manoeuvring at the United Nations.
Foreign minister Vladimir Makei’s statement at an OSCE meeting was perhaps meant to be a programme declaration,...
12 January 2017
On 15 December President Aliaksandr Lukashenka appointed vice-mayor of Minsk Ihar Karpenka as Minister of Education. However, two important facts about the latter have caused serious discussion within the Belarusian expert community.
First, at the moment of his appointment, Ihar Karpenka was the Head of the Communist Party in Belarus. Second, the dismissal of the...
10 January 2017
Diplomacy between Belarus and Georgia has taken on new life. On 20 December 2016 Belarus finally opened its embassy in Tbilisi. This decision, long and complicated for both sides, has proved their intention to renew bilateral dialogue. This step could also indicate a new Georgia–Belarus strategy towards Russia.
Belarus and Georgia have never been strategic partners. The countries...
06 January 2017
In October-December 2016, almost 2,000 tourists took advantage of new visa-free regulations to visit Hrodna Region. In response to the increasing amount of foreign tourists, Hrodna Region has started working on two important initiatives: visa-free railway voyages and launching low-cost flights to Hrodna airport.
However, making railway services and the Hrodna airport accessible visa-...
23 December 2016
On 20 December, Polish MP Robert Tyszkiewicz publicly stated that Poland will hold parliamentary debates on the future of Belsat, an independent Belarusian TV channel based in Poland.
According to Tyszkiewicz, 'the termination of Belsat TV would mean a U-turn in Polish foreign policy, we would consider this a political mistake.'
Nearly all Polish politicians, journalists...
21 December 2016
Relations between Belarus and the European Union are still in crisis. An EU resolution on Belarus, delivered on 24 November, once again demonstrated just how weak bilateral relations are. According to the document, the Belarusian government has yet to resolve several key problems hindering the EU-Belarus...
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...
19 December 2016
In an interview published yesterday on Wpolityce.pl, Poland’s Minister of Foreign Affairs Witold Waszczykowski announced that his Ministry is considering closing down Belsat, the only Belarusian language satellite channel.
The possibility that Belsat may be taken off the air has shocked Belarusian civil society as it is probably the largest Western-sponsored project aimed at...
12 December 2016
In 2030 the number of elderly in Belarus will predictably reach 29,7% of the population. Life quality of seniors in Belarus is low and nothing indicates further improvement.
Instead of the pension age reform, elderly population needs an effective strategy of active ageing. One of the main tasks lies in providing educational opportunities for this group.
Despite the fast ageing of...
08 December 2016
On 7 December, the head of the Russian Railways stated that his company can provide a large enough discount to Belarusian companies to allow them to cease transporting cargo through the Baltic States. At the same time, Latvian officials continue to pitch their ports to the Belarusian government.
So far, Belarus primarily uses Lithuanian ports, but Russia and Latvia may take advantage of...
24 November 2016
On 15 November, at the 71st session of the UN General Assembly, the Belarusian delegation voted against a draft resolution tabled by Ukraine on the human rights situation in Crimea.
This vote, along with Belarus’s failed attempt to adjourn debate on all country-specific texts, was perceived as a trick to torpedo Ukraine’s initiative and has angered many in Belarus and...
22 November 2016
On 15 November, Lithuanian Energy Minister Rokas Masiulis presented his country's new energy strategy. Although it is not stated directly, the strategy strongly implies that Lithuania will not buy electricity from the Belarusian nuclear power plant, which will begin operating in 2019.
In recent years, the issue of the Belarusian NPP has stifled bilateral relations and it seems that...