A Meeting of the Union of Poles in Hrodna. Photo: belsat.eu
On 11 May, the Union of Poles in Belarus sent around 6,000 signatures to Alexander Lukashenka demanding an end to the Russification of Polish schools in Hrodna Region. In July, The Belarusian Ministry of Education plans to decrease the number of subjects taught in Polish in Polish schools of Hrodna and Vaukavysk. Over the past several years, Belarusian Poles have fallen victim to the state's attempts to restrict minority rights in education and religion. Hrodna Region, where most Belarusian Poles reside, has become the epicentre for the struggle for minority rights in Belarus.
On 11 May, the Union of Poles in Belarus sent around 6,000 signatures to Alexander Lukashenka demanding an end to the Russification of Polish schools in Hrodna Region.
In July, The Belarusian Ministry of Education plans to decrease the number of subjects taught in Polish in Polish schools of Hrodna and Vaukavysk.
Over the past several years, Belarusian Poles have fallen victim to the state's attempts to restrict minority rights in education and religion. Hrodna Region, where most Belarusian Poles reside, has become the epicentre for the struggle for minority rights in Belarus.
11 May 2017
Belarus is perhaps the world's second booziest nation. In 2014, Belarus topped the World Health Organisation's report on alcohol consumption. According to the WHO, an average Belarusian drinks around 17.5 litres of alcohol per year, while the median global consumption hovers around 6.5 litres.
Meanwhile, alcohol prices are considerably lower than in neighbouring western...
10 May 2017
Last month, the Pew Research Centre released its Global Restrictions on Religion report, which gauges barriers imposed by governments as well as social hostilities towards religious organisations. Out of the nearly 200 countries studied, Belarus ranked among the 'high-risk' group when it comes to religious restrictions.
In a regional context, Belarus fared worse than...
- 04 May 2017
27 April 2017
On 23 February, the administration of the Belarusian State University expelled the youth activist Yury Lukashevich. The former student claims that the reason behind his expulsion lies in his political activism and board membership in an oppositional party.
While the activity of independent youth organisations faces restrictions, the state-funded Belarusian Republican Youth Union (BRSM)...
13 April 2017
Around 1,100 tourists, a record number, visited Hrodna Region between 26 March and 2 April 2017, according to Belta news agency. Since October 2016, it is possible to visit the region for five days visa-free.
This growth in tourism has occurred despite inconvenient entry procedures: the authorities restrict visits to five days, limit where tourists can go, and prohibit entering the...
31 March 2017
In March, two Belarusian youngsters attempted to commit suicide while playing a 'game' on the popular Russian social network VK.
Belarusian law enforcement services have initiated two criminal cases, connecting the suicides with a game called ‘blue whale’, especially popular in Russia and Ukraine.
The game consists of 50 dangerous quests which youngsters,...
30 March 2017
On Saturday 25 February, Ostrogorski Centre organised the Second Annual London Conference on Belarusian Studies in cooperation with University College London and the Belarusian Francis Skaryna Library and Museum.
Speakers from Belarus, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, the United States, and other countries presented and discussed Belarus-related research. The conference panels...
15 March 2017
The recently published survey Civic Literacy in Ukraine, Moldova and Belarus revealed that the civic literacy rate is lower in Belarus than in Ukraine and Moldova, except when it comes to such issues as budget and taxes.
The survey attempted to determine how people in the three countries understand the principles of interaction between the state and citizens, how they...
14 March 2017
Several corruption scandals shook Belarusian sport in 2016. They demonstrate that even Alexander Lukashenka's favourites are not safe from corruption.
Perhaps the most discussed case was the five-year prison sentence of Maksim Subbotkin, the General Director of the most successful ice-hockey club in Belarus – Dynama-Minsk, whom the court charged for embezzlement.
21 February 2017
A recent construction conflict, lasting from May 2016 to January 2017, has divided Belarusian civil society. Residents, along with environmental activists, were able to halt the erection of a Catholic church in a Minsk park. Eventually, the Archbishop of Belarus even accused environmental NGOs of persecuting the Catholic Church.
Even according to official data, the population of Minsk...
07 February 2017
On 24 January, the Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS) in Lausanne rescinded the Belarusian national rowing team's suspension. The International Canoe Federation (ICF) had banned the team in July 2016, just a couple of weeks before the Olympics in Rio.
Justice triumphed. Belarusian sport officials claim that due to the ban, Belarus had lost at least three Olympic medals, and they...
01 February 2017
On 20 January, the Belarusian jury and TV audiences selected the band Navi to represent Belarus at the Eurovision Song Contest. For the first time in the history of Eurovision, Belarus's performance will be in the Belarusian language.
This is just one of many small steps that Belarus has recently taken to promote tolerance and respect for the Belarusian language. Following the...