12 March 2013
On 26 February 2012, Minister of Education Syarhei Maskevich announced a substantial increase of a minimum passing grade to Belarusian universities.
The government wants to decrease the number of poorly performing students and to redirect young people to technical colleges instead of universities.
Belarusian officials seem not to care that much about the quality of an education....
06 March 2013
On weekends, Vilnius looks like a Belarusian city.
Cars with Belarusian registration plates, crowds of Belarusians carrying shopping bags, even bus schedules to Belarus from big shopping centres. In 2012, according to the Lithuanian State Department of Tourism, 400,000 Belarusian guests visited Lithuania.
In politics, Lithuania maintains a critical position against Lukashenka...
21 February 2013
In 2012 the most recognisable Belarusian brand abroad was World of Tanks according to Belarusian contest The brand of the year.
Produced by Belarus-based Wargaming it allows hundreds of thousands of players play the computer game at the same time. “World of Tanks” broke the previous record in November 2011 when 250,000 players played on the game’s Russian server...
20 February 2013
The official interpretation of history in Belarus has experienced a dramatic evolution since the USSR's collapse. At the first stage a Belarusian nationalist-oriented approach dominated in historiography. After Lukashenka came to power in 1994, a reversal to a Soviet driven narrative took place, which, however, included a number of additional elements.
On the one hand,...
19 February 2013
Few people from the West know that tens of thousands of Belarusians fought in Afghanistan.
The war has long been over, but its legacy remains. The Afghan war brought not only death, physical disabilities and material losses. It also made drug addiction a widespread occurrence in the former USSR.
On 15 February, the Belarusian warrior-internationalists celebrated their...
04 February 2013
Belarusian Minister for Education Siarhei Maskevich on 28 January 2013 expressed his hope that students will convert the Belarusian science "into the main factor of socio-economic and mental development of the country". But does the government really foster the progress of students' education in Belarus?
The lack of academic freedoms, mandatory and old-fashioned study...
31 January 2013
On 10 January the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection proudly announced that Belarus has reached a historical minimum level of unemployment: 0,5 per cent. The figure looks impressive even compared to the recently improved unemployment indicators in Russia (5,4 percent) or Kazakhstan (5,3 percent).
Belarusian media started to explain why the figures of the Belarusian ...
30 January 2013
In November 2012, the newly published Minsk underground system map surprised Minsk residents.
On these maps, Belarusian names of the stations were transliterated into Belarusian using Latin script, or Lacinka. This transliteration seemed incomprehensible to many people and caused a big discussion in media.
For most Belarusians today, Latin script became an attribute of western...
29 January 2013
Recent successes of football club BATE Barysau in the Champion League caught attention not only of supporters from all over the Europe but also of the Belarusian authorities. Achievements of FC BATE often appear in public speeches of Lukashenka.
Answering the question from FC BATE forward Vitaly Radzionau on his last press-conference on...
24 January 2013
Last month New Life, a Protestant Church in Minsk, celebrated its victory: the authorities allowed them to pray in the cowshed. Over the last five years, this Protestant community had to go through over 30 court hearings and their success has a bitter aftertaste.
Protestantism in Belarus undergoes a renaissance. Albeit the Protestant...
23 January 2013
On 18 January the Eastern European Studies Centre and Belarus Research Council organised a panel “What Belarusians Think?”. The participants discussed the results of the December social survey conducted by the Independent Institute for Socio-Economic and Political Studies.
18 January 2013
However unfortunate could be the political and economic situation within Belarus, thanks to some Belarusians the national pride can still be high.
In 2012 Belarusian handball players were among the ones to thank for that. After a longest decline of Belarusian handball, the hope for its revival is now glimmering. While the beliefs that Belarusian handball has died with the Soviet Union...