28 January 2012
The 22-year-old Belarusian Victoria Azarenka has just defeated Maria Sharapova to win the Australian Open and take over the women's No. 1 tennis ranking. Very few people know that Sharapova's parents are also from Belarus. They fled their home to escape the fallout from the Chernobyl explosion before she was born.
Although Sharapova sometimes visits ...
22 January 2012
Last week, leading Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva announced that in Minsk there will be signposts put up in English and in Russian. This reveals several facts about contemporary Minsk. There are no signposts in English. Putting them up is so extraordinary that they publish an article about it.
You Better Read Cyrillic
If you have traveled around Minsk...
20 January 2012
Last autumn when Belarusian rock band IQ48 approached a regional TV channel, its editors told the musicians that their song contained unacceptable political hints. The editors in western Belarusian city of Maladzechna interpreted the original Belarusian words of the song “And let Mickey Mouse hang in the fridge” as a hint to the Belarus president who is a known...
12 January 2012
At the beginning of the new year, Belarus made headlines in the Western press once again. The reporting on the new internet law showed that Belarus is a white stain on the European map for most people. This week the Toronto Star published an article called "Belarus: The North Korea of Europe...
10 January 2012
Alexander Rumak from the Ministry of Labour and Social Protection declared that the Belarusian labour market would not deteriorate this year. According to official figures, the unemployment rate in Belarus is merely 0.6% of the economically active population. The reality, however, is different from the rosy picture the Government of Belarus is trying to paint.
Thousands of young...
21 December 2011
Last month the Belarusian youth web site generation.by published a diagram showing that 2/3 of European Humanities University (EHU) graduates do not return to Belarus after completing their studies. According to generation.by, the data came from a poll of 2011 graduates of bachelors' programs published on the EHU website. The university described this information as false and...
16 December 2011
Although the level of academic freedom in Belarus is far from desirable, the country's integration into the European Higher Education Process would greatly benefit a new generation of Belarusians and should be encouraged by European policymakers.
On 12 December 2011 the Bologna Working Group reviewed the application of the Ministry of Education of Belarus to join the...
04 December 2011
Last month Yale University Press published Andrew Wilson's book "Belarus - The Last European Dictatorship". The book covers Belarusian history from Polatsk Principality to the present day Belarus and offers particularly interesting insights into Lukashenka's rise to power and the system which...
25 November 2011
For the Belarusian authorities, human rights activist Ales Bialiatski, who was sentenced to 4 and a half years in prison yesterday, is a criminal. For a significant part of Belarusian society, he is a hero. Twenty years after the declaration of independence from the Soviet Union, Belarus still has two opposite pantheons of national heroes: the official and the democratic one, and many...
22 November 2011
On November 30, a Belarusian court is likely to issue the death sentence to the alleged perpetrators of the April terrorist act in the Minsk metro. Many in Belarus remain unconvinced that the suspects, two young men from the northern province of Vitebsk, are guilty of such serious crimes.
The premature verdict could have major repercussions for the legitimacy of the Lukashenka regime....
03 November 2011
Last Sunday, a thousand Belarusians carrying national flags and wooden crosses marched from central Minsk to the Kurapaty forest. Nearly 100,000 people were shot dead during the Stalin era in Kurapaty. On just one day 74 years ago, more than a hundred representatives of the intellectual elite of Soviet Belarus were also shot dead in the cellars of the Minsk KGB (then known as NKVD) internal...
11 October 2011
At 10 am last Saturday an official "subbotnik" began for millions of Belarusians. The word "subbotnik" comes from the Russian "subbota" and means a Saturday of unpaid work for community needs. Subbotniks trace their history back to 1919 when Russian Bolsheviks needed to mobilise workers to rebuild the country after the Civil War but were unable to pay them....