19 December 2012
The Reality Check is a new initiative which aims to convene regularly a Review Group to contribute to the formulation of a more effective policy towards the EU’s Eastern neighborhood countries.
The Review Group includes domestic and international analysts, practitioners, diplomats and policy makers.
The first informal meeting on Belarus was held in Vilnius...
31 October 2012
On 26 October, Belarus state television showed another criminal movie about independent Belarusian community. This time to prevent crimes Department of Financial Investigation staff members confiscated scholarly books written in Belarusian.
The authorities confiscated over 5,000 books from a former chief editor of Arche Valery Bulhakau. According to state TV-channel, these books are...
05 April 2012
Over the last fifteen years Belarusians have become used to the authorities' brutality during opposition demonstrations. Since 19 December 2010 the police have been particularly repressive, leaving no opportunities for protesters. But the massive rally in Minsk on 25 March, Freedom Day, was unexpectedly peaceful.
The police behaved in an unusually friendly manner. This led some...
30 March 2012
Although Belarusian authorities permitted and did not interfere with the annual Freedom Day opposition rally in the centre of Minsk, the pressure against opposition activists is increasing. Multiple detentions leading to short-term prison terms are now coupled with restrictions on travelling abroad for pro-democracy activists. The life of political prisoner Siarhey Kavalyou...
14 March 2012
To understand the balance of power in Belarus it is important to understand the role of the siloviki (the security services). Although they affect political decision-making and the degree of violence in domestic politics they are not a predominant group within the ruling elite.
Modern History of Belarus Security Services
In 1999 – 2003, heads...
12 February 2012
While the presidential election campaign of December 2010 saw a revival of dynamism and interest in the opposition in Belarus, the subsequent violent clampdown ended hope of an opening in Belarus. The opposition, rattled and weakened by these events and continued government pressure, has not been able to turn the economic crisis, mismanagement by the government and falling ratings of Alexander...
16 January 2012
Belarusian authorities have not changed their ways in 2012. The former presidential candidate Mikola Statkevich will be transferred to a detention facility with harsher conditions, the KGB is trying to recruit new informants and more democratic activists are under pressure.
Statkevich to be moved to cell-type prison. On January 12, in a trial that took...
03 January 2012
In December most Belarusian commentators focused on significant events of the 2011 and forecasts for the year 2012 - their outlook was rather pessimistic. The Independent Institute of Socio-Economic and Political Studies published results of its recent polls which show that over 80% of Belarusians think that the economy of the country is in crisis, and over 55% believe that the country is...
18 December 2011
With Ales Bialiatskiy named a human rights defender of the year by the Human Rights Alliance, the government continued to exert pressure on civil society activists resulting in a number of arrests in the regions. The West continued to mount pressure on Belarusian government with EU’s expanded sanctions and the US Senate’s passing of amendments to the Democracy and Human Rights Act...
02 December 2011
Some people in Belarus still cling to Lukashenka’s regime ideology as they cannot imagine anything else. Others have a different view of the country’s future but prefer to remain silent and suffer in solitude. There are also those who have declared an outright “holy war” against the regime, no matter the cost, and who are ready to sacrifice their lives on the...
05 November 2011
Following military manoeuvres in the south of Belarus last Friday, the Belarusian ruler put forth a completely new idea for developing public administration. He ordered the formation of a new army called the territorial defence troops.
The idea is reminiscient of what Muammar Gaddafi and Saddam Hussein once tried to do in their countries: effectively undermining national armies...
14 October 2011
Unable to deal with the economic crisis by economic means and fearing a revolution, Belarusian ruler Alyaksandr Lukashenka strengthens the KGB.
Last Thursday the Belarusian rouble fell sharply against the US dollar. Now the rate is 9,000 Belarusian rubles for one dollar. In September, the rate was less than 8,000 rubles. The new fall clearly breached Lukashenka'...