14 October 2016
On 7 October, Alexander Lukashenka criticised education officials for the lack of Belarusian language instruction in schools. According to him, “because of amateurs in the Ministry of Education, it has come to the point where pupils have six English classes per week, but only two of Belarusian language”.
Such a statement may come as a surprise, given that Lukashenka is...
10 October 2016
On 3 October 2016, women in neighbouring Poland went on a nation-wide strike protesting a notorious law criminalising abortion. This ongoing controversy has also provoked public debate in Belarus.
Unlike Poland, Belarus does not infringe on women’s reproductive rights. Its legislation guarantees the right for every woman to decide on motherhood herself.
However, since late...
29 September 2016
In the first six months of 2016, according to the Ministry of Interior 4,076 Chinese labour migrants entered Belarus. They now outnumber all other nationalities, including Ukrainians, who peaked at 3,334.
The Belarusian government maintains a firm grip on the labour market, and strictly regulates the number of work permits available to foreigners.
While Belarus attempts to re-...
31 August 2016
The first and only Belarusian national hot line for domestic violence prevention celebrated its four-year anniversary in August, 2016. Since 2012 it has received 8,445 phone calls.
The Belarusian non-profit “Gender Perspectives” runs the hotline from Minsk. They pioneered the much-needed service, creating a point of entry for women who found themselves in dire circumstances...
26 August 2016
On 1 September, around 20 thousand foreign students will start the academic year in Belarusian universities and technical schools.
This figure has almost doubled over the past four years, with Turkmens accounting for half of all foreign students in Belarus.
The Belarusian authorities are trying to make a profit from the educational sector, hoping the relatively low price of...
22 August 2016
Belarusian authorities are discreetly preparing a new Education Code, partly to demonstrate to the West that they are making changes. In 2015, Belarus joined the Bologna process and is now required to reform the education system accordingly.
So far, the Belarusian education law has completely ignored the issue of student self-governance. Authorities...
09 August 2016
In July 2016, Belarusian Facebook users showed support for the initiative #IamNotAfraidToSayIt (#янебаюсясказаць in Belarusian). Originally a Facebook post by a Ukrainian journalist against gender-based violence, it quickly grew into a spontaneous online phenomenon which transcended borders.
The campaign addressed the sexual assault, abuse, molestation, and harassment regularly faced by...
26 July 2016
During her speech on 12 June 2016 in New York, Belarusian Nobel laureate in literature Sviatlana Alexievich criticised Poles for actively murdering Jews during World War II.
The Polish Ministry of Foreign Affairs immediately reacted with a protest note demanding explanation and an apology from Alexievich. Sviatlana Alexievich had to elaborate on her position in an interview with a...
22 July 2016
Louis Mayer, one of the founders of the Hollywood studio Metro-Golden-Mayer and the ‘inventor’ of the Oscar award was born in Minsk.
Isaac Asimov, Marc Chagall and Leon Bakst were born and grew up in Belarus. Fifteen Nobel Prize laureates, Jacques Cousteau and and many other notable personalities have Belarusian ancestry.
At the same time, the Guggenheim museum lists...
21 July 2016
On 20 July 2016 at 7:45 am a bomb went off in a car in Kiev. The explosion killed Pavel Sheremet, a prominent Belarusian journalist working in Ukraine.
Pavel was 44 years old and was killed in a car of his partner Olena Prytula. Ms Prytula owns Ukrayinska Pravda, an influential online newspaper in Ukraine, one of the media outlets where Mr Sheremet worked.
20 July 2016
In mid-June 2016 Belarus hosted a regional forum on oncology for the second time since 2004. It brought together leading regional cancer specialists from 25 countries.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO) 14 million people annually get diagnosed with cancer. In Belarus this number reached 50,000 new patients in 2015. Belarus has achieved considerable progress in cancer...
19 July 2016
A private sleeping train compartment in Belarus costs around $6 for an eight hour trip. This is around 70 times cheaper than travelling with a Western equivalent such as the American Amtrak.
Contributing around 2.2% to yearly Belarusian GDP, Belarusian Railway is a large governmental enterprise employing 79,000 people and providing 5,500 km of railway connections.