14 August 2012
On 30 July, BBC showed a controversial documentary about the 2011 terrorist attack in Minsk where 15 people died and over 200 were injured. It questioned the guilt of the two men convicted and subsequently executed for it. The film provoked a strong reaction from the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol). Interpol labelled the BBC documentary as based on "biased...
18 July 2012
On 29 June the lower chamber of the Belarusian parliament – the House of Representatives – approved in a first reading amendments which introduce harsher administrative liability for non-licensed public opinion surveys.
The bill further restricts possibilities for independent research of the social and political processes in Belarusian society. As a result, the quality of...
19 June 2012
Imagine you are young and well-educated. Imagine you study in one of the world’s best universities and conduct research for your PhD thesis on security policy. Imagine that the first question the people who could be your colleagues ask is: Why are you failing to get married? And would you not perhaps like to write a thesis on how to get married?
Outrageous? Sexual discrimination?...
13 June 2012
"We do not cultivate the idea of sex tourism in Belarus. But if [a foreign tourist] has an interest, let him look for it, meet girls and marry".
This is how the deputy Minister of Sports and Tourism Cheslau Shulha recently answered a question about the growing sex industry in Belarus on a state TV channel.
While the Belarusian authorities...
08 June 2012
In his annual address Lukashenka outlined the essence of his relationship with the official unions. Stalin would call the official Belarus trade unions driving belts of his policies. But the form of expression does not change the reality - in Belarus, the so-called trade unions constitute a specific substructure of the state apparatus.
Lukashenka, as the official press is not...
10 May 2012
NGO Assembly was refused to hold its Congress the last minute. “Here you can be served in Belarusian” campaign kicks off in Gomel. The Office for the Rights of People with Disabilities presents its survey on attitudes towards people with disabilities. EHU returns to Minsk – for the sake of an art presentation.
Congress of the Assembly of...
08 May 2012
Belarusian ruler Alexander Lukashenka frequently refers to the Second World War in his quarrels with the West. Lukashenka added to the Soviet Victory Day celebrated on 9 May another official holiday, 3 July, the day when the Red Army took Minsk in 1944. In 2003 the government introduced the History of the Great Patriotic War as an obligatory and separate subject not only in schools but...
07 May 2012
May is always a hot time for students in their final year at Belarusian universities. They have to prepare for their final exams, finish their papers and start thinking about graduation ball dresses. But besides that, nearly a third of the graduating students around the country have to worry about their first-job mandatory placement. These are the so-called “budget students” who...
26 April 2012
26 April is a very sad day in Belarusian history. On 26 April 1986 a disastrous accident took place at a nuclear power plant in Chernobyl, just across the border in Ukraine. It became one of the most horrible man-made disasters ever. Belarus suffered from the radioactive fallout more than any other country.
Since the disintegration of the Soviet Union Belarus has had to...
19 April 2012
This week the Belarusian Association of Advertisers announced a competition for the best poster in popularising the Belarusian language. They want to draw public attention to "one of the most painful social problems” - the low usage of Belarusian in everyday life in Belarus.
Belarusians have the weakest national self-identification in the former Soviet Union and...
18 April 2012
The argument for loosening the visa regime for Belarusian citizen is that people to people contacts must improve. At a time when the official diplomatic relations are at an all-time low, it seems that the exchange between ordinary people offers a glimpse of hope. It might prevent the Belarusian citizen...
08 March 2012
On 8 March, Belarusians celebrate International Women’s Day. In the tradition of the Soviet Union, there is no special day for lovers such as Valentine’s Day, but men and women have separate holidays. This is the time to look at the relations between men and women in Belarus. Although both are equal in front of the law, in reality, women are not as equal as men.