26 January 2015
The first signs of private enterprise - kiosks at street corners- sprung up in Belarus in 1991 as soon as the country declared independence from the Soviet Union. These kiosks initially sold imported cigarettes, chocolate, coffee, tea, and cheap cosmetics. Later the assortment of goods began to include local produce and clothing.
The authorities have tried limiting these kinds of...
13 January 2015
Belarusian Orthodox circles call it the beginning of a new era, as Metropolitan Pavel, its new leader who recently moved from Russia to Belarus, stated he would ask the Moscow Patriarchate to grant the Belarusian Orthodox Church self-governing status.
Currently, the Belarusian Orthodox Сhurch constitutes a part of the Moscow Patriarchate and lacks the authority to deal even with...
09 January 2015
Since the end of the 2000s, Belarus has become a destination for many hunt lovers from abroad. 40% of Belarus is covered with woods, which remain a natural habitat for many species of animals. Today, booking a hunting expedition in Belarus can be made online with a couple of clicks.
Many Belarusians still prefer poaching, unwilling to stick to strict rules of legal hunting, even despite...
30 December 2014
On 15 December 2014, Belarusian President Lukashenka signed decree No. 5 "On Strengthening the Requirements for Managers and Employees of Organisations".
The decree comes as an unpleasant New Year's gift for working people and the latest step in a general crackdown on employees's rights in Belarus, from common workers to managers, directors and civil servants.
- 27 December 2014
22 December 2014
The European Humanities University (EHU), the only truly independent Belarusian university in existence, has struggled to live up to its great promise.
After being closed by the Belarusian authorities in 2004, the need for a vibrant and innovative university tailored primarily to Belarusians, resonated with many international donors and received their support to re-open in Vilnius in...
18 December 2014
This issue of Belarus Photo Digest is about communal housing in Belarus.
Nearly 800,000 Belarusians were registered as being in need of better housing conditions at the end of 2013, according to Belstat. Sixteen percent of them are living in communal housing, and nearly half are young families.
Nasta and her four-year-old son Matvei live in dormitory-style housing in Maladechna,...
10 December 2014
Belarus Digest broadcasted a discussion entitled "What do Belarusians think: people's attitudes towards capital punishment" which will take place in Minsk on 10 December 2014 - Human Rights Day. This is one discussion in the "What do Belarusians think" series, organised by the Office for European Expertise and Communication in Minsk.
The discussion focused on the...
- 28 November 2014
25 November 2014
Belarus ranks 53rd out of 142 countries in prosperity, ahead of Russia and EU member states Greece and Romania. The rankings stem from the Legatum Institute, a private think tank based in London. According to the ranking Belarus scores highest in social capital and lowest in governance.
It is striking for any post-communist state to perform well on measures of prosperity and social...
19 November 2014
As of 17 November, the Ministry of Housing and Communal Services has a new head - Aliaksandr Cierachaŭ. However, this new appointment will unlikely fix the serious problems which the sector is facing.
Housing and communal services swallows up 8% of the Belarusian budget and remains a hotbed of corruption. Over the past half year, the police have identified more than 100 crimes in this...
18 November 2014
Over the past couple of years informal education has witnessed remarkable growth in Belarus. It offers Belarusians possibilities missing at the nation's over-regulated state-run universities.
New grass-roots initiatives such as the European College of Liberal Arts and the Flying University are organising innovative and inspiring courses in Minsk. Although functioning within a...