13 April 2017
Around 1,100 tourists, a record number, visited Hrodna Region between 26 March and 2 April 2017, according to Belta news agency. Since October 2016, it is possible to visit the region for five days visa-free.
This growth in tourism has occurred despite inconvenient entry procedures: the authorities restrict visits to five days, limit where tourists can go, and prohibit entering the...
11 April 2017
After a meeting with Alexander Lukashenka on 3 April in Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin announced that all oil and gas issues between the two countries had been resolved.
The media in Belarus reported on the Kremlin's concessions extensively. However, what Minsk will provide in return remains unclear. Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenka provided a clue when he said that the...
07 April 2017
Lukashenka and Putin agreed to resolve all critical problems in bilateral relations, including the oil and gas dispute. Belarus realises its largest ever investment project abroad – a potash plant in Turkmenistan.
The official media resoundingly condemns protests against the 'social parasite tax'. Lukashenka approves the creation of a public security monitoring system in...
06 April 2017
On 3 April, Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka succeeded in securing concessions from Vladimir Putin following a year-long oil and gas dispute between the two countries. In order to reach a deal, Minsk put the idea of buying oil from non-Russian sources back on the table.
On 15 February, the news source Reuters reported an oil deal between Belarus and Iran. It involved 80,000...
05 April 2017
Over the past few weeks, the world media largely focused on the protests against the so-called 'social parasite' tax when covering Belarus. The government's reaction, which involved numerous arrests and brutal suppression, alarmed the West and international human rights organisations. They condemned the actions of security services and demanded the release of arrested demonstrators...
04 April 2017
On 3 April 2017, Economy Minister Vladimir Zinovsky announced a negative forecast for first quarter GDP growth in Belarus. This comes despite an increase in industrial output and exports at the end of March.
In this context, on 6 March a new IMF mission arrived in Belarus in an attempt to encourage the authorities to implement further economic reforms.
03 April 2017
In March, analysts at the Ostrogorski Centre focused on the unfolding protests against the ‘social parasite’ tax and the Freedom Day celebration, which led to a violent response from the Belarusian security services and the arrest of more than two dozen suspects as a result of alleged planned armed resistance.
The Centre has released an analytical paper entitled ‘The...
31 March 2017
In March, two Belarusian youngsters attempted to commit suicide while playing a 'game' on the popular Russian social network VK.
Belarusian law enforcement services have initiated two criminal cases, connecting the suicides with a game called ‘blue whale’, especially popular in Russia and Ukraine.
The game consists of 50 dangerous quests which youngsters,...
30 March 2017
On Saturday 25 February, Ostrogorski Centre organised the Second Annual London Conference on Belarusian Studies in cooperation with University College London and the Belarusian Francis Skaryna Library and Museum.
Speakers from Belarus, the United Kingdom, Japan, Germany, the United States, and other countries presented and discussed Belarus-related research. The conference panels...
29 March 2017
Ever since it released important political prisoners in August 2015, the Belarusian government has rarely resorted to outright violence against dissidents. This paradigm shift facilitated the removal or suspension of most Western sanctions against Belarus. The parties were able to move from confrontational rhetoric to positive dialogue.
The Belarusian authorities’ resolute return...