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...
28 March 2017
On 10 March, a court sentenced six football hooligans to lengthy jail sentences for a fight between fans of FC Partyzan Minsk and a rival group of ultras which occurred in June 2014. The football fans received particularly severe sentences of twelve, ten, six and four years in jail.
In sentencing the leftist hooligans to imprisonment, officials intend to keep anarchists and football...
27 March 2017
Following the violent suppression of peaceful political protests in Belarus, many policy-makers Western capitals are at a loss. Should they re-impose sanctions? Ignore human rights violations for geopolitical concerns?
To resolve this quagmire, it is important to understand why the Belarusian authorities have resorted to violence.
Why are Belarusian authorities overreacting?...
24 March 2017
During a meeting with defence minister Andrei Raukou on 20 March, president Alexander Lukashenka demanded 'absolute transparency' at the forthcoming West-2017 Belarusian-Russian military exercise. The Belarusian government is working to counter the negative repercussions of such a massive show of military force in the region.
These repercussions have certainly been felt. On 9...
23 March 2017
On 22 March, Alexander Lukashenka revealed an extraordinary discovery – the authorities had arrested armed fighters who were planning to overthrow the government on 25 March, the day when the Belarusian opposition traditionally celebrates Freedom Day with mass rallies.
The fighters allegedly had training camps inside Belarus and in neighbouring countries. The official media also...
22 March 2017
While many Belarusians call themselves religious, less than 10% regularly visit church and only 33% believe that religion is important, according to a Gallup study of religiosity.
Despite the fact that Belarus is among the top-15 least religious countries in the world the Orthodox Church remains influential in the public sphere.
The Orthodox Church maintains a special status in...
20 March 2017
Arrests infographics, Washington conference, MediaBarCamp, feminist protest - Belarus civil society digest
The toll of activists detained as a result of street protests against decree #3 reaches nearly 200 people, sentenced to 982 days of arrests and $7,600 of fines. TUT.BY visualises statistics of the "protest spring." The two-week defence of Kurapaty protected area seems to have ended in the victory of activists: construction...