09 March 2016
The Belarusian authorities are putting all their energy into combating the deepening economic crisis.
They have released corrupt officials sentenced to prison terms and appointed them to manage bankrupt state enterprises. The government is seeking solutions to the problem of the growing black market for alcohol, which brings huge losses to a lucrative state-owned business.
04 March 2016
StudWatch initiative launches a #DanceForReforms flashmob. Viasna publishes a report on monitoring detention facilities in Belarus. 106 new NGOs were registered in 2015. Three Belarusian crowdfunding platforms collect nearly $140K of local funds in 2015. Belarus in Focus announces winners of its annual international journalism competition. Lawtrend presents infographics of 48 government...
01 March 2016
Belarus continues to boost cooperation with western partners and is seeking to avoid excessive economic dependence on Russia.
MPs hope to receive special guest status at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe (PACE) after the issue of the death penalty is resolved in Belarus.
Foreign minister Vladimir Makiej says that the current turbulence in the world has made the...
26 February 2016
The diplomatic exchange between Belarus and Europe got into full swing in February. Over a dozen visits took place within a few weeks either side of the European Union's decision to abrogate its sanctions. Greater involvement of “old Europe” in direct dialogue with Minsk is becoming a noteworthy trend.
Belarusian diplomacy scored a big victory by prompting the EU to lift...
24 February 2016
Belarus may be one of the least religious countries in the world, but Catholic believers are countering the general trend.
There are 619 Catholic parishes and about 1.4 million of self-identified Catholics in Belarus. Most regularly attend the Sunday mass and participate in colourful religious celebrations throughout the year.
Here are some of the scenes from the life of Belarus...
19 February 2016
In February Ostrogorski Centre (OC) analysts commented on the lifting of EU sanctions, Belarus' new military doctrine and the economic challenges the Belarusian government is facing amid the deepest crisis since 1990s.
As the repercussions of the continuing economic crisis become more obvious for both the authorities and the population, the struggle within the Belarusian leadership...
12 February 2016
Over the last weeks analysts covered a range of issues from corporate social responsibility to human rights. Belarus and Russia now undergo the period of cooling, the economy is deteriorating and the authorities are trying to implement reforms.
Belarus scores relatively well on corruption perception compared to Russia and Ukraine but still remains a not free country according to...
10 February 2016
Israel’s decision to close down its embassy in Minsk and the immediate response in kind by the Belarusian government are likely to undermine recent positive trends in bilateral relations between the two countries.
Belarus has meanwhile sought to develop relations with other countries in the region, including Israel’s known foes, Iran and Morocco. Despite the recent...
08 February 2016
Increase in Illegal Migration to EU via Belarus, Cultural Treasures Restitution – State Press Digest
In a time of economic downturn, the Belarusian authorities fear making any changes to the current political and economic model, which is well regarded in the state press. The Belarusian leadership has rejected market reforms and is resorting to administrative measures, increased regulation and strict discipline.
Major state-sponsored organisation Belaja Ruś, dubbed a “party of the...
03 February 2016
Western media focuses on the lifting of sanctions on Belarus by the West, Belarus’s rejection of plans for a Russian air base and heralds the thawing of relations with the West.
Observers seem to agree that the temporary sanctions suspension for Belarus is due to “strategic concerns” overcoming “humanitarian ones”
In other news: Belarusian journalist...
29 January 2016
Air Base Suspended, Seeking Support in Asia and Africa, Belarusian Studies – Ostrogorski Centre Digest
In December and January the Ostrogorski Centre analysts are busy analysing Minsk's complicated games in foreign policy and security affairs, finalising the most recent issue of the Journal of Belarusian Studies and organising a conference on Belarusian studies.
It appears that Belarus continues to cooperate with Ukraine on the issues where Belarus can gain financially and...
27 January 2016
On 6 January, the Belarusian foreign ministry published an annual review of Belarus’ foreign policy (in Russian only). The document, in bureaucratic lingo, tediously reports on the ministry’s achievements and activities in 2015.
Belarus Digest offers its own subjective summary of Belarusian diplomats’ most...