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Ryhor Astapenia
Ryhor Astapenia
Ryhor Astapenia is Development Director at the Ostrogorski Centre. He also edits the Belarusian internet magazine Idea and coordinates the BelarusProfile.com project. Ryhor is currently working on his PhD at the University of Warsaw and advises civil society organisations in Belarus. He is originally from Salihorsk, Belarus.
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8 April 2015
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Belarus At War With Its “Social Parasites”

On 2 April, Alexander Lukashenka signed a decree against “social parasites”. From now on, individuals who do not pay taxes will lose be forced to submit around $240 annually into the the state’s coffers. This law is designed to help...

20 March 2015
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Belarusian Authorities Battle Street Vendors to Save the Textile Industry

On 17 March, Belarusian President Alexander Lukashenka paid a personal visit to a popular bazaar in Minsk, the capital, to resolve a conflict between the authorities and local street vendors. Earlier this month, a new government request was issued requiring...

17 February 2015
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Insulated from Competition, Belavia Profits and Modernizes

Whilst 2014 was a bad year for the Belarusian economy on the whole, it brought in plenty of profit for Belavia, Belarusian Airlines and Minsk National Airport. Without any competition from low-cost airlines, Belavia has been able to safely modernise its...

3 February 2015
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Is Radical Islam a Threat for Belarus?

On 11 January, the Committee for State Security (KGB) made public information about the arrest of 20 Muslim Salafis that took place near Minsk in late November 2014. While Belarus' security services have monitored the behaviour of Islamic...

27 January 2015
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Belarusian Machine Building: Once a Nation’s Pride, Now a Burden?

In Soviet times, machine building was a driver of economic growth in Belarus. It is not so today. According to the Ministry of Finance, the Belarusian Automobile Plant, the Minsk Automobile Plant and the Minsk Tractor Plant lost $76m over...

13 January 2015
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Belarusian Orthodox Church Seeks More Independence from Russia

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...

24 December 2014
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Belarus Will Start the New Year with a Wishful Budget

On 11 December, the Belarusian parliament took only 50 minutes to adopt its 2015 budget. The rapid adoption of the budget highlights the parliament's puppet status - it could not even be troubled to hold even demonstrative discussions over the...

11 December 2014
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Belarus Reinstates Customs Control on the Border with Russia: the End of the Eurasian Union?

The new food war between Belarus and Russia may signal the end the Eurasian Economic Union. In early December Belarus and Russia unofficially resumed customs control on the border, which led to Belarus responding to a Russian imposed embargo...

2 December 2014
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Young Officials Get Positions, Old Crowd Waits for New Appointments – Belarus Profile Digest

Belarus Digest with its sister project Belarus Profile is launching a new series of publications primarily devoted to changes in the Belarusian nomenclature. Every two months, Belarus Profile Digest will cover the most important recent appointments and dismissals...

19 November 2014
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Fixing Housing and Communal Services in Belarus: A New Minister is Not Enough

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%...