How to Make Foreign Aid More Effective - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Ulad Vialicka

Belarusian analytical reports and papers focused on effectiveness of foreign aid to Belarusian civil society, impact of poverty on political activism and foreign policy. Amnesty International and the US Department of State published their annual human rights reports which touch upon the situation in Belarus. 

Neighborhood Program: View from Belarus – Ulad Vialichka, head of International Consortium "EuroBelarus", identifies a number of drawbacks of the international programs of development of civil society, in particular the Danish strategy for Neighbourhood countries. In his opinion, the civil society is concerned that local actors are excluded from the system of planning programs and strategies and the increasing role of external intermediaries.

His article calls for introduction of the principle of publicity and better efficiency evaluation. He notes that the absence of investments into «basic means» such as buildings, offices, personnel, etc. makes civil society organisations  weak and totally dependent on external financing. 

Belarusian Monthly Economic Review. May 2012 – The IPM Research Center issued the May issue of monthly bulletin which reviews recent developments in political and economic life of the country. The main topics of issue: exhaustion of the acute phase of the conflict with the EU; chemical and petrochemical industry are the leaders of growth; the surplus in foreign trade has grown; the monetary base decreased.

EESC Analytical study. Eastern Europe Studies Centre (EESC) presents the analytical study on the independent Belarusian trade unions “Are the Independent Democratic Trade Unions of Belarus the Engine of Social Reforms?” 31 respondents, who are the representatives of the leading entities of the democratic trade unions of Belarus, were interviewed in the process of the survey. On the basis of the given survey its authors propose certain recommendations for the successful development of the civic society in Belarus, consolidation of the role of public organisations and first of all that of the independent trade union amalgamations.

How to Survive on $ 4,000? – Journalist Viktor Martinovich reacts to the article of a girl on onliner.by which exploded the Bynet last week. The girl told that her monthly salary in $ 700 is not enough for a decent life. Analyzing numerous comments below the text, Martinovich concludes that the Belarusians live in poverty, they are not ashamed of poor level of their live, and more importantly - the social situation in no way translates in people's heads into dissatisfaction with the authorities.

Foreign policy

Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index #7 – Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) released a new issue of Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index covering the developments in March and April 2012. They observe deepening of cooperation in the Russian vector, a weakening of negative rhetoric in the European vector and an aggravation in the relationship with Ukraine. Furthermore, certain contradictions in Belarus’ relations with China became visible for the first time ever. The diplomatic crisis has been resolved as soon as Andrei Sannikau and Zmicier Bandarenka were released from prison and EU ambassadors got back to Minsk. However, despite the obvious willingness of the Belarusian side to put an end to the conflict with the European Union, its actions remained extremely contradictory.

Ninth issue of BISS Trends – Belarusian Institute for Strategic Studies (BISS) presents the ninth issue of the BISS Trends - quarterly monitoring of the Belarus’s political, social and economic development. The experts note that the first quarter of 2012 can be regarded as a pause before Belarus finally has to address a crucial geopolitical challenge. The end of this period saw the country in a position of considerable uncertainty, which is largely due to the impending geopolitical choice of its administration: Belarus will either embark on a multi-vector policy, or aim exclusively at further integration with Russia.

Belarus National Security Blog analytical paper: April 2012 – the Blog's experts note that April is remarkable with two events: the beginning of a rapprochement with the West, which resulted in the release of Andrei Sannikov and Dmitry Bondarenko, suspend the practice of the ban on travel abroad for the opposition; and strengthening the populist rhetoric of the authorities (again, a promise to bring the average salary up to $500).

Top 7 Secrets about the "Eastern Partnership" and Belarus from «Wikileaks» - Andrei Eliseev recalls that the initiative Eastern Partnership started three years ago. After reviewing the diplomatic correspondence declassified by «Wikileaks», the expert concludes that the negotiations on the inclusion of Minsk in the initiative were not easy. Belarus, however, almost did not use the benefits of the Eastern Partnership initiative.

Human rights

Review-Chronicle of Human Rights Violations. April 2012. Human Rights Centre Viasna released its monthly Review-Chronicle of Human Rights violations in Belarus. The experts note that April was marked with the first steps toward de-escalation of political conflict between the Belarusian authorities and the EU, in particular, releasing of two political prisoners (Andrei Sannikov and Dmitry Bondarenko) and returning of EU ambassadors to Minsk.

Belarus among 10 Most LGBT rights violating states in Europe. Ilga Europe, a Brussels-based NGO campaigning for equal rights for LGBTI people, launched the project to become its annual report on the state of play of LGBTI rights in Europe. According to the report, Belarus is on the list of top-10 sexual minorities most oppressing countries. The survey covers 49 European countries.

Amnesty International Report 2012. On May 24, human rights organization "Amnesty International" has published an annual report 2012 "The state of the world's human rights". In particular in Belarus, the report indicates the worsening economic situation, growth of tension in society and, consequently, an even greater restriction of freedom by the authorities.

Country Reports on Human Rights Practices for 2011. On May 24, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, U.S. State Department, published the report on the situation of human rights in 2011. The report notes that the most significant human rights problems in Belarus continued to be the inability of citizens to change their government; a system bereft of checks and balances in which authorities committed frequent, serious abuses; and the government’s politically motivated imprisonments of hundreds of people during the year.

Belarus Digest prepared this overview on the basis of materials provided by Pact. This digest attempts to give a richer picture of the recent political and civil society events in Belarus. It often goes beyond the hot stories already available in English-language media.

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