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Belarus delegation brings Russian flag to Paralympics: solidarity or calculation?
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On 7 September 2016, Andrei Fomachkin from Belarus became famous for appearing with a Russian flag during the opening ceremonies of the Paralympic Games in Rio de Janeiro. Upon his return to Minsk, the Russian media hailed Fomachkin, a bureaucrat...
10 May 2016
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Victory Day: Between Remembrance and Militant Memory

9 May 2016 in Minsk started with a procession “Belarus Remembers,” which marched through the heart of the city, carrying pictures of the veterans. Too frail to walk over longer distances, they joined the procession at the Victory Square for...

3 August 2015
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Monuments Reveal Conflicted National Identity of Belarusians – Belarus Photo Digest

Since 1991, two opposing conceptions of Belarusian national identity have coexisted side by side. One glorifies Belarus’s Soviet past, cultural ties to Russia, and victory in the Second World War (WWII) as the nation's founding moment. Until recently, this...

28 January 2015
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Major Independent Publisher under Attack in Belarus

On 9 January the Economic Court of Minsk charged the Lohvinaŭ book store with unauthorised book sales and ordered the confiscation of its whole year’s profit. This is perhaps the largest fine ever received by civil society in Belarus. Until...

18 July 2014
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The Split Between Belarusian Elites and Society on Ukraine Widens

On 17 July, Belarusian state media tried to strike a balance between Russia and Ukraine's respective positions when reporting on the MH17 crash. Russian media clearly stated that it was Ukraine which had shot down the plane and the majority...

3 June 2014
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Eurasian Economic Union, A Lush Nation, Minsk’s Best Cop – Western Press Digest

May became a momentous month for western media coverage of Belarus. While Minsk was awash with foreign and local ice hockey fans taking in the World Ice Hockey Championship, the international press stuck to almost exclusively covering the matches...

25 November 2013
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Kulturkampf Against the Belarusian Language

Last week, the Belarusian Supreme Economic Court approved recalling the license of a major Minsk-based publishing house. The government apparently shut it down for publications which seemed too  political. This decision dealt a serious blow to Belarusian-language culture since few publishers have produced...

9 October 2013
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Prisoners of Authoritarianism: Alexievich and her Critics

Observers named Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich among favorites for the Nobel Prize again this year. Alexievich's books come out in 35 languages. Her trophies include German, American, Polish, Swedish, Austrian and international awards, but not a single distinction from Belarus. Instead of...

17 September 2013
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Konstanty Kalinouski: A Contested Hero

At the start of September, the Belarusian journal ARCHE reported that two monuments commemorating Konstanty Kalinouski, a revolutionary contested in the official Belarusian history, disappeared in a town near Hrodna.Konstanty Kalinouski remains a controversial figure, present in Belarusian, Lithuanian...

28 June 2013
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Svetlana Alexievich: Belarusian Language is Rural and Literary Unripe

Last week, the Board of Trustees of the Peace Prize of German Publishers and Booksellers Association have chosen the Belarusian writer Svetlana Alexievich as the recipient of this year’s Peace Prize. In a subsequent interview with the German daily Frankfurter...