Why Belarus Officials Do Not Blog - Digest of Belarusian Analytics

Pauliuk Bykouski

Experts discuss issues ranging from the presence of officials on social networks to the catalogue of old Belarusian cemeteries. 

Governmental Websites One Decade Behind: Svabodaby.net journalist and media expert Pauliuk Bykouski discuss why Belarusian officials do not have blogs and pages in Facebook, as well as what can contribute to the information openness of state agencies. The main conclusion is that because Belarusian officials are not elected they are not particularly interested in impressing the population and building public profiles. The article also provides a brief review of websites of ministries and both chambers of the Parliament of Belarus.

POLITICS

Ioffe about Belarusian Politics and Economy: Liberal Club conducted video-interview with Grigory Ioffe, Radford University  Professor, while his visiting Minsk. Prof Ioffe shared his vision of democracy in the world and in Belarus; specifics of "Belarusian regime"; his impressions of his latest meeting with Alexander Lukashenka. In particular, Ioffe considers Lukashenka as an extremely dynamic and flexible person who responds to the changing socio-economic environment; the question is how radically Lukashenka is ready to change.

Asking Questions to Lukashenka. Survival School – Alexander Klaskovsky, following the recent press conference of Lukashenka, gives advice to journalists how to work effectively in such format. The expert believes that the professional and psychological tricks help to talk with a sophisticated manipulator with high status. In addition, journalists also must have a charge of civil courage, because "journalist in Belarus is more than a journalist".

Optimistic about Belarus? – Edward Lucas, European Voice, considers Belarus' regime as "a dark disgrace for Europe" but believes that it is possible to be hopeful for change – not because the opposition is strong, but because the regime is looking weak. He notes that inviting Belarusians where possible to events in EU countries, and visiting Belarus whenever possible, all help breach the sense of isolation that sustains the disgraceful regime.

Results of the 2012 on the Version of the Editors of Analytical Information E-Resources – CSOs websites' editors and journalists discussed the key events of 2012, which received most coverage on their web platforms. The discussion was attended by representatives of EuroBelarus, online magazine "New Europe", Alternative Youth Platform", "Nashe Mnenie".

Belarus: Pulling the Plug (by Index on Censorship) – Index on Censorship prepared a policy paper on digital challenges to freedom of expression in Belarus. The document evaluates most up-to-date data, legal and technical background, and gives recommendations to Belarusian authorities on how to ensure freedom of expression online.

Review of Development in Politics, Business Life and Regions in Belarus in 2012 – Solidarity with Belarus’ Information Office summed up the results of 2012 and concluded that the most notable trends in Belarusian politics were the relative influence enhancement of the Administration of President and Alexander Lukashenka personally with the overall reduction of the government machine controllability and transition to "manual" management methods; an unsettled crisis in the relations with the EU and the U.S.

Youth Participation in the Youth Policy – the policy brief authored by Alternative Youth Platform’s experts presents a description of opportunities for youth participation in the development of the state youth policy in four countries - Russia, Poland, Finland and Belarus. The analysis shows that, although the involvement of young people in political decision-making is seen as an imperative of youth policy, an effective solution is not found in any of these countries.

FOREIGN POLICY

Foreign Policy Index, November – December of 2012: BISS presents the 11th issue of Belarus’ Foreign Policy Index, which examines five areas of Belarus’s foreign policy in the November-December of 2012. The experts not only assess the foreign policy vectors in their annual dynamics, but also tried to forecast the development of the foreign policy of Belarus in 2013. One of the most important findings is that China is gradually taking place of the EU in a "policy of maneuvering" of the official Minsk.

Ulad Vialichka: Relations of Belarus and EU Should Change – this forecast after evaluation of the relation of EU and our country shared the chairman of the International Consortium "EuroBelarus" Ulad Vialichka. He believes that in 2012 Belarus did not become “more European country”.  Moreover, the last year pushed Belarus away from Europe rather than bring closer to it.

CIVIL SOCIETY

The Future Role of Civil Society: The report is the outcome of an eight-month project, in collaboration with KPMG International and involving over 200 leaders and experts, looking at how trends in technology, politics, society, economics and the environment are affecting the evolution of civil society and its implications for stakeholders. The report presents the main global trends impacting the relationships between sectors, highlights the value that civil society provides and explores how the role of civil society might change over the coming two decades as a result.

Main Development Trends of Gomel Region CSOs. November-December 2012 – Gomel Regional Development Agency "Strategic Thought" started publishing the results of monitoring of the Gomel third sector. The monitoring will be conducted quarterly and cover the CSOs’ events that take place in Gomel region, as well as their media coverage.

Anonymous Donations in Belarus: Ways to Improve the Regulatory – Yury Chausov (The NGO Assembly) and Olga Smolyanko (Lawtrend) present analysis and specific recommendations on possible improvements to the legal regulation of charitable activities in Belarus through simplification and liberalisation of donations procedure. The paper was prepared with the BPPF support.

The First Interactive Catalogue of Old Belarusian Cemeteries (in BY language) has become a great tool for historians and those Belarusians interested in their family tree. The map was developed for free by IT young specialists, led by youth NGO Falanster. Earlier they announced a call for proposals among CSOs for IT products which could advance civic issues, received 10 projects and selected the cemeteries as the most promising.

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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