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The Belarusian KGB: recruiting from civil society
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In late April, several Belarusian opposition activists publicly confessed their cooperation with the Belarusian secret services. On 27 April, a representative of the opposition organisation Youth Front, Siarhei Palcheuski, published a post on his Facebook page confessing to formal...
15 May 2017
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Why do the authorities continue to arrest Belarus’s top businessmen?

On 12 April, Belarusian authorities arrested Vitali Arbuzaŭ, one of the most successful businessmen in Belarus. He was another casualty in Belarus's ongoing war against tycoons. Being close to Lukashenka is by no means a guarantee of safety for oligarchs,...

12 May 2017
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Belarus in Focus winners, cycling festival, Europe Week in Minsk – Belarus civil society digest

Belarus in Focus 2016 journalistic contest awards winners. Viva Rovar! cycling carnival takes place in Minsk. BAJ announces Free Word winners on Press Freedom Day. Europe Week is held in Minsk. First episode of the City urban activism reality show...

11 May 2017
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Who benefits from the alcoholisation of Belarus?

Belarus is perhaps the world's second booziest nation. In 2014, Belarus topped the World Health Organisation's report on alcohol consumption. According to the WHO, an average Belarusian drinks around 17.5 litres of alcohol per year, while the median global...

10 May 2017
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Religious freedom in Belarus: worse than in Ukraine, better than in Russia

Last month, the Pew Research Centre released its Global Restrictions on Religion report, which gauges barriers imposed by governments as well as social hostilities towards religious organisations. Out of the nearly 200 countries studied, Belarus ranked among the 'high-risk'...

9 May 2017
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The first Belarusian river cruise: Belaja Ruś – Belarus Photo Digest

In recent years, the Belarusian leadership has been attempting to create a positive image of the country to attract foreign visitors. So far, Belarus seems to appeal mostly to Russian tourists. Russians perceive Belarus as a nostalgic holdout of the...

8 May 2017
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Minsk and Kyiv successfully revive bilateral relations after a dramatic fallout

On 1 May, Ukrainian border guards prevented three Belarusian citizens from entering Ukraine, suspecting them of planning subversive activities in Ukraine. A month earlier, Belarusian security agencies had detained several Ukrainian citizens for alleged plans to undermine public order...

5 May 2017
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Privatization: one step forward, two steps back – digest of the Belarus economy

On 4 May 2017 Belarusian president Alexander Lukashenka declared that Belarus plans to gain approximately $50bn in exports off goods produced in the Great Stone industrial park. Meanwhile, on 3 April 2017, Moscow and Minsk resolved all their disputes in...

4 May 2017
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Covering protests: a new epoch for the Belarusian media

On 25 March, a record number of Internet users visited the website of the independent Belarusian newspaper Nasha Niva. 109,000 Internet users read articles describing the protests against the social parasite law. In Belarus, this is nothing to...

3 May 2017
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A snubbed Makei and an axis of good – Belarus foreign policy digest

Belarus’s recent regression in the human rights field has failed to visibly affect the intensity of its contacts with Europe. However, European governments seem to have taken note of the criticism they received for their initially meek reaction and...

2 May 2017
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Belarusian state propaganda advocates mass repression

On 21 March 2017, the Belarusian authorities began a programme of repression against civil society activists, which is still ongoing. These measures followed mass protests of the population against the unpopular economic policies of the government, including the famous...

28 April 2017
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Lukashenka-Putin negotiations, discussion at KCL, Belarus-China achievements – Ostrogorski Centre digest

In April, analysts at the Ostrogorski Centre discussed the results of negotiations between Putin and Lukashenka in Saint Petersburg, ways to respond to continuing political repression in Belarus, prospects for Belarusian-Turkmen relations, and achievements of Belarusian-Chinese cooperation over the...

27 April 2017
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Youth organisations in Belarus: oppositional vs. official

On 23 February, the administration of the Belarusian State University expelled the youth activist Yury Lukashevich. The former student claims that the reason behind his expulsion lies in his political activism and board membership in an oppositional party. While the...

26 April 2017
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Minsk wants China’s help countering Russian and Western pressure

Next month, Belarusian leader Alexander Lukashenka will head for China. While he remains isolated in the West, this will be his tenth visit to Beijing. Addressing the Belarusian parliament on 21 April, Lukashenka gave much attention to Belarusian-Chinese relations...

25 April 2017
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Belarus-US relations, end of political thaw, EU policy towards Minsk – digest of Belarusian analytics

Andrej Kazakievič: the protests will inevitably fade due to the lack of organisation. Arciom Šrajbman makes optimistic forecast after the recent dispersal of protests. Chatham House: Belarus will still sooner or later be faced with a decisive choice between...